February 1-3, 2019

Regular Fee Registration Deadline for Tournaments has now ended.
Double Fee Period Jan 6th-25th. Triple Fees starts Jan 26th

Regular Fee Registration Deadline for Workshops has been EXTENDED to January 25th, 2019



On February 1-3, 2019, we are proud to host the 4th annual Capitol Clash: Washington DC HEMA Open! The 2019 DC HEMA Open will feature a number of competitive HEMA tournaments, including: Longsword, Rapier and Dagger, Ringen (unarmed), and more to be announced soon!  We are proud to be one of the only major HEMA events that includes Youth and Teen categories to go side-by-side with our tournaments for adults!  

The Washington DC HEMA Open 2019 will be held at the luxurious Gaylord National Resort in beautiful National Harbor, Maryland, on February 1-3, so mark your calendars! As part of the Capitol Clash, the largest Olympic Sport Fencing youth tournament in the world, the Washington DC HEMA Open provides an incredible opportunity for a tournament on an unprecedented size and scale, a truly magnificent venue, highly trained professional staff, and an unforgettable experience.




VENUE Website:


Click here for the venue website! 

Click to Book Your Preferred Rate Hotel Room


Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center

201 Waterfront Street   National Harbor, Maryland  20745 USA



February 1-3, 2019




DATES: February 1-3, 2019







  • TEAM

  • ·        Registration is open all days starting at 7:30am

    ·         Individual event check-in starts 1.5 hours prior to the actual event and closes 30 min prior to event start, including equipment check

    ·         If a competitor is not checked in 30 min prior to event start he cannot compete.



Click to enlarge image.

the hemathlon

The top three winners of the HEMAthlon of the adult category in 2016. BRONZE: Doug Bahnick (right), Virginia Academy of Fencing; SILVER: Tim Kaufman (left), New York Historical Fencing Association; GOLD: Mackenzie Ewing (center, holding the coveted ASCALON trophy), Atlanta Freifechter Guild.

The HEMAthlon (pronounced “he-MATH-lon”, a pun on the term “triathlon”) is for competitors who sign up for three or more events. For every event competitors can gain points dependent on how well they rank. The better a person ranks in an event, the more points that person scores. At the end of the event, all points will be tallied, and the person with the highest score wins the HEMAthlon.

To win the HEMAthlon is to show that a person is more than a just a one-trick pony. In order to win, one must not only compete in multiple events, but do exceptionally well in multiple events. In doing so, the HEMAthlon winner shows the ability to be a well rounded martial artist, and therefore worthy of exemplary praise. This is the highest award given for the Washington DC HEMA Open, and one we hope everyone will attempt to participate in.

The categories for the HEMAthlon are divided by age group:

Youth (ages 9-12)
Teen (ages 13-17)
Adult (ages 18 and up)

The ASCALON Trophy

This Trophy is reserved for the champions of the HEMAthlon. Every year, one person from each age category per will have their name engraved on this coveted award to be displayed for everyone to see during the Washington DC HEMA Open.

2016 Champions Engraved on the ASCALON:
ADULT: Mackenzie Ewing (Atlanta Freifechter Guild)
TEEN: Juniper Humphrey (Maryland KDF)
YOUTH: Tina Gaughan (Virginia Academy of Fencing)

Why is the trophy called the Ascalon?

“In Saint George’s name, here begins the Art of Fencing…” These are the famous words that begin so many medieval fencing treatises within the tradition of Master Johannes Liechtenauer. Saint George was the patron saint of knighthood, chivalry and the art of combat. According to medieval legend, he slew a dragon with his mystical spear. This spear bore the name of Ascalon.

Due to the importance medieval and Renaissance fencing masters placed on Saint George, it was only fitting that the HEMAthlon trophy pay tribute to this legendary weapon.


SCORing per target area


Summary of the rules
(longsword, rapier, sword & buckler)

The illustration shows the value of points a competitor scores on a successful attack: A cut to the head is worth two (2) points, and a cut anywhere else is worth one (1) point. A thrust to the head or torso is worth three (3) points, whereas a thrust to the limbs is worth one (1) point.

A competitor who is able to hit without being hit, and does so with good mechanics, will be awarded a Technical Bonus. The Technical Bonus doubles the amount scored (e.g. a two point attack with a Technical Bonus scores four points). The amount of Technical Bonus gained will also affect the competitor's ranking.

In the event of a Double Hit, the higher scoring point still wins, but the lower scoring point is subtracted from it. (e.g. Fighter A hits a two point area at the same time Fighter B hits a one point area. Fighter A is awarded one point.) Further, every Double Hit will be recorded and will be tallied against a person's overall ranking. In other words, fighters that intentionally use double hits to win in the short term may find that they suffer in the long-term.

This scoring system is used for the Longsword, Rapier & Dagger and Sword & Buckler tournaments, however each tournament will have slightly different rules. In particular, it should be noted that for the Rapier & Dagger tournament, only thrusts can score a Technical Bonus. For more information, please see the individual rules of each weapon style listed below (coming soon).

