[HEMA] Ilkka Hartikainen Sidesword Seminar

While back we were asked who we would like School of the Sword to try and bring over for seminars. For me there was one name that jumped out straight away and that was Ilkka. I’ve loved his videos and I’ve been very excited to get a look at the system he is developing for bolognaise fighting. Once again the SotS team managed to make it happen (much love to you all) and it was a real treat.

It’s been a long time since I’ve done they type on intensive training, 5 hours of training on one of the hottest and muggiest days of the year with loads of us in a sports hall made it really hard work but it was worth it. It’s always great when you get to study from someone who really gets a system rather than just knowing how to do all the bits and it looked to me that Ilkka really understood the system he’d built.

Another area that really impressed me was the way he managed to pitch the session just right so that it was accessible to people with limited knowledge as well as being challenging for people who had already studied some bolognaise fighting. I don’t want to talk about specifics as it’s his system (and I’d probably not do it justice) but there are some things I want to highlight as the really excited me.

  • Simple drills with loads of depth, we did several drills to do with using different guards whilst being out of measure with a partner. On one level it was a way to practice guards but on another it taught me a greater appreciation of the counter guard game. Knowing where to put my sword in response to someone else’s. It’s a drill I’d love to spend more time playing with.
  • The warm up for the 2nd half of the day was brilliant, we just went straight into footwork that build the speed up and was totally relevant to the rest of the afternoons learning. (And I don’t praise a warm up unless I really mean it.)
  • The work rate for the day, this was really high. We got so much done and the day just flew by.
  • The pacing of the teaching was great, short sections without too much talking then straight into us practicing it. Then if we were individually getting something wrong we got a coaching point without it stopping the rest of the group, but again clear and simple.
  • The range of topics covered in one day, everything from guards to grappling. With a full system we could have spent the whole day on one small element such as the footwork and still not really mastered anything but we touched on loads of areas and did enough to feel a sense of achievement with each area without spending too long on any one section.

All in all a brilliant seminar, and I would suggest that anyone who attended one would really enjoy it, I fully recommend it to you all. I’ve taken so many things away from the seminar that I want to practice and improve on with my sidesword fighting.

If you’re reading it thank you Ilkka for coming over here, I’m going to make sure I get another chance to learn from you again soon.

I wonder if Laura would be interested in another holiday in Finland?




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