Bridgewater College professors to give presentation on swords

bridgewaterDrs. Gavin Lawson and Clifford Harmon will present “Swords in the Middle Ages and Renaissance” at7:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 15, in Cole Hall at Bridgewater College.

The presentation will begin with single-handed swords wielded by the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons and end with the light maneuverable dueling swords of the Spanish and Italian nobles. Lawson and Harmon will document the changes that have occurred in sword use and design. The program will also include sparring demonstrations of the medieval longsword and modern foil.

Lawson, an associate professor of biology at Bridgewater College, has been studying martial arts for more than 30 years. He first studied western martial arts as a member of the Society for Creative Anachronism in graduate school and later switched to Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) after joining Bridgewater’s faculty.

Harmon, an instructor of history at BC, began fencing as an undergraduate at Auburn University in 1971. From 2000-06, he coached the Virginia Military Institute fencing team. Under his leadership, the team received the third-place saber trophy at the International Fencing Challenge held at the École Polytechnique in Paris in 2001.

Lawson and Harmon are co-advisers of the Bridgewater College Comitatus Club, which promotes the study and safe practice of western martial arts.

The event is free and open to the public.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college, located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to approximately 1,800 undergraduate students.

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