“If you cut me, I’ll stab you”

Ethical Considerations in a 15th Century Messer Fight

Experience Level: All

Equipment required: Messer or arming sword, mask, light glove, forearm protector. Jacket or gambeson optional. NO HEAVY GAUNTLETS PERMITTED (Spes/Konig/Pro-Gauntlet etc).

This workshop will explore the paradoxical simplicity and complexity of violence involving the Messer within the lowest social classes in German-speaking parts of the Holy Roman Empire during the mid-15th Century. Working with several key primary sources, it will cover the fundamental uses of Messer, most importantly within the established framework of social and moral norms of the period.
All students will be taught a systematic approach to early Messer fighting, drawn from common messer sources found within Southern Germany before 1478, including Von Baumann, Paulus Kal, Hans Talhoffer, and Anonymous Glasgow.
As well as exploring ethical considerations, the workshop will present the Instructor’s own method for making swift tactical choices and eliminating uncertainty in situations of extreme violence.

Rob Brooks has taught fencing in over thirty countries on five continents since beginning his journey into the reconstruction of European Martial Arts in 1994. A professional HEMA Instructor since 2013, Rob established the Hotspur School of Defence in Newcastle in 2003 and is a Past President and founding member of the British Federation for Historical Swordplay, as well as a founder member of The HEMA Messer Guild and The Chivalric Fighting Alliance.
Rob is also the author of the seminal 2022 book “At Your Mercy: The Guide to Early Messer Fighting”, which students will be able to order in advance or buy on the day (be aware that limited copies will be available in person).
A native of Northumberland, his other passion outside of HEMA is collecting primitive breeds of dog.