Système d’Armes, New Orleans (SDA NOLA) is a HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) study group formed in 2004 by Jean Chandler and Lenny Zimmermann. The purpose of SDA is for it’s members to learn to fight, particularly with swords but with other weapons as well, based on techniques from fencing manuals written in medieval and Early Modern periods, primarily from Italy and German speaking Central Europe. SDA was born from an earlier, less organized group which was active since the late 1990’s and includes members with various martial backgrounds including Japanese, Chinese, and Filipino martial arts, Marine Corps combatives, collegiate saber fencing, SCA rapier fencing, and… lower decatur street in the 1980’s.
SDA NOLA is active in the tournament scene and in historical research. Since 2009 our members have fought in major international HEMA tournaments in Sweden, Houston, and Maryland, as well as national tournaments in Boston and Tampa, Florida, and local events in Louisiana. Our members have made quarter finals in several tournaments and won a bronze medal in Das Grublein, a form of German wrestling, at Longpoint in 2014 as well as the Fechtschule America international longsword tournament in Houston in 2012, in the dussack open tournament at Swordfish in Sweden in 2010, as well as in Nylon Longsword at IGX in 2013 and silver in the sidesword tournament at IGX 2014. Three of our members are currently ranked among the top 100 longsword fencers in the US tournament circuit. SDA is also active in research, notable contributions include significant development of the wiktenauer website and multiple translations by Christian Trosclair, transcriptions of historical treatises by Lenny Zimmermann, and a lecture at the BSG in 2012 on Central European urban militias, and IGX in 2013 on the context of the “informal” duel by Jean Chandler as well as his publishing an article in the academic periodical Acta Periodica Duellatorum. We are actively interested in the “H” in HEMA and conduct research both on the side of the manuals and fechtbücher as well as the historical context of European Martial Arts. We also enjoy good relations with researchers in Canada, Sweden, France, the UK, and the US.
SDA is also interested in the concept of hospitality and seeks to foster solidarity and cooperation between HEMA groups. We are active members and a founding Affiliate Club of the HEMA Alliance (from whom we have our insurance) and the Western Martial Arts Coalition. We have sponsored local visits by such instructors as Jake Norwood of Maryland KDF and Scott Brown and Dakao Do of Schwert am Schwert. SDA is a pioneer in the development of a formal journeyman system between international fencing groups, and toward that end in 2012 we sponsored a visit from journeyman fencer Simon Torrel of GHFS Sweden.
SDA is proud of the fencing and dueling traditions of New Orleans and hopes to honor our historical ancestors such as Jose “Pepe” Lulla and Gilbert Rosiere with our fighting spirit and determination to learn the martial arts. We are also interested in the unique history, culture and traditions of New Orleans which we seek to share with the rest of the fencing community. In the spirit of our city and region we try to get the most out of life and enjoy ourselves, and we incorporate fun into our learning and training. We enjoy the food, drink and music of our home town and love to share them with visitors. On the local / regional level, SDA has a close relationship with Eric Wiggins’ HEMA fencing groups of Baton Rouge and Hammond (connected to Ordo Procintus) and we have held friendly group vs. group tournaments with Ordo and with Schwert am Schwert Houston in 2011 and 2012.
If you’d care to join us just contact us here and our practice schedule is shown on the calendar in the drop-down menu on the upper left (those tree bars you see up there). We also ask that you consider joining our forum and be sure to print out, sign and bring with you a waiver if you wish to participate.
Several members of our group have been instructors in longsword or rapier at major fencing events around the US.
Christian Trosclair is a student of combat, dance, biomechanics and kinesthetics. He has spent over 20 years studying variously Bagua, Capoeira, Xingyi, Silat and Systema, as well as the classical indian dance, Bharata Natyam, Flamenco and Yoga. He is an instructor for System D’Armes, New Orleans (SDA NOLA) and has taught at Fechtschule America, Longpoint and the Boston Sword Gathering and teaches when he travels. He has been a Liechtenauer practitioner for seven years and is an avid translator. It is his aim to aid others in discovering the fundamental movements and theories of medieval combatives. He was also a member of the Governing Council of the HEMA Alliance and is currently the primary instructor for the Tuesday evening practices.
Jean Chandler has been a student of German longsword fencing for the past 12 years. An instructor for System D’armes, New Orleans (SDA NOLA), which he co-founded with Lenny Zimmermann in 2004, Jean hosted the ARMA event ‘Southern Knights in 2004. He taught a Liechtenauer sword clinic for the Ordo Procinctus fight-club in 2009, and was a longsword instructor at Fechtschule America in 2011 and 2012. Jean placed 5th in the Hammertertz Open International Longsword Tournament 2010, and won 3rd place in the Fechtschule America Longsword tournament in 2012. Jean has been researching and writing a book on the late Medieval Baltic since 2009 and presented a lecture on urban militias at the 2012 Boston Sword Gathering. He has written an article on urban militias of Medieval Central Europe for the Journal Acta Periodica Duellatorum, which will be published in May 2013 and presented at the Dijon international fencing tournament that same month. Jean was a founding member of the “Slum Fu Stompers” fight club back in the 1980’s.
Robert Starnes Robert was a member of the “Slum Fu Stompers” fight club back in the 1980’s.
Billy “Swordcop” Tregle
Daymein “Skip” Boyd has studied longsword for 12 years and has been a member of SDA NOLA since it’s founding in 2004. Over the years he studied capoeria, judo, tae kwon do and kung fu and was a member of the “Slum Fu Stompers” fight club back in the 1980’s. In 2011 Skip came in second place in the Ordo vs. SDA longsword tournament in Hammond, Louisiana.
Lenny Zimmermann began his study of HEMA around 1994 with the SCA in San Antonio focusing mainly on Italian Rapier as historic manuals were just being “rediscovered”, or at least being made far more accessible at that time. Moving back to New Orleans in 2000 he met up with Jean Chandler at Southern Knights and they quickly started getting together to share knowledge and create the flowering bud that would become SDA NOLA, thanks to the burgeoning interest in HEMA and the exceptional contributions of all the phenomenal folks they’ve had the pleasure to train with and learn from. He is more than happy to share what he knows and can drone on incessantly about the concept of honor in the Late High Italian Renaissance if you have the misfortune to let him. He has a few tournament wins having tied for 3rd place in Nylon Longsword at IGX 2013 and taking 2nd in Sidesword at IGX 2014. He is happy to act as Rapier instructor for those interested in asking him for such and is currently delving into the work of Giacomo di Grassi and Vincentio Saviolo. he is currently the Treasurer and temporary Secretary of the club. He is also a lifetime member of the HEMA Alliance.