Resurrecting HEMA

“Historical European Martial Arts” is the long-form name for the resurrection of once-dead styles of armed and unarmed combat used in western Europe. In eastern martial arts, the forms and styles have been studied consistently for, in some cases, a thousand or more years. In Europe, many styles of armed combat were no longer studied after that weapon was replaced by modern warfare. At Broken Plow we strive to resurrect these weapons and the styles of fighting related to them.

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This New York Times article & video gives a great intro to HEMA.

Broken Plow’s Kunst Des Fechtens program is based on the works of Johannes Liechtenauer’s students. Liechtenauer’s teachings were recorded during medieval times in the form of a mnemonic poem. His students penned explanations of what each line of the poem was intended to teach. Today, we interpret these works in order to recreate Liechtenauer’s system of defence. Fencing unarmored with the Longsword takes up both a bulk of this system and our study of it. The system also includes wrestling, fighting in armor with spear, poleaxe, dagger, and sword, messer, and horsemanship.

Longsword Classes

Broken Plow uses the German school of Longsword as the basis of our program. Our tiered class structure prepares students using a progression of classes. The 8-week introductory class, Common Fencing, is designed to take someone who has never used a longsword before and lay in the basics required to participate in our program.
Read more about Common Fencing —>

After completing Common Fencing, students will enter the Common Drilling class. This class is designed to build on the fundamentals instilled during Common Fencing through a rotating repertoire of exercises, drills, bag-work, and structured sparring.
Read more about Common Drilling —>

Once students have used these classes to advance to the required level of competency and skill, they will be invited to join higher level KDF classes.
Read more about KDF classes —>

Alternate Weapon Classes

We offer classes on many other weapons, such as: Ringen (medieval german wrestling), Rapier, Polish Saber, Messer, Dussack, Sword & Buckler, and others. Some of these classes run on a continuing cycle, while others run periodically. Please see the page for that class for more info.
Check out our class page —>

Broken Plow & PSF “Right of Refusal for Training & Other Services”
We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone.

We believe it is our responsibility to refuse service to anyone who abuses their martial arts training or whose conduct is detrimental to themselves, their classmates, or their community.

Learning martial arts is a privilege reserved for those individuals who conduct themselves with respect, integrity, and responsibility.

Responsibility and safety go hand in hand.  It is imperative that those learning martial arts skills act accordingly.

Only those students able to follow guidelines, train safely, and treat themselves and others with respect will be allowed to train at Pittsburgh Sword Fighters.