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

    • ·        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.


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 (Adult Category)
Longsword (Youth and Teen Categories)
Rapier & Dagger (All Age Categories)
Sword & Buckler (Adult Category)
Sword & Buckler (Youth and Teen Categories)


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.






  • Daily morning warm-ups (Kaja Sadowski)
  • Teaching Women (Jennifer Landels)
  • Mounted vs. Unmounted Combat - Facing the Knight (Jennifer Landels)
  • Reading and Deceiving your Opponent (Kaja Sadowski)
  • Structure Beats Strength (Ties Kool)
  • Putting Your Techniques in Sparring (Ties Kool)
  • More TBA Soon! 


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      jennifer Landels


Jennifer Landels created Academie Duello’s Cavaliere Program in 2010 as a way to combine her passions for riding and swordfighting.  She has been riding since before she could walk, and enjoys competing in eventing and mounted games.  Jennifer has been a HEMA practictioner since 2008 and holds the Red Cord, the third rank of Academie Duello’s Mastery Program, working with rapier, sword and buckler, longsword, dagger, polearms and unarmed.  The Cavaliere Program combines elements of the Canadian Pony Club system of rider advancement with Italian longsword, grappling and spear systems, largely based on Fiore dei Liberi, with a smattering later cavalry techniques.  She manages Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, home of Academie Duello’s four-footed members, where she teaches riding lessons, and time allowing, spends time on the trails with her own horses.


Ties Kool

Ties Kool started HEMA back in 2003. with a background in Judo and Track and Field he quickly started teaching. In 2015 he started the HVN - Historisch Vrijvechten Nederland, one of the fastest growing clubs in the Netherlands. At the HVN he teaches German longsword and Dutch military sabre, he is also the head coach of the HVN Tournament Team.

Ties is known for his no-nonsense approach to HEMA. He has fought very successful in many tournaments with various weapons. At events like Swordfish and Longpoint Ties often helps out as a referee or tournament manager.

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Kaja Sadowski


Kaja Sadowski has been a physical instructor since 2004. She taught figure skating, rock climbing, and mountaineering before coming to historical European martial arts in 2010. She joined the coaching team at Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly in 2012, and created their beginner program shortly afterwards. She currently 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 vary from the historical to the modern, and 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. She has taught swordplay and self defense at a number of international events, including the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium (2015, 2017), Swordsquatch (2016, 2017, 2018), Violence Dynamics Vancouver (2017), and 2 Days of the Blade (2018). 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.

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Francesco Lodà

Bio coming soon...