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Capital Kunst des Fechtens

a club dedicated to historical european martial arts

Welcome to CKDF

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Who Are We?

Capital Kunst des Fechtens (CKDF) is one of the largest non-profit Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) clubs in the eastern U.S.  Our instructors and members foster an inclusive atmosphere where all are welcome explore the diverse world and weapons systems of bygone ages. 


 

What is HEMA?

HEMA is a broad term used to describe the study of medieval- and Renaissance-period martial arts of European origin.  Practitioners use written sources that describe techniques and weapons systems in order to reconstruct these martial arts.
 

What Is Our Approach to HEMA?

CKDF focuses on several martial arts traditions and systems. The primary focus of the club is the teachings of Johannes Liechtenauer, called Kunst des Fechtens. This system comprises longsword, wrestling, dagger, messer, and polearms. Our world-class instructors provide a collaborative approach to source interpretation and a structured, athletic classroom environment.

 

Where Do We Study?

We train at the Capital Area Budokai:
25 S. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA 22304.


 

About HEMA

The study of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) is the academic study of ancient fight manuals or fechtbucher (fight-books) and the practice of recreating and learning the skills of the ancient European fight masters. 

Watch the video to learn more.

Affiliations

CKDF is an affiliate club of the HEMA Alliance, an educational not-for-profit organization that provides independent clubs and schools worldwide with resources; the KDF Network; and the Longpoint Historical Fencing League.

Classes Offered at CKDF

 
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What to Expect

  • Rigorous strength and cardio conditioning

  • Fencing fundamentals and mechanics

  • Technical interpretation drills;

  • Sparring games

  • Coached free fencing

 

What You Need for Class

  • Comfortable active wear

  • Clean athletic (indoor) shoes

  • Water Bottle

  • Men are required to wear athletic cups to every class

  • CKDF has fencing masks and synthetic swords for students to use

You don't need to be in the best shape to start training with us.


Introduction to German Longsword

INTRODUCTION TO GERMAN LONGSWORD

If you're interested in trying out HEMA with us, we offer a free intro course to new students. You'll learn basic terminology, attacks and parries, and info about HEMA and what we do at CKDF. Course lasts three weeks and prepares students to join the larger Gemeinesfechten class on Thursday nights.

When: Thursdays at 8p - email us to sign up for the next course.

Price: Free for newcomers!

Equipment: Clean indoor shoes, athletic clothing, pelvic protective cup (required for men).

 


Membership Classes

After completing the introductory course students are invited to become full members and attend our weekly classes.

GEMEINESFECHTEN - INTERMEDIATE LONGSWORD

Gemeinesfechten, or common fencing, lays the groundwork for longsword fighters. In this class members learn the basics of footwork, cuts, thrusts, and defenses common to the German style of longsword fencing.

When: Thursdays at 8p.

Instructors: Charles Lin, William Buschur, and Thomas Schratwieser.

Price: $50 monthly membership dues

Equipment: Feder (wood, synthetic, or steel), HEMA fencing mask, HEMA or lacrosse gloves). CKDF has masks and synthetic feders for students to use.

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KUNST DES FECHTENS (KDF) - ADVANCED LONGSWORD

KDF applies skills learned in Gemeinesfechten to the teachings of German fight master Johannes Liechtenauer. Instruction includes advanced martial theory, drills, tournament preparation, judging, coaching, cutting, and intense sparring.

When: Mondays at 8p

Instructors: Karl Bolle, Charles Lin, and Thomas Schratwieser

Price: $50 monthly membership dues

Equipment:  Tournament kit, including, but not limited to, feder (steel preferred), HEMA fencing mask, HEMA-approved jacket, HEMA gloves, throat protection, arm and leg protection


Other Classes & Study Groups

These classes are included in monthly membership dues.  Montante, Polearm, and Dagger classes are offered at off-site locations.  Contact us for additional information. 

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Dagger, knife, and axe

When: Tuesdays at 7p

Instructor: Alexander Bowe

Equipment: Students must provide HEMA Mask.

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Polearms

When: Tuesdays at 8p

Instructor: William Buschur 

Equipment: Students must provide HEMA Mask and HEMA or lacrosse gloves.

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Ringen

When: Wednesdays at 8:30p

Instructor: Tim Hall

Equipment: None required. 

italian rapier

When: Thursdays at 6p

Instructor: Chris Treichel and Chris Dyer

Equipment: Students must provide rapier. Chest protection is recommended.

MONTANTE (GreatSword) 

When: Saturdays at 9:30a 

Instructor: James Clark

Equipment: Montante, staff, or two-handed equivalent. Loaner montantes are available. 


Special Topic Courses and Master Workshops

SPECIAL TOPICS

CKDF periodically offers special topic courses to introduce students to a new aspect of HEMA.  Past classes have included Polish Saber, Ringen & Dagger, Italian Rapier, Messer, and Scottish Broadsword

When: TBD

Instructor: Varies

Price: $125-150

Recommended Equipment:  Varies

MASTER WORKSHOPS

Visiting, world-class instructors periodically grace CKDF members with master workshops. Previous instructors included: Mishael Lopes-Cardozo, Kristine Konsmo, Kristian Ruokonen, and Axel Petterson.

