n an earlier post, we told you about the recent armoured deed of arms held at the recent Western Martial Arts Workshop. We’re happy to say that our good friend Roland Warzecha of Hammaborg turned his photographer’s eye to the Deed, and put together this collection of photos that he has graciously allowed us to share with you.
Now while we are still in the deed of arms afterglow, we thought we’d share a little “arms and armour envy” of our own: the Laurin Tournament.
Held in early October at Castle Mayenburg in Völlan, South-Tyrol, Italy the tournament is in its third year. Run by the “Gesellschaft des Elefanten” (Company of the Elephant), a living history group recreating the last decade of the 14th century. The Laurin Tournament is described as a series of single foot combats meant to simulate a deed of arms from the period 1370 – 1400. The full rules for fighting in the lists can be found at the Laurin Tournament website, but what you’ll really want to browse is the substantial and amazing gallery they have provided from past years.
How amazing is that gallery? Well, here’s a teaser! (Note that all photos shown here are copyright the original photographer and the Company of the Elephant.)
As we found with the WMAW Deed of Arms, setting the right tone is important. For a martial arts event, that is balancing history and tradition with modernity, while still conveying the right “mood” and homage to the antiquity of the martial art being displayed.
In a living history style of event, the look and feel of the period is paramount. For North Americans interested in medieval living history, we can only help but be envious at the advantage Europeans have in being able to hold their events in real castles, old towns or ancient ruins. But even then, there is having a nice locale for your event, vs. really setting a scene!
We can see why the organizers of this tournament are so proud of their location. The 6 m x 6 m list, raised platform and enclosed gallery truly sets a scene right out of a medieval illumination, which must make it hard for the combatants not to be duly inspired a they don their helmets!
Admittance to the tournament is by application, and consists of combat with sword, shield, spear, axe and dagger, divided into a series of rounds, fought by two types of combatants: fully armoured knights:
According to the published rules, each of the combatants will fight between five and eight times, so the total fight time is from a minimum of 40 minutes to a maximum of 64 minutes. We’re not sure how much time the combatants had between bouts, but 64 minutes of actual combat time in full harness can be a pretty darn good work out!
Now we admit to having a weakspot for late 14th century armour, and certainly, the Company’s choice of the Elephant for a badge and location in the Tyrol can’t help but make any student of armizare‘s heart beat more quickly, but what we are most interested in is tipping our hats and celebrating the efforts of kindred spirits who seeks to set a higher bar for celebrating both our history and the martial arts they produced.
Those interested in learning more about the Laurin Tournament can contact the organizers through the website or at:
Gesellschaft des Elefanten
I-39017 Schenna (BZ)