by Bill Grandy
Last month, from July 17-20, the fourth annual Longpoint tournament was held in Ellicott City, Maryland. This amazing event is one of the largest in North America, with tournament events covering a wide variety of HEMA styles. This year Longpoint hosted over 150 attendees and featured world class instructors, workshops, and multiple tournaments, including three Longsword competitions (Open Steel, Women’s and Synthetic), along with Singlestick, Messer, Ringen, Paired Forms, and a Longsword Cutting Tournament.
Longpoint has really set the bar for what HEMA tournaments can be, and over the years it has developed an ever-evolving rule-set that promotes solid martial arts over pure gamesmanship. Last year they also introduced the Triathlon event, where competitors must compete in the Steel Longsword, Ringen and Cutting events in order to place. This highlights that being a good fighter goes beyond merely being a fast moving athlete who’s good at playing tag, but rather a well rounded martial artist overall. This year the Longpoint team took things further to include a Paired Forms tournament, which rewarded those who study straight from the historical sources (which is the very foundation for everything we do in HEMA). If you’ve never been to Longpoint, do yourself a favor and reserve a spot the moment registration is open. It has a very professional feel (despite being run solely by volunteers for the pure love of it), and it gets better and better every year.
Now, the HEMAists site is meant to be a resource for all things HEMA, and not merely a vehicle for those of us at the Virginia Academy of Fencing to celebrate our school. But you know what? VAF had a team of competitors at Longpoint who put up a pretty dang spectacular performance, who worked pretty dang hard, and we’re pretty dang proud of that. VAF won the trophy for the Team Competition, and all in all took home 9 medals. And we worked our butts off in countless hours of training. Further, we hope to inspire others to come to Longpoint 2015 next year in the spirit of friendly competition and wipe the floor with us so that we have more excuses to train even harder. There’s always someone better, and we want the constant inspiration to push ourselves to be the best Historical European Martial Artists that we can be. In light of this, we made a highlight reel of our performance at Longpoint for team VAF. We hope you enjoy it.
Competitors from VAF ranked in the top 5 of almost every single event, many of whom appeared on the Longpoint live stream:
Team Competition Champions:
-Virginia Academy of Fencing
Longsword (Synthetic Division):
-Peter Brusseau, Gold Medal
-Doug Bahnick, 4th Place
Messer (German Long Knife):
-Doug Bahnick, Bronze Medal
-Tim Hall, 5th Place
Ringen (Medieval Unarmed Grappling):
-Light Weight: Bill Grandy, Bronze Medal
-Welter Weight: Doug Bahnick, Gold Medal
-Middle Weight: Kevin Comer, Bronze Medal
-Open/Heavy Weight: Henry “Hank” McLemore, Silver Medal
Forms Tournament (Paired Teams):
-Bill Grandy & Doug Bahnick, 4th Place
–Bill Grandy, Bronze Medal
-Doug Bahnick, 5th Place
–Bill Grandy, 3rd Place
About the author: Bill Grandy is the Director of Historical Swordsmanship at the Virginia Academy of Fencing, where he has taught professionally since 2001. His HEMA studies began in 1998 (back before anyone called it “HEMA”), though he practiced modern sport fencing since the late 1980’s, and spent most of the 1990’s practicing Aikido before eventually giving up both when he found his true passion with the historical western fighting styles. His specialties are the German Liechtenauer tradition of swordsmanship as well as the Renaissance Italian rapier, though he tries to find time to work with numerous other weapon arts whenever he can. Bill has travelled extensively to study both period fencing treatises as well as antique arms and armor, and he is also invited regularly to teach at major HEMA events.