hroarr-hema-scholar-awards-2014-01 The jury for the HEMA Scholar Awards 2014 has finally reached a decision on what nominees will be awarded for their work and dedication in 2013. Here are their choices and motivations.

First of all however, as the handyman running around with buckets and wrenches behind the scenes in this, I would like to thank the jury, the amazingly generous sponsors and the whole historical fencing community and their nominations. I would also especially like to mention the blacksmith and cutler behind the new prize we are introducing this year for the HEMA Scholar Awards; Dr. Fabrice Cognot. He has both designed and by hand created this beautiful iron and laurel twig.

Laurel wreaths of course were associated with the Greek god Apollo, the Sun, and were given to the winners of the Pythian Games that were dedicated to him. It was also given to fencers, the Children of the Sun, in the Renaissance for great display of skill and knowledge and this prize is given in recognition of the same. Last year’s winners will also receive these prizes retroactively. With that said, we finally move on to the jury’s decisions! Congratulations all!

Lifetime Achievement Award

Mr. Tom Leoni, The Order of the Seven Hearts, USA

Mr. Tom Leoni

Mr. Tom Leoni

Once again there were several excellent candidates for this award, which represents contributions to the HEMA community over an extended period of time. For the year 2013, the jury awarded this distinction to Mr. Tom Leoni. Tom has been producing high-quality translations for a number of years, being one of the first to emphasise the importance of understanding the philological and historical context of the works. One of his first translations was of Salvator Fabris’ work of 1606, a lengthy and historically significant text, pivotal not only for understanding Italian rapier fencing of the 17th century but also as strong influence on later German fencing styles as this system continued to see use and to evolve in Central Europe for over two centuries.

This publication was followed by translations of the treatises of Antonio Manciolino (1531), Ridolfo Capoferro (1610), Nicolletto Giganti (1606), and Fiore Dei Liberi (1400s), as well contributing articles to anthologies such as “SPADA II” and “In the Service of Mars” and historical swordsmanship magazines such as WMA Illustrated. Tom has taught nationally and internationally, and from an early date in HEMA’s development to the present has consistently worked to make the source texts accessible to a much wider audience.


Tom will receive the symbolical laurel twig handmade out of iron and silver by Dr. Fabrice Cognot and sponsored by TheHEMAShop, The Martial Arts Museum and Arms & Armor. He will also receive an Albion Epee du Guerre, generously donated by Albion Swords.

Best Researchers for 2013

Mr. Reinier van Noort, School voor Historische Schermkunsten / Frie Duellister, Netherlands / Norway

Mr. Jherek Swanger, Salle Saint George, USA

Mr. Jherek Swanger

Mr. Jherek Swanger

Mr. Reinier van Noort

Mr. Reinier van Noort

Again this was an extremely competitive category, with a number of excellent nominations. Since there were so many good candidates, even having two awards to offer did not make the selection process easier.

For the year 2013, the jury awarded this distinction to Mr. Reinier van Noort and Mr. Jherek Swanger. Reinier van Noort is an incredibly prolific translator and researcher, working tirelessly to make new fencing treatises freely available to the wider community.

In 2013, he released eleven high-quality publications as diverse as translations of the 16th century French treatise of Capitaine Péloquin, the anonymous 17th century German manuscript Cod. Guelf. 264.23, and a Dutch Klewang treatise from 1937; a summary interpretation of Giovanni dall’Agocchie’s treatise of 1572; and high-resolution photography of the 1696 treatise of Bondi di Mazo.

Jherek Swanger has been contributing free translations to the HEMA community for over a decade, but 2013 saw his first published projects: Camillo Agrippa’s treatise of 1553, and Giacomo di Grassi’s treatise of 1570. Both are complete, crisp, and accurate translations of lengthy, prominent, and significant works, and enormously valuable contributions to understanding the fencing of the late 16th century.


Reinier and Jherek will both receive the symbolical laurel twig handmade out of iron and silver by Dr. Fabrice Cognot and sponsored by TheHEMAShop, The Martial Arts Museum and Arms & Armor. Additionally, Reinier will receive a custom federschwert kindly donated by Regenyei Armory. Jherek will receive receive a sword from the entry level line up of Danelli Armouries generously donated by Marco Danelli himself. They will both also receive a throat guard kindly donated by PBT Historical Fencing.

