Next weekend, the epic final of the first Nordic Historical Fencing League tournament circuit will be fought in Bergen. Fencers from five countries will be fencing in the last leg of the first international HEMA tournament league ever to settle who is the foremost longsword fencer in Northern Europe.
The Nordic Historical Fencing League, or NHFL, is an international co-operation to link individual HEMA tournaments in the Nordic countries together in a larger competitive narrative. So far, 61 fencers from 5 countries have participated. For the first year of the league, the tournaments have been Helsinki Longsword Open, Örebro Open, Copenhagen Open and now finally Bergen Open. The competition has focused on longsword, but there are plans to add more weapons, series and events to the league as the organization matures. Already this year the events in Bergen and Örebro include tournaments in sabre and sword & buckler that are not part of the league.
The two people who have a shot at winning are Carl Ryrberg of Örebro HEMA, and Thomas Nyzell of the Uppsala Historical Fencing School:
Carl Ryrberg (30) is head instructor in and founder of Örebro HEMA. He is the vice president of SvHEMAF, Swedish project manager of the Nordic Historical Fencing League and a dedicated tournament fighter. He has won medals in several tournaments around the world, most recently gold in the Invitational Fechtshule Tournament at Longpoint 2014. So far, he has two first places and one second place in the league tournaments.
Thomas Nyzell (35) has won medals in tournaments all over Scandinavia during recent ears, both in longsword and sword & buckler. He has trained with the Uppsala Historical Fencing School since 2008 and instructs sword & buckler and longsword there. So far in the league he has placed 1st, 3rd and 2nd.
Nyzell is going to the finals as an underdog; Ryrberg has a 15-point advantage and Nyzell will have to catch that in order to win. This means it is not enough for him to merely win the individual tournament; Ryrberg cannot place higher than third. Other results where Nyzell wins include second place for him with Ryrberg losing in the quarter finals and 3rd place for him if Ryrberg does not make it to the quarters. The quarterfinals of the tournament promise to be very exciting, since they are likely to be the arena where the winner of the entire 8-month league is decided.
So stay tuned for the results next Sunday! The results of the finals will be updated live on the NHFL facebook page!
Photos by Timo Toropainen