Hello and welcome. My name is Roland Warzecha.
I am a professional illustrator – and a swordsman.
Hence the name ‘Dimicator’ which is a Latin term meaning sword fighter. In my pursuit of historical martial arts, medieval sword & shield fighting has always been the focus of my work – and this is what this website is about.
I hope you will enjoy browsing its content.
Dr. Alfred Geibig, archaeologist and historical arms expert:
The careful reconstruction of historical swordsmanship, impressively demonstrated by Mr. Warzecha, is a valuable supplement to archaeological insights, and clearly proves the efficiency of European swords and the sophistication of the associated historical fighting arts.
Despite the unbroken fascination for medieval swordsmanship with audiences of all sorts of modern media, sword & buckler fencing is little known outside the community of researchers and practitioners of historical European martial arts (HEMA). This weapon set was most popular for the better part of the 13th and 14th centuries, and fighting with sword & buckler was practiced by all strata of society, noble people, laymen and clerics. In fact, in the illustrations of a 14th century manuscript known as MS I.33, we see its author, a tonsured priest, fencing a hooded student, as well as a lady by the name of Walpurgis, with sword & buckler.
Jacob Norwood, swordsman and instructor:
Roland’s approach to sword and buckler is the most efficient, coherent, and elegant I’ve ever worked with. I have come to expect nothing less from Roland, who brings a fighter’s passion to training, instruction, and research. I respect his skill and insight immensely; I would never pass up a chance to work with him.
Since 2005, I have been working on a functional interpretation of I.33’s sophisticated fighting system. I am currently putting together an online course with my fellow
swordsman Cornelius Berthold, head instructor of the Dimicator Schola at Hamburg.
In order to learn about the course’s release, you are welcome to subscribe to my newsletter.
Gregory Mele, swordsman, instructor and writer:
There are folks who work with sword and buckler seriously, but Roland lives and breathes it, and has married scholarship with high-level application: he is a fighter who makes fighters, and a scholar who has educated scholars.
I have been a dedicated Viking re-enactor for 30 years. Shortly after I got involved in HEMA in the early 2000s, I started my exploration of Viking Age swordsmanship.
Meticulous examination of surviving weaponry, hands-on experimentation, as well as what little other sources we have, suggest that fighting arts were no less sophisticated than in later eras. To get a better idea of my approach, watch this video.
Tony Wolf, fight choreographer and martial artist:
As a longtime champion of the dramatic potential of “forgotten” martial arts in feature film action sequences, I am happy to be able to recommend Roland Warzecha’s consultancy. His detailed and dynamic reconstructions of sword and shield combat are literally at the cutting edge.
My documentation of period weapons has also resulted in the reconstruction and reproduction of respective finds, such as a set of sword hilt fittings created by my friend Alban Depper of Northan Viking Silver. Thus, practitioners can fit their training swords with a perfectly authentic hilt.
Over the years, I have run many public demos and lectured at conferences. My endeavour has kindly been supported by various museums and renowned experts in the field.
Dr. Peter Hambro Mikkelsen, archaelogist and conservator:
For several years, Roland Warzecha has been cooperating with Moesgaard Museum and the Archaeological Department at Aarhus University in exploring Viking Age weapons use and combat techniques. The actual combat seems to have been much more sophisticated than is usually envisioned by the community of archaeologists.
Roland has great communicative skills which facilitates understanding the complexities of real fighting with sword and shield.
Unfortunately, there are no sources for combat with high medieval shields that would compare to the late medieval and Renaissance fight books. However, Cornelius Berthold and myself assume that the fighting described in MS I.33/FECHT 1 resembles the contemporary systems for triangle shields. Therefore, our respective suggestions are based on this manuscript, as well as on additional period imagery.
We also take into account the effects of mail armour and helmets, which was often, albeit not exclusively, worn by fighters of the age.
Jessica Finley, swordswoman, instructor and writer:
I have had the pleasure of knowing Roland Warzecha as an instructor and practitioner of martial arts for many years. His expertise with a sword is not only well-known, but welldeserved. I have recommended his videos and personal instruction to many people and find myself consulting his works when I have questions on sword and shield. He is an excellent communicator, and I have enjoyed taking group classes from him at international seminars, getting a private lesson, and joining in on small-group sessions in Hamburg. He has my highest regard and respect.
Plus, together with our fellow swordsman and archaeologist Ingo Petri we have examined surviving shields of the 13th and 14th centuries at Marburg. Ingo and myself have also had the chance to examine a remarkable 11th century Slavic shield and the remains of a 12th century kite shield found at Szczecin.
Alberto Mattea, director of “Fiore” and film composer:
As a director strongly advocating for better historical accuracy in film, I can’t stress enough the relevance that Roland Warzecha’s research in the field of sword and shield combat has in changing the narrative of what people normally think of medieval fighting.
His expertise and the outstanding elegance and finesse of his form bring out all the martial and visual power of this Art.
I have long been following his work and greatly learned from his communicative skills and charisma, and I dream of a day when such a level of authenticity will become the norm.
Historical fighting arts cannot be fully understood without examination of the associated weaponry.
Over the years, I have examined and documented swords and shields in numerous collections worldwide. One such sword is an early medieval example found at Neuburg, Mecklenburg, Germany.
Today it is kept at Moesgaard Museum, Denmark. I have reconstructed its original shape by conducting a geometric analysis based on the work of renowned swordsmith Peter Johnsson.
Watch a video here.