Best Instructor for 2013

Shared award Mr. Keith Farrell & Mr. Alex Bourdas, Academy of Historical Arts, Scotland

Mr. Alex Bourdas

Mr. Alex Bourdas

hema-scholar-awards-2014-best-published-instructor-interpreter-keith-farrellA number of very impressive interpretive works were published in 2013, but the jury ultimately decided to grant a joint award to Mr. Keith Farrell and Mr. Alex Bourdas for their publication in 2013 of the AHA German Longsword Study Guide.

The AHA is a flourishing school in Scotland, whose instructors regularly teach at national and international events, and which hosts the “Real Fighting Stuff” Conference in conjunction with the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow.

The book is a very useful resource, covering the fundamentals of Liechtenauer longsword. It clearly and lucidly explains the main concepts and techniques, and also provides an extensive bibliography and a useful overview of available sources, thus serving as a point of reference for more advanced students.


Keith and Alex will both receive the symbolical laurel twig handmade out of iron and silver by Dr. Fabrice Cognot and sponsored by TheHEMAShop, The Martial Arts Museum and Arms & Armor. They will together receive several pieces of protective and training gear from SPES, including one pair of Heavy Gloves v.1.0, one Synthetic dussack, one pair of Hema fencing pants & elbow protectors, one set of forearm and elbow protectors and finally two training heavy sabres. They will also receive a Swing kindly donated by Mblades.

Additionally, they will also receive a copy of the reprint of Dr. Jeffrey Forgeng’s translation of Joachim Meyer’s fencing treatise of 1570 and t-shirts kindly donated by Purpleheart ArmouryThey will both also receive a throat guard kindly donated by PBT Historical Fencing. Finally, they will also receive a copy each of the next issue of Acta periodica Duellatorum.

Best Rookie Researcher for 2013

Ms. Daria Izdebska, Academy of Historical Arts, Scotland

Ms. Daria Izdebska

Ms. Daria Izdebska

Rookie is sometimes a fuzzy concept in our community, but this category is awarded to researchers who have not published more than two formal academic HEMA-related papers, or one printed or digital HEMA-related book before the year in question.

This year’s award goes to another instructor from Scotland’s AHA: Ms. Daria Izdebska, for her translation of Michał Starzewski’s “O Szermierstwie” (“On Fencing”), the earliest known fencing treatise in Polish, and as such an invaluable source for the study of Polish sabre, a discipline which has started to generate greater interest and recognition over the past few years.

As the only extant English translation of this treatise, without Daria’s work it would be far harder for anyone who does not speak Polish to meaningfully study Polish sabre. Daria has additionally taught workshops on Polish sabre at several events, including FightCamp 2013, which has further helped to spread knowledge of this system.


Daria will receive the symbolical laurel twig handmade out of iron and silver by Dr. Fabrice Cognot and sponsored by TheHEMAShop, The Martial Arts Museum and Arms & Armor. Daria will receive a sword voucher of 275£ kindly donated by Armour Class – Scottish Manufacturer of Swords. She will also receive books donated by Freelance Academy Press. Daria will also receive a throat guard kindly donated by PBT Historical Fencing.


The jury and the HROARR administration wish to congratulate all awardees and all nominees and thank them for their amazing work! Without researchers there would be no HEMA! Thank you also to all of the sponsors who have made all this possible! Your generosity is incredible and we love you for it! Wishing a happy New Year and a fantastic HEMA 2015 to everyone!

A final note: Although absolutely and exceedingly worthy of nomination in just about any of the above categories for his immense work, inspiring and supporting scholars and fencers all around the world, the jury has decided to disqualify Roger Norling this year. It was a hard decision that took a long consideration and discussion to take, but we felt that the time has not yet come this year to reward the Creator of the Awards himself. At the same time, the jury would like to thank you, Roger, for your passionate, hard efforts and immensely precious achievements, not only in research and interpretative work but just as importantly in providing a platform that brings HEMA scholars, instructors, fencers and martial artists together, for sharing insights and encourage fair and open debate, for the progress of the whole community!

Michael Chidester, USA
Kevin Maurer, USA
Krisztina Nagy, Hungary
Piermarco Terminiello, UK
Christian Tobler, USA

The Jury of HEMA Scholar Awards 2014

Editor’s note:

I would like to thank this year’s jury for making this year’s HEMA Scholar Awards come real! Without your hard work none of this would have been possible. You are simply amazing and I hope I get to swing a beer or a sword with you all some time soon! You’re the best!

Roger Norling Chief editor


Sponsors of the HEMA Scholar Awards 2014

Here is a list of the sponsors of the HEMA Scholar Awards 2014. Thank you for your incredible support and generosity! Your kind contributions is what makes it all possible!