WHAT IS HEMA?
HEMA stands for Historical European Martial Arts. Modern HEMA is the combination of the study of 'dead' historical fighting systems, and the application of those systems to a modern competitive combat sport.
The systems we study are reconstructed based on historical documents, from hand-written manuscripts from as early as the 13th century, to printed manuals from 16th century up to the 20th. The further back in time we go, the harder it gets to translate the cryptic descriptions into efficient movements, which means the work of interpretation is never truly complete.
As for the modern scene, many established HEMA clubs host both highly competitive tournaments, and more laid-back sparring camps. In either case, the culture is laid-back and supportive; we come together to hit each other with swords, to test our abilities and learn new techniques, and to rest together and make lifelong friends.