elcome to the Schools of European Martial Arts in New Zealand. We are a dedicated to the study and reconstruction of European Martial Arts from the written records dating from the fourteenth to the twentieth centuries.
Like their Eastern counterparts, European martial arts are systematic, complex, and highly effective combat methodologies. We work from the large number of extant treatises which were written by masters of arms in the various martial systems, across Europe and across the centuries.
From the Middle Ages
A lot of people are surprised to learn that a variety of knightly fencing arts survived from the Middle Ages. They are even more surprised to learn that these martial arts were not derived from the brute force of "the weightiest sword and the strongest arm", but had sound principles of time, distance, and tactile sense, among many other subtleties.
This period covers the documented martial arts of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries from Burgundy (France), England, the Holy Roman Empire (Germany), and Italy.
From the Renaissance
When people think of Renaissance martial arts they usually think of dashing swordsmen using slender blades, swinging off chandeliers,and reposting with witty puns.
This period covers the documented martial arts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. Not only does it cover rapier, but also quarterstaff, unarmed combat, the not-so-short sword and the like. The countries covered are England, France, the Holy Roman Empire (Germany), Italy and Spain.
From the Enlightenment
The Age of Enlightenment is the age when superstition is replaced by science. It also covers the Age of Regency, when social upheaval changed Europe. The Scarlett Pimpernel and the Three Musketeers feature strongly in the imagination.
This period covers the 18th century, and the first part of the 19th century. The main focus of this period is the small or court sword, the cutlass and the sabre. The countries sourced are France, Great Britain (especially Scotland), and Italy.
From the Classical Era
Also known (annoyingly to the Continentals) as the Victorian Period. An age where fencing rules would be developed and transform the martial arts of Europe into the more recognisable and tragic forms today. However, this period still has some teeth, and "old school" fighting still happened.
This period is mostly focused on the 19th and early 20th centuries. It covers the more useful era of pugilism and savate, as well as walking stick, wrestling, and knife. Eventually, classical fencing of foil, epee and sabre in true preparation for the duel will be added.Most of the eras under study tend to gravitate towards the sword. Depending on the school other areas of focus may be taught, for example, unarmed, stick fighting, knife/dagger, horse and so forth.