International Historical Combat Seminar by Heiko Große

The combination of Sword and Shield is one of the oldest combat forms of mankind. Arm-bound shield forms were common in the medieval period, but also in the 16th and 17th century. The steel round-shield, called Rotella, Rodela, Rondartsche or Targe were widely used all over Europe. Other then the civilian buckler, it was mostly a military weapon in combination with the Sidesword and Backsword. Manuscripts of the period, like Achille Marozzo, Giacomo Di Grassi or Domingo Luis Godinho, were teaching its use. The metal round shield, sometimes even described as bullet-proof, was offering good coverage as well as offensive possibilities. From Italy to Spain, from Germany to England, the roundshield was used. All over the 16th century and even up to the Thirty Years War, when Habsburgean Rondartschiere were fighting to break pike and Shot formations, the Rotella was known. In Scotland the wooden form of the Targe was still used by Highland Clansmen until the mid-18th century together with the Basket-Hilted Broadsword.

This seminar will focus on the basics and advanced principles and techniques of using a Sidesword or Backsword in combination with round-shields like Rotella or Targe. Basing on several sources from the 16th to the 18th Century, participants will learn the fundamentals of this combat art in indivivdual and group fighting. The material can also be adopted to medieval swords and arm-bound shield forms (ie triangular heater-shield).

Equipment needed: one-handed training sword (Sidesword, Backsword, Broadsword), round-shield or medieval heater-shield (no bucklers) all of blunt steel, aluminium, plastic or wooden, fencing-mask, gloves. Any additional protective equipment is not necessary, but welcome.


Heiko Grosse is the current head-instructor and 2nd president of the international Cateran Society. He founded the Broadsword Academy Germany in 2009. The group studys Highland Broadsword and other scottish weapons next to Highland Wrestling. He is ANNO 1838 e.V. research member working on fencing master F.C. Christmann´s history. Before concentrating on HEMA, Heiko practiced Kendo for 10 years and reached the 1. Dan. He wrote the first book on Highland Broadsword in german language in 2014, co-authored the upcoming book “Scorners of Death” and wrote some articles for historical magazines. He taught seminars at national and international events like the International Sabre Symposium, Noble Science Germany, Krav Maga Union Crosscamp, Ars Martialis, FISAS International Meeting and many more.