Jake Norwood – Lecture – ‘More Than Playing for Touches: Swords as Cutting Instruments’

Move past sword‐tag! Explore how swords cut, and what modern fencers can do to learn to cut correctly and to enhance their swordplay with effective cutting technique.


Like our historical forebears, as modern practitioners of swordsmanship we spend most of our fencing time playing for “touches,” hits, or points. Unlike those who came before, however, most modern swordspeople have fairly little exposure to sharp swords and few opportunities to train and test the mechanics necessary to produce effective cuts against substantial targets. This lecture examines swords as tools for cutting, explores the physical mechanics of delivering effective cuts, and presents methods for learning to cut well and incorporating effective cutting technique back into our interpretations and swordplay.

About the lecturer – Jake Norwood

Jake Norwood has been studying, practicing, and teaching Historical European Martial Arts since 2000.
Once a household name in American and European HEMA circles, Jake created and ran Longpoint, the western Hemisphere’s largest HEMA tournament and workshop series, from 2010‐ 2019; was a founding member and first president of the HEMA Alliance from 2009‐2012; and was North America’s most consistently successful competitive fencer with over 50 medals in Longsword, Messer, Saber, Cutting, and Technique from 2011‐2016. Jake is a fanatic Liechtenauerist, a pioneer in recreating Germanic “Common Fencing” from the 15th‐16th centuries, and an avid harness‐fencer who’s currently focused on reproducing the HEMA Experiment at the Military Unit Scale through the bi‐annual Feldlager event and related endeavors.
Jake, an American who lives in the Netherlands, is also a two‐time veteran of the Iraq war and former
independent tabletop roleplaying game designer.