Round 1- Pool Bouts: Fighters are broken up into smaller groups of people called pools. A fighter will face every person in their pools to figure out their ranking. The top 32 fighters in Longsword will advance to the next round; The top 24 of Rapier & Dagger and Sword & Buckler will advance.

Round 2- Elimination Bouts: The top ranked fighter will face the lowest ranked fighter, the second highest rank will face the second lowest rank, etc. Only the winning fighter advances. Eventually the last person left is the champion.

FULL RULES (click to download below):
Longsword, Rapier and Dagger, and Sword and Buckler Rules


equipment requirements

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Click below to download rules and equipment requirements:


target cutting (longsword)

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target cutting

The Target Cutting tournament will grade competitors on their ability to use proper technique and a sharpened Longsword to cut through targets. Fencing with blunt swords against an opponent might test distance, timing and performance under the pressure of a resisting opponent, but cutting through a target tests a competitors ability to use proper edge alignment, generate appropriate power and isolate physical mechanics that don’t occur when not actually cutting through an opponent. The targets will be rolled, soaked straw mats (tatami) as well as suspended hemp rope.

This tournament is for ages 18 and up.



RINGEN (grappling)

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unarmed combat

The art of Historical Ringen is a form of unarmed grappling that dates back for hundreds of years. The word Ringen is the German word for “wrestling”, although the historical version is not quite the same as the modern counterpart. This bare handed form of fighting was trained by nobility and commoners alike, and was used by citizens for self defense, by soldiers who were disarmed, and even for knights in armor. Historically, Ringen was not only trained for "real life" combat, but it was also trained as a highly athletic sport. The sport version of Ringen requires speed, timing, and subtlety, but is also highly exciting to watch. Historically these bare handed martial artists were praised from city to city, and this athletic spirit is what the Washington DC HEMA Open wants to revive in the modern revival of Ringen.






Fencing with Two Swords

      Devon Boorman, Canada

Based within the Bolognese fencing tradition, in this workshop students will explore how to effectively use two swords in a manner that is coordinated and systematic. The most effective use of two swords involves seeing them not as distinct tools that must be used independently but as a unified set that make combined offensive and defensive shapes. Students will learn: Solo cutting and thrusting patterns, partnered offensive and defensive exercises, and effective posture and movement with two weapons.  Experience with a single hand cutting sword is recommended. Equipment requirements: Two sideswords or short rapiers, jacket mask, gloves, and gorget.

Structure Beats Strength

        Ties Kool, Netherlands

Useful for experienced fencers and beginners alike, this seminar will cover the fundamentals of fencing with the longsword. Topics and drills will include structure and stance, hand positions and grip, edge alignment and cutting mechanics, and more to ensure a solid foundation for any longsword fencer. Minimum gear requirements include a mask, jacket, gloves, hard knee and elbow protection, and longsword.  Full tournament kit recommended.

From Techniques To Sparring

           Ties Kool, Netherlands

 One of the most difficult things in Historical European Martials Arts is applying the techniques learned in practice within the context of a bout due to the gap between technical training and application.  In this seminar, participants will learn to bridge that gap through a series of drills and exercises progressing from basic to advanced. Minimum gear requirements include a mask, jacket, gloves, hard knee and elbow protection, and sword.  Full tournament kit recommended.

Facing the Knight

    Jennifer Landels, Canada

To a foot soldier, there could be very few more frightening sights than that of a fully armoured horse and rider bearing down upon you.  Not only is the horse heavier and faster, the rider has the advantage of height. This workshop will examine attacks and defences against the mounted opponent, strategies to even the odds, and a few dirty tricks unhorsed combatants can keep in their back pockets.  Drawing primarily from Fiore as source material the workshop will focus primarily on longsword, but will also touch on the use of the spear.

Roman Rapier Fundamentals: Two hours to the duel

Francesco Loda, Italy

This seminar will cover the basics of the 17th Century Roman School of rapier combat as laid down by Monsù De Greszy, a student of Antonio Marcelli.  Participants will learn through a series of drills and exercises the foundational core techniques that were considered necessary for someone with only a short time to train for a duel, and will finish with a practical test of the material: fighting a duel! This seminar is open to fencers of all experience levels.  Equipment Requirements: mask, jacket, breast/groin protection, fencing gloves, and rapier. Fencing pants, chest protector (plastron or similar) and throat protection are recommended.

Strategy and Tactics in Roman Rapier

Francesco Loda, Italy

This seminar will examine the strategy and tactics as presented in the system of Roman Rapier fencing which are applicable to wide range of weapons and contexts.  Participants will learn how to understand their opponent’s tendencies, to identify recurring patterns, and how to “program” the opponent’s actions favorably through the use of Second Intention and Contratempo actions. This seminar will build off of material covered in the Roman Rapier Fundamentals seminar, but is open to anyone with previous rapier experience.  Equipment requirements: mask, fencing jacket, breast/groin protection, chest protector (plastron or similar), fencing glove, and rapier. Fencing pants and throat protection recommended.

