HEMA health benefits

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HEMA health benefits

Postby Andrew R. » 27 May 2014 12:55

Hi Guys,

This may seem like a strange question to ask, but I know I read it somewhere and now I cannot find it anymore and it's driving me nuts!

Do you know of any treatises that describe the health benefits of the HEMA (fencing), I think what I read was in reference to longsword (Meyer, Ringeck?) but it might have been Hutton (sabre) as well.

Basically, I saw a very nice section on health benefits of fencing in some old treatise - they were describing it as an activity that allows you to live longer with healthy back and being immune to diseases, with healthy joints etc., but of course I'm under Murphy's Law right now because I cannot find it anywhere, I've just spent 2 hours checking each treatise in wiktenauer and of course its not there :/

Can anyone help?


Thanks
Andrew
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Re: HEMA health benefits

Postby Barbatus » 27 May 2014 14:10

Healthy joints?? Are you sure it was a fencing treatise?
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Re: HEMA health benefits

Postby Dave B » 27 May 2014 14:26

George Silver in paradoxes?
And moreover, the exercising of weapons puts away aches, griefs, and diseases, it increases strength, and sharpens the wits. It gives a perfect judgement, it expels melancholy, choleric and evil conceits, it keeps a man in breath, perfect health, and long life. It is unto him that has the perfection thereof, a most friendly and comfortable companion when he is alone, having but only his weapon about him. It puts him out of fear, & in the wars and places of most danger, it makes him bold, hardy and valiant.
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Re: HEMA health benefits

Postby Andrew R. » 27 May 2014 14:37

Yay!

Dave B. - thank you very much! That was it! :)

And yeah, healthy joints aren't exactly what he had in mind :P

Thanks again!
Andrew
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Re: HEMA health benefits

Postby Dave B » 27 May 2014 15:33

He's kind of ahead of his time isn't he, looking at the psychological benefits of fencing. He's also the earliest writer I can think of who talks about the importance of thinking about the legal context of getting into fights and making sure that what you do will later be construed as self defence. He's a bit UKIP though.
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Re: HEMA health benefits

Postby Phil C » 27 May 2014 15:59

Upon the advice of the better sort of doctor the exercise of arms is health giving and can avoid young men of long and cruel maladies; primarily as it opens their chests and makes their natural weaknesses disappear; secondly it makes them more vigorous, more supple, more agile and more able to bear the fatigue of war, finally it gives them the grace and ease which has come to be the mark of a well-studied man; it is for this reason that at other times one practices at arms than those times when called up for military matters.
Treatise on the Art of Arms For the use of professors and amateurs By M. La Boëssière, 1818

The art of cane fencing is not as useless as some people would like to think.
As it underpins the art of personal defence, it is indispensible; as for health, it is one of the acceptable exercises for the civilised in order to attain a gymnastic education.
In the countryside, you have, for your diversion, long and perfumed walks, hunting, fishing, riding, and dancing; in town other customs are added to these pleasures; fencing and other entertainments which derive from it, such as boxing, baton, cane and other games of finesse.
Theory for learning cane in 25 lessons by Leboucher of Rouen,
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http://www.blackboarswordsmanship.co.uk/
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Re: HEMA health benefits

Postby Dave B » 27 May 2014 16:36

Oh, and there is Richard Mulcaster. Not a Fencing master, but a school master, who wrote one of the first books in the english language on how to educate schoolchildren. This is from 1581:
He that exerciseth him selfe either against an adversarie, or against a post or pillar as deputie to his adversarie heateth himselfe thoroughly, maketh way for execrementes, provoketh sweat, abateth the abundance of flesh, strengtheneth his armes and shoulders, exerciseth his legges and feet marveilously. He that fighteth against a stake stirreth the bodie, plucketh the flesh downe, and straynes the juyce awaye, a peculiar freind to the armes and handes: It refresheth the wearied sense, it setleth the roming humours, it redresseth the fainting and trembling of the sinewes, it delivereth the breast from his ordinarie diseases: it is good for the kidneyes: and the great gutte called {Greek}, it furthereth such cariage as must be conveighed downward. The same effects hath the fight against the shadow or the shadowish nothing, but that it is a litle more valiant to light upon somwhat then to fight against nothing. But of all these three, the exercise against an adversarie is both most healthfull, and most naturall to aunswere all assaies: and specially to canvase out a coward, that will neither defend his freinde, nor offend his foe: the cheife frute that should follow fensing
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Re: HEMA health benefits

Postby Dave B » 27 May 2014 17:01

And if we are going right back, The benefits of fencing to body and mind are discussed at length in Plato's dialogues, in Laches (the dialogue on courage). It's a bit long to paste in here, but there is a long bit about "if I discus the virtue of an eye medicine, am I concerned about medicine or eyes" which I take to be saying that learning to fight should be seen as being good for the man rather than simply an end in itself.

There's also a complaint about know-it-all fencing masters with funny story about a master who shows off and gets his spear stuck in the rigging of the opposing ship as the ships pass and draw apart and even his own side laugh at him as he runs along the side trying not to let go. It's a nice reminder how little people have changed in 2400 years.
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