Chronicle of a journey to Tomar – November 2017 Friday January 26th, 2018 – Posted in: AGEA Editora – Tags: , , , ,

Building on the precedent stablished with «Cronica duma viagem a Lisboa» on November 2016, we bring here the memory of the last trip to Portugal by AGEA Editora AGEA Editora team members on 10 to 12 of november, 2017. This time our delegation was integrated by Manuel Valle Ortiz, Ton Puey (from Academia da Espada) and Diniz Cabreira (from Arte do Combate).

On our way we made a strategic stop at Ponte de Lima to pay hommage to Tereixa Henriques, mother of Portuguese independence from the Kingdom of Galicia. We took the chance, too, to build up our reserves by attacking in earnest generous portions of portuguese cod for lunch.

On our way to Tomar we made a brief visit to the University of Coimbra library, where we were received by the attentive staff. There Manuel and Diniz delivered a copy of our book Destreza das Armas, which is a critical edition of manuscript MS 208 from that library. We are, as always, eternally grateful to the staff of the University of Coimbra, and of portuguese libraries in general, who systemmatically supports our research.

We resumed the trip to Tomar, beautiful city full of architectonic marvels among which one cannot possibly overlook the combined castle and monastery of the Order of Christ — a building of imposing beauty whose visit we recommend heartfully, if you have a chance.

The city of Tomar was hosting the annual gathering of HEMA-Portugal, portuguese federation of historical european martial arts clubs, organised by the local group Thomar Honoris. There, along with Karin Verelst, Eugenio Garcia-Salmones, Mátyás Miskolczi, Frederico Martins and Pedro Fonseca, Ton Puey taught several workshops on rapier and montante. We also met at Tomar the fellow galicians from the Sala Viguesa de Esgrima Antiga, who had taken a trip south en masse to attend to the event.

Beyond these practical activities, HEMA-Portugal awarded our fellow Manuel Valle Ortiz with the distinction of «Honorary Master at Arms», for his leading work recovering portuguese texts of historical martial arts. This is the translation of Manuel’s acceptance speech:

Dear sires and madams:

It is with great satisfaction that I receive this dubiously deserved homage, fruit of the affection of the friends who wanted to signify the work done to recover the Portuguese fencing texts, a task that I undertook boldly, for Portuguese is not my mother tongue, but at the same time with the dedication of a passionate choice.

The merit is not mine, but of the great group of friends and collaborators who for several years have worked with me on the recovery of these almost forgotten books.

I would like to mention, first of all, Steve Hick and Eric Myers, who from remote countries have shown considerable interest in the heritage of Portuguese fencing, especially regarding the older texts.

All the people who contributed to the publication of our books: Ton Puey, Denis Fernandez Cabrera, Francisco Castro, Laksmy Irigoyen, Jaime Girona, Tomas Ahola, Manuel Campo, Diego Conde and Tim Rivera . The cooperative effort of so many people has allowed us to reach this moment.

I must also point out the indispensable collaboration of the Portuguese librarians who keep these treasures in the National Library of Lisbon, the Torre do Tombo, the Library of Ajuda, the Lisbon Academy of Sciences and the University Library of Coimbra, who with greatness and true love for books have greatly facilitated our investigations.

And finally, thanks to our Portuguese friends and especially Fernando Brecha, who with his enthusiasm encouraged us to continue this work.

We just took the first steps on this path. New generations will come who will continue and expand on this task.

Muito obrigado

The meeting went along beautifully for a couple of days, giving us another chance to tighten bonds between the galician and portuguese HEMA communities, as well as to meet again some international friends. We must highlight the hospitality and generosity of the organization, who fed us at the best restaurants in town and made sure we visited all the «must see» spots.

We left Tomar on sunday, already missing it, and begun the long way to the North, eating kilometers as the sun went down. But our trip kept one last surprise in storage for us: shortly before arriving to the banks of the Minho river our car’s engine shut down in a bend of the road, leaving us stranded mid-highway, up-hill. We negotiated with our insurance for some exciting minutes the recovery of our car full of rapiers, longswords, montantes, sweat-soaked clothes and other weapons of mass destruction.

The car, full of swords, as it is towed away

But, luckily, the insurance company did its job and soon we had our car taken care of and a taxi for us, to take us home for the rest of the trip. Driving at the legendary portuguese speeds, the taxi driver dropped us at our homes in Compostela and Corunha sooner than we had expected, so that upon arrival we had the chance to alleviate this little scare with the medicine which, by way of farewell present, our friends from Tomar sent with us: