In the popular imagination, the LARPer is a figure of fun: a nerd transplanted from their Dungeons & Dragons game into a real-life clearing, dressed in wizard robes or elf ears, possibly a wand or foam sword in hand. But to stop there would be to lose the LARPer’s attention to detail and interest in realism. A group that doesn’t spring to mind when we conjure the LARPer—but that nevertheless belongs there—is Akademia Szermierzy, a Polish fighting technique group who recreates medieval swordfighting techniques.
One Akademia Szermierzy project: recreating longsword techniques from the Fior di Battaglia (“Flower of Battle”), an Italian fencing manual from around 1404 AD. Happily for recreators, the Fior di Battaglia pairs informative paragraphs with clear sketches for each move. (And the inked fighters have gold leafing on the crowns and garters—deluxe!)
In the dramatic video below, you can see the current-day fighters’ moves intercut (visually excitingly!) with original images from the text.
The fight’s attention to detail is impressive—and I’m loving the soundtrack. If you’ve got some swords, willing friends, and free time on your hands (and adequate training!), recreate the techniques yourself: peruse the the Fior di Battaglia here.