Reading and Deceiving Your Opponent

Kaja Sadowski, Canada

One of the most important elements of a fencing match is the psychological and tactical advantage gained by the use of deception. In this seminar, participants will learn to build a model of how their opponent fights and use it to set up opportunities and openings, as well as how to use communication and timing -- and not superior speed -- to sell feints. This will be a weapon-agnostic workshop that focuses on tactical principles rather than specific techniques, and will be of equal use to students of the longsword, rapier, and unarmed arts.

Giant Slaying 101: Strategy and Tactics for Small-Framed Fighters

 Kiana Shurkin, USA

This workshop will provide fighters with tools to maximize the advantages of their builds when dealing with larger, taller, and more aggressive opponents.  Topics will include mindset, approaches to training, and conditioning. Participants will learn drills and techniques they can use to develop their own individual approach to addressing discrepancies between themselves and their opponents.  Minimum gear requirements include a mask, gloves, hard knee and elbow protection, and a feder.  Full tournament kit recommended.


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      jennifer Landels


Jennifer Landels is an instructor with Academie Duello in Vancouver, and the creator and head of their mounted combat Cavaliere Program, which combines elements of the Canadian Pony Club system of rider advancement with Italian longsword, grappling and spear systems, largely based on Fiore dei Liberi, as well as other sources. She manages Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, home of Academie Duello’s four-footed members, where she teaches riding lessons.  She has been riding since before she could walk, and practicing HEMA since 2008, working with rapier, sword and buckler, longsword, dagger, polearms and unarmed. 


Ties Kool

Ties Kool is a highly decorated international medalist, referee, and tournament manager, and is the head instructor for HVN - Historisch Vrijvechten Nederland, one of the largest HEMA schools in the Netherlands. With a background in Judo and Track and Field and more than 15 years of HEMA experience, Ties is known for his no-nonsense approach to training.  Ties teaches German Longsword and Dutch Military Sabre and is the head coach of the HVN Tournament Team.

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Kaja Sadowski


Kaja Sadowski has been a physical instructor since 2004, and taught figure skating, rock climbing, and mountaineering before coming to historical European martial arts in 2010. She has coached at Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly since 2012, created their beginner program teaches group and private lessons to students of all experience levels, and runs the school's self defense program. Kaja's primary weapon is the rapier, and she also teaches unarmed striking, grappling, and knife combat.  Her interests range from recreational martial arts to practical self defense and professional use of force. She has been an active part of the Vancouver Police Department's Force Options Training Unit since 2015, participating in realistic tactical training scenarios and providing guest instruction to their Special Municipal Constable program. Kaja's current teaching focuses include body mechanics and functional movement, stress testing and emotional regulation, and the role of play in motor skill acquisition.


Francesco Lodà

 M. Francesco Lodà started his career in historical fencing in 1999, and holds the following titles: Maestro d’Arme A.I.M.A. (Italian Association for Master-at-Arms), Maestro d’Arme F.I.S. (Italian Fencing Federation), Maestro di scherma storica HEMA CSEN, Maestro di scherma storica U.I.S.P., Istruttore Nazionale di Scherma Storica F.I.S. - A.N.S., Athletical Trainer from Italian Olympic Committee, among others.  He is the world’s most successful competitive rapier fencer, a four-time Italian National Champion in Rapier and Sidesword (2016; 2016; 2017; 2017), and 37 gold, 5 silver, 8 bronze medals and 6 technical medals, in international rapier tournaments.  He is the  President of  A.I.M.A. - Italian Master-at-Arms Association, a delegate member of the HEMA Italian national boards in the Italian Fencing Federations, CSEN and UISP, and holds a Ph.D. in History of Religions, as well as a Ph. D. in Greek and Roman Civilization.  He is published author with multiple books, articles and reviews, and he has trained for Italian film productions, and he is Professor and Chair of “Fencing, movement and weapon for the scene” at Roma Film Academy in Cinecittà Studios, Rome.

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Kiana Shurkin

Kiana Shurkin is an internationally recognized competitor, martial artist, and instructor, and has traveled extensively to train, teach, and compete. Before beginning her HEMA training in 2010 under Jake Norwood, she co-founded and captained her high school fencing club and earned her red belt in Tae Kwon Do. Martial arts have been a part of Kiana’s life for as long as she can remember, and she has sought continually to expand her understanding of them through exposure to a variety of styles ranging from MMA to stage combat.  She enjoys sharing her passion with others and hopes to contribute something of value to the journey of each person who attends her workshops.


Devon Boorman

Devon Boorman began his pursuit of European swordplay more than 20 years ago, first with the Italian rapier and then expanding to a diverse cross-disciplinary practice including longsword, sidesword, polearms, and mounted combat. Devon has travelled extensively as a competitor, teacher, and researcher. He has taught workshops and seminars throughout the world on both the study and practice of historical techniques and on practical combat implementation. He is the author of two DVDs on Italian rapier and longsword as well as one book, Introduction to Italian Rapier, published through Freelance Academy Press. Devon is the director and master instructor of Academie Duello in Vancouver Canada which has been active since 2004. With more than 250 active students, Academie Duello is one of the largest schools of European martial arts in the world.


2019 RESULTS Coming Soon