 When: Varies

Instructor: Varies

Price: Varies

Recommended Equipment:  Varies

Class Schedule

DAY TIME CLASS LEAD INSTRUCTORS
Monday 8-10p Advanced Longsword: Kunst Des Fechtens Karl Bolle, Charles Lin, and Thomas Schratwieser
Tuesday 7-8a Open Gym Independent Study
7-8p Dagger, Knife, and Axe Alex Bowe (held offsite)
8-930p Polearms William Buschur (held offsite)
Wednesday 8:30-10p Ringen: Medieval Grappling Tim Hall
Thursday 6-8p Italian Rapier Christopher Treichel
8-930p Beginning Longsword: Gemeinesfechten Charles Lin, William Buschur, and Thomas Schratwieser
Friday 7-8a Open Gym Independent Study
Saturday 930-11a Greatsword James Clark (held offsite)
Sunday 9-10a Conditioning Chris Dyer
10a-12p Scottish Broadsword & Single Stick Chris Dyer
10a-12p Open Gym Independent Study
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Featured in the New York Times

Back to the Source - A Documentary on HEMA

CKDF Founder & Instructors

 
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CKDF was founded by Jake Norwood, an internationally known competitor and instructor in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), with more than 30 medals from national and international full-contact competitions.  

A multi-tour combat veteran of the 101st Airborne, Jake established CKDF to combine the training regimen and psychological toughness of the modern warrior with the reconstruction and physical application of Europe’s traditional fighting arts.

  Karl Bolle  is the Longpoint, DC HEMA Open, and Combat Con 2016 champion in advanced target cutting, and has earned multiple medals in cutting and single-handed weapon competitions.

Karl Bolle is the Longpoint, DC HEMA Open, and Combat Con 2016 champion in advanced target cutting, and has earned multiple medals in cutting and single-handed weapon competitions.

  Alexander Bowe

Alexander Bowe

  William Buschur  is the lead polearms instructor, focusing on the individual use of staff, spear, halberd, and pike. William is a Maryland attorney.

William Buschur is the lead polearms instructor, focusing on the individual use of staff, spear, halberd, and pike. William is a Maryland attorney.

  James Clark  is an internationally-recognized expert in the montante (Iberian greatsword). He has earned multiple medals in cutting and longsword. He is a certified personal trainer.

James Clark is an internationally-recognized expert in the montante (Iberian greatsword). He has earned multiple medals in cutting and longsword. He is a certified personal trainer.

  Chris Dyer  is a certified instructor from the Cateran Society and specializes in the Scottish Highland Broadsword. He teaches classes in single stick. Chris is a certified personal trainer.

Chris Dyer is a certified instructor from the Cateran Society and specializes in the Scottish Highland Broadsword. He teaches classes in single stick. Chris is a certified personal trainer.

  Tim Hall

Tim Hall

  Charles Lin  is a longsword instructor and teaches both Kunst des Fechtens and common fencing sources. He uses historical and archaeological research, as well as a broad background in martial arts and dance, to inform his studies into the context and practice of Kunst des Fechtens. He is a financial economist and works in Washington, D.C.

Charles Lin is a longsword instructor and teaches both Kunst des Fechtens and common fencing sources. He uses historical and archaeological research, as well as a broad background in martial arts and dance, to inform his studies into the context and practice of Kunst des Fechtens. He is a financial economist and works in Washington, D.C.

  Thomas Schratwieser  instructs both common fencing and Kunst des Fechtens longsword, for which he has earned medals in test cutting and paired technique. He is a scientific consultant for the DoD in Arlington, VA.

Thomas Schratwieser instructs both common fencing and Kunst des Fechtens longsword, for which he has earned medals in test cutting and paired technique. He is a scientific consultant for the DoD in Arlington, VA.

  Chris Treichel  specializes in teaching Italian rapier, He also studies and teaches under Tom Leoni at the Order of Seven Hearts. He is a former Marine Corps infantry officer

Chris Treichel specializes in teaching Italian rapier, He also studies and teaches under Tom Leoni at the Order of Seven Hearts. He is a former Marine Corps infantry officer

CKDF Photo Gallery

Frequently Asked Questions

I'm brand new to HEMA and indeed martial arts in general! How do I start with CKDF?

Email us at info@capitalkdf.org! We’ll set you up to attend our Introduction to German Longsword classes on Thursdays at 8PM, during which you and other beginners will work with an instructor who will show you the basics. If you find that you like studying with us you are welcome to continue in the regular Thursday night class with beginner and intermediate students. Just shoot us an email to get started.

Where are classes held, and what is The Budokai?

Classes are held at the Capital Area Budokai, 25 S. Quaker Lane, Alexandria, VA.  It's pretty easy find parking on the street -- just check the signs to make sure you are in a legal spot. Enter the building (the entrance is to the right of Rockland's Bar-be-que).  Turn right when you enter the lobby.  We are the first gym to the left in the right hallway.

We share space with The Capital Area Budokai, a Japanese martial arts club. We ask that our members be respectful of the space and wear only indoor shoes or go barefoot in the Budokai. 

What should I wear to class?

Wear comfortable athletic clothes and a pair of indoor shoes. Men are required to wear an athletic cup in every class.

Am I going to get beat up?

In your first class you will not get beat up, but you will get to use a sword on an opponent. Even in subsequent classes, where members have minimal gear, you will not get beat up. A major part of our training consists of developing control of our weapons and bodies through slow-speed sparring. Only later, with proper gear, do members engage in full-speed sparring.

Please note: HEMA is a martial art that involves swinging swords at others and you may receive bruises or get hurt. However, we take every precaution to prevent injury and it is very rare to receive anything worse than a bruise from our classes.

I've got my card out and a shopping cart full of HEMA gear! What should I buy to do HEMA with you?!

Don't buy any HEMA gear before talking to us first! We have our finger on the pulse of the HEMA gear market and seek to save our members money by ordering directly from distributors. Often we can save money on gear orders if you go through us! Also, many of us have purchased the very same gear you’re looking at, so please talk to us before making any purchases.