After a successful Kickstarter campaign, photographer and videographer Cédric Hauteville has released his feature-length documentary about the world of historical European martial arts. The film, Back to the Source, takes a look at a popular organization that combines training and practice in historically accurate swordsmanship with a quest for knowledge and understanding of historical combat. Imagine taking a history class in high school or college that would talk about great battles, then teach you how they were fought first-hand. It is not, however, as pretty as one might think.
Think back to your favorite sword fight in a movie or television show. The sound of the blades as they bounce off of each other, the fast paced movements, the spins, the jumps, the playful banter that might be shared between fighters. All of these things make for an amazing scene, but almost none of it is based in the truth of sword fighting. Sure, we all know that martial arts fights in movies are more like dances than battles, but we seem to always forget that the same is true with sword fights. Now, thanks to Hauteville and HEMA, we have chance to see history as it truly was.
The documentary shows plenty of sword training and practice while also explaining techniques that were implemented throughout history. There was far less spins and flips involved, and a lot more desperate attempts to stab somebody however and wherever possible. As we can see, sword fights tended to be slower and more calculated than pop culture has led us to believe, and a lot less pretty than Inigo Montoya made it look.
Be sure to check out the documentary for more info (it is presented in its entirety above) and check out the Historical European Martial Arts’ website for more information about the organization and chapters near you. Would you be interested in learning how to properly swing a claymore? Let us know in the comments below!
IMAGES: Cédric Hauteville