Sword fight­ers from 9 states com­pete

Par­tic­i­pants use historical longswords and tech­niques from 15th and 16th cen­tury man­u­als

The Kutztown Area Patriot - - FRONT PAGE - By Lisa Mitchell lmitchell@21st-cen­tu­ry­media.com @kutz­town­pa­triot on Twit­ter

L’Arte Della Bel­lica, a historical fenc­ing school in Kutztown, hosted the 2nd an­nual Flow­erPoint Longsword Tour­na­ment at the Kutztown Univer­sity Stu­dent Recre­ation Cen­ter on March 24.

“Swords are fun. And there’s some­thing about be­ing able to use a sword the way it was in­tended to and the way it’s been done his­tor­i­cally,” said Pa­trick McCaf­frey, of Kutztown, co-in­struc­tor and or­ga­nizer for L’Arte Della Bel­lica (Ital­ian for the art of war).

Part of the Mid-At­lantic Re-

gion Longsword Tour­na­ment League called the Long­point Historical Fenc­ing League, the tour­na­ment at­tracted about 85 com­peti­tors from 21 clubs across nine states to com­pete with historical longswords and tech­niques res­ur­rected from man­u­als writ­ten in the 15th and 16th cen­turies.

“It’s a lot of fun. It’s very safe,” he said. “You’ll see peo­ple any­where from 18 years old to mid 60s fight­ing to­day, men and women. All body types fight. Peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties fight. It’s re­ally a great com­mu­nity, and it’s re­ally about com­mu­nity more than any­thing.”

McCaf­frey talked about the ca­ma­raderie shared by the fight­ers who par­tic­i­pate in clubs across the re­gion.

“It is a very giv­ing en­vi­ron­ment. It is in­tended to fos­ter friend­ship. A lot of these peo­ple will be friends for years af­ter­wards,” said McCaf­frey. “There are peo­ple who see each other once a year and just give each other great big hugs be­cause they’re just so happy to see each other.”

He said that the tour­na­ment it­self fo­cuses on the prin­ci­ple of not al­low­ing your­self to be hit while try­ing to hit your op­po­nent.

All com­peti­tors are placed into pools of five fight­ers, where they will face ev­ery­one else in their pool for three ex­changes. An ex­change is a qual­ity hit as de­ter­mined by judges and the di­rec­tor, he said.

The fight­ers may score points by hit­ting their op­po­nents with the blade of the sword, or by tak­ing their op­po­nents sword, or throw­ing them to the ground.

“This is done with the in­ten­tion that the tech­niques found in the man­u­als we study will be per­formed on an un­will­ing op­po­nent,” McCaf­frey said.

Af­ter two rounds of pools, the top 25 com­peti­tors who have been hit the least move onto an Elim­i­na­tion Pool, and the top five of those fight­ers move onto the fi­nals pool where the win­ner will take home a brand new, hand-forged sword.

“Historical Euro­pean Mar­tial Arts has been a thing for the past 20 or 30 years. In the past six years, it’s re­ally ex­ploded,” said McCaf­frey.

L’Arte Della Bel­lica was es­tab­lished in Kutztown three years ago. At that time, there were two other clubs within driv­ing dis­tance, lo­cated in Philadel­phia and Mary­land, so they started their own club. In the past three years, four more clubs have been es­tab­lished in the re­gion.

McCaf­frey said there are fenc­ing clubs also in Bucks County, Philadel­phia, and Harrisburg, to name a few lo­cated within two hours of Kutztown.

The lo­cal fenc­ing club in Kutztown con­sists of about 15 mem­bers who live lo­cally and as far as Lan­caster and Philadel­phia. Classes are held three times a week.

McCaf­frey en­cour­ages the lo­cal com­mu­nity to come check out L’Arte Della Bel­lica.

For more in­for­ma­tion about L’Arte Della Bel­lica in Kutztown, visit http:// art­edella­bel­lica.com/.

The KU Me­dieval Re­nais­sance Club spon­sored the Flow­erPoint 2018 tour­na­ment.

LISA MITCHELL - DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Com­peti­tors used historical longswords and tech­niques from 15th and 16th cen­tury man­ual at the 2nd an­nual Flow­erPoint Longsword Tour­na­ment hosted by L’Arte Della Bel­lica, Kutztown, at the Kutztown Univer­sity Stu­dent Recre­ation Cen­ter on March 24.

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