Staff and Messer Classes - An Inside Look
Continuing with our insider's series, we take a peek into our Sunday classes with Kyle Edwards. These classes are held throughout each month and cover a variety of topics. Let's take a look first at the staff class.
The staff is one of the oldest weapons mankind has ever known, and every culture had its version of staff fighting.
"The staff curriculum covers basic handling of the staff, body mechanics and a study of several translated Middle Ages masters works including Meyer, Pascha, Vadi, Fiore and eventually Paurñfeyndt." -- Kyle Edwards.
Drills to develop the body into fluid motions and attack sequences with the staff are used, and each class builds off of the last. As a bonus, the staff translates into spear! Kyle goes over both in this class, stating, "Spear lesson[s] are primarily from Pascha and Meyer with a dash of Fiore... [with] some light contact sparring for those so inclined."
Moving right along, the Messer is a versatile weapon that is knife-like in construction but sized and used as a one-handed sword. Their lengths and styles have a wide range, and tended to not have a pommel.
In our classes, Kyle states, "The grosse messer practice involves history and usage, types, and lessons from the Glasgow, Fechtbuch, Talhoffer, and Leckuchner." Sparring and paired drills are far more common in this class. The fantastic thing about messers is that many HEMA tournaments offer tournament fighting with them. It is a way to break out of the normal longsword pools and use different historically accurate weapons. Many of the same writers of the German longsword resources also wrote about these shorter weapons and how they are used, and so you'll find many different styles of fighting just as with the longsword while still flowing into longsword lessons well.
If all of these names lack familiarity, they are all master swordsmen from historical texts that wrote books on how to fight with these weapons. As a HEMA school, we pull our material and teaching methods from historical references.
These are short and focused classes; you're able to pop in and out or use it as a warm up for Sunday Longsword classes. They are a fantastic way to expand your knowledge and get a little training in on a busy weekend night. We highly recommend them naturally, and hope you all give these weapon systems a try!