Götz Breitenbücher, swordsmith, expert in pattern-welding:
The insights into the composition and the material properties of the early medieval sword and its making, gained in decades of hands-on experimentation, and the re- discovery of historical smelting and forging techniques, are complemented by Roland Warzecha’s meticulous research into historical fighting arts. His work greatly improves our understanding of combat requirements, and the practical demands that had to be met by historical sword makers.
Swordsmith Götz Breitenbücher forged a reconstruction based on my research, and I have made an appropriate scabbard and sword belt for it.
I have documented the making of the scabbard from carving the wooden core to attaching the sword belt in a series of posts. You are welcome to take a look.
Guy Windsor, swordsman, instructor and writer:
It takes three core skills to recreate historical martial arts: in-depth research into the arts and the weaponry associated with them; excellent physical skills; and excellent teaching skills. In my professional opinion Mr Warzecha possesses all three to an unusual degree.
I have taught classes on sword & shield all around the globe, from Anchorage, Alaska, to Auckland in New Zealand. I have repeatedly been invited to teach, lecture and run demos at influential HEMA events, such as Dreynevent in Vienna, Swordfish in Gothenburg or WMAW near Chicago. To learn about up-coming workshops and training events, please subscribe to my newsletter.
Feel free to send a query if you would like me
to come to your place to teach.
Sean Hayes, swordsman and instructor:
It is my pleasure to recommend Roland Warzecha as an instructor of historical fencing and martial arts. I have observed Mr Warzecha teach classes and lessons and had the opportunity to work in group and individual settings with him repeatedly, and found his knowledge of Historical European Martial Arts and his abilities as a teacher and combatant to be excellent. I learned much from our interactions.
In 2012, I created a regular training event called the Berlin Buckler Bouts which was well received from the start. The BBB are a twice-annual international training event devoted to the practice of historical combat with sword & buckler and other types of shield. You are welcome to send a message if you would like me to add your name to the invitational list. To learn more, please take a look at the info provided here.
Devon Boorman, swordsman and instructor:
Roland Warzecha is clearly one of the strongest researchers and practitioners of traditional sword and buckler technique in the world. One of his main strengths is his ability to dissect the mechanical underpinnings that make a given technique successful and then to communicate that effectively to his students. I heartily recommend him as an instructor and coach.
Fencing in reconstructed costume and environment is a vital part of exploring historical swordplay.
I have been engaged in living history and re-enactment since the early 1990s, and combining it with the practice of historical martial arts only felt natural.
Alban Depper, artist, swordsman and Viking re-enactor:
I have trained swordsmanship with Roland for over 25 years, since we both started in the world of Viking reenactment. Roland has never been confined by the accepted way of doing things. He has steered his own course in his quest for historical authenticity. His drive for continuous research and putting this research to the test means his ideas are constantly evolving.
All of which would be useless without being able to put these ideas into practice. Theory is great, but if you can’t fight, how can you adequately test it?
I’ve seen Roland fight all manner of opponents over the years: experienced, skilled, brutal, unyielding. His ideas always stand up to the test.
In previous years, I have run combat demos, trainings and classes in reconstructed costume and gear at appropriate venues, kindly supported by museum directors, curators and staff. This kind of format offers a unique experience to participants, and a very appealing and educating presentation to audiences.
To get an idea, you might enjoy watching this video.
To receive updates on respective events such as the Hedeby Bouts, subscribe to my newsletter.
Ute Drews, Viking expert and former museum director:
At the reconstructed Viking houses on the site of the world famous emporium of Haithabu, Roland Warzecha’s contribution to high level conveyance of research results is a great asset. Thanks to his in-depth knowledge and expertise, his talent to inspire like-minded enthusiasts to attend fencing workshops at Haithabu, and his creative power to make the whole place a training venue for early medieval martial arts, our visitors gain fascinating insights into the remote world of the Vikings.
Two of my lectures have also yielded academic papers which are available online too.
Find a free documentation of a Viking sword hilt attached to this post.
Christian Tobler, swordsman, instructor and writer:
Roland Warzecha has earned a reputation as one of the top researcher-practitioners of Historic European Martial Arts. Drawing upon his years of martial arts experience with years of high-end living history experience, Mr. Warzecha’s work combines a scholar’s eye and the hands of a skilled combatant, examining period artwork, written treatises, and hands-on examination of period weapons and artifacts to gain an understanding of the underlying principles of medieval fighting arts.
The first volume of my long-awaited ‘Book of Sword & Shield’ is scheduled for 2023. It will primarily cover ergonomic sword hilt design and the relevance of fine engine skills in historical swordsmanship which is a focus of my research. Sign up for my newsletter to not miss its release!
Dierk Hagedorn, swordsman, instructor and writer:
Roland Warzecha is one of the most accomplished swordsmen I have ever met. His expertise and special interest are the oldest surviving fencing manuscripts. His achievements in reconstructing techniques with sword and buckler are simply outstanding. Roland is the most dedicated person when it comes down to detail — and this concerns not only the mere physical approach but also delving deeply into research. His knowledge about all things Medieval is nothing but encyclopaedic.
There is much to learn from Mr Warzecha.
In collaboration with my fellow fencer and researcher Cornelius Berthold who runs the Dimicator Schola in Hamburg, I am currently putting together an extensive sword & buckler online course which will reflect our current understanding of the manuscript I.33/FECHT 1, and provide hours of video footage of fighting technique, exercises and additional information on weapons and historical context. The course will also contain unique and useful bonus material in the form of full scale tracings of original swords plus stats. To learn about its release and future publications, sign up to my newsletter, please.