Back to Olympus…

For the first time, European martial arts are hosted in the cultural program of the European Games. An exhibition, an invitational gala tournament, and two conferences will offer the visitor of the European Games insights into the multifaceted aspects of European martial arts heritage and traditions brought back to life.




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01 May - 30 September 2019

Minsk History Museum

Mikhail Savitsky Art Gallery


By displaying both objects (ancient books, arms and armour) and intangible cultural heritage (martial arts), this special exhibition offers the visitors of the European Games a unique experience in rediscovering a forgotten martial culture. The ancient ways of the sword will be celebrated through a visualisation of the processes behind the development of martial ethos, from the forge to the use of weapons.




22-23 June 2019


HEMA: The combat sport

One of the most appealing aspects of Historical European Martial Arts is their practice as a combat sport. In the past twenty years HEMA has turned into a global phenomenon. Worldwide, nation-wide and regional tournaments, competitions and events have helped in the spread of this movement. In Minsk, 4 of the most popular weapon categories (longsword, sword & buckler, rapier, rapier & dagger) will be presented to the public with an invitational tournament with top athletes of the sport from around the world.



Two conferences will complement the exhibition and the tournament, and will shed more light to European martial arts.

The first one, “Pax Militaris: People, weaponry, fortification”, is an international conference, organised by the Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

The second, “Historical European Martial Arts, from the page to the gym”, is a public outreach event, geared towards HEMA practices and the research that nourishes them.



Minsk History Museum, April 25-26, 2019

This conference is part of the international conference of the “Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus”. We will have a dedicated panel in the larger congress in relation with the special exhibition “European Martial Arts: From Vulcan’s Forge to the Arts of Mars”. It aims to contribute to the field of Martial Arts studies, and to enlarge the exhibition’s perspectives.


Historical European Martial Arts: From the page to the gym

Minsk History Museum, 21 June 2019

Historical European Martial Arts have been documented in the corpus of fight books since the fourteenth century, and fight books are still written today. Several revivals of past martial arts practices are documented throughout history, but especially in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The recent movement started in 1990s has become global in the last twenty years. How do martial arts practitioners develop their modern practice with the use of the fight books’ corpus? What are the processes involved into turning inscription, description or codification of martial arts written on a page into a contemporary martial arts practice or a combat sport?

With the participation of Karen Watts (Royal Armouries, UK), Sungsik Cho (ICM, KR), Ma Lianzhen (South China Normal University, CN), Hing Chao (International Guoshu Association, HK), Bert Gevaert (Hallebardiers, Brugge, BE), Manuel Valle Ortiz (AGEA, Santiago de Compostela, SP), Julien Garry (University of Burgundy, FR), Mike Prendergast (Historical Combat Academy, Dublin, IE), Anthony Rischard (Black Armoury, Clermont Ferrand, FR).


About us

The organisation of the exhibition, the tournaments and the conferences is a joined venture, led by Roberto Gotti, with the support of Daniel Jaquet. Along the way of these non-profit endeavours, we enjoyed the support and help of many institutions, organisations and individuals.

The main partner is the Foundation “Directorate of the 2nd European Games 2019


Curators: Roberto Gotti, Daniel Jaquet, and Iason-Eleftherios Tzouriadis.

Institutional partners: Minsk History Museum, Foundation Directorate of the 2nd European Games, and Martial Art Museum (Botticino, IT).

Scientific committee: Yulia Igina, Marco Merlo, Manuel Valle Ortiz, Miriam Vogelaar, and Karen Watts.

Graphic design: Linda Balboni Gotti.

Photo: Sara Apostoli.

Video: Alberto Dalla Valle.

Restoration: Andrea Caccaveri.

Bladesmith (replica): Giovanni Sartori.

Interactive display: Anthony Rischard (Black Armoury)


Organizing committee: Alberto Bomprezzi, Roberto Gotti, Kristine Konsmo, Francesco Lodà, Axel Pettersson, Ton Puey, George Zacharopoulos.

A list of delegates by region mandated by the organisation can be consulted here.

Collaboration: the International Federation for HEMA (IFHEMA) has been invited to Minsk 2019. With the General Assembly’s absolute agreement it welcomes this opportunity and offers it’s patronage to this unique event. The other countries without membership to IFHEMA send their team through delegates mandated by the organizing committee.

Sponsor: Kvetun Armoury


“Martial Arts, past and present” (April 25-26, 2019)

Organizing committee: Vadzim Koshman.

Collaboration: Institute of History of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus.

“Historical European Martial Arts. From the page to the gym” (June 21, 2019)

Organizing committee: Daniel Jaquet.

Collaboration: Minsk History Museum, HROARR.

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