Thankfully I’m intending to continue blogging about interests circulating Medievalism, Reality Stuff does boggle one down when it comes to maintaining an interest to document things down.
The HEMA Alliance, What is it?
I’m surprised that I’d didn’t share this, considering that I’ve been on it for years, today I like to share about Historical European Martial Arts, or HEMA for short, has been a recent resurrection of old Medieval and Renaissance Martial Art treatises, showing the art of fighting through various techniques and principles mainly on swords, but also poleaxes, daggers, unarmed etc.
As a Medieval buff myself, I’m overjoyed and surprised to find out about Martial Arts being existant in Europe, when often the media always portray Martial Arts as of Eastern Origin. Most of the treastises extends as Early as the Roman Empire with the Gladius and even into WW2, notably the faireburn sykes daggers used by the British Army and the Commandos.
A page of a manuscript from 14th Century Master Fiore de’i Liberi, showing a detailed illustration of the Seven blows of the Sword, and the Four Virtues representing the strengths of animals.
The HEMA Alliance focuses on the reconstruction of many old and long forgotten treatises that were almost lost back in the day, where there Martial Weaponmasters teaching Nobles in the art of fighting and how to defeat or kill of their opponents with skill rather than just brute force whilst preserving one’s life, which is different in contrast to many of the portrayals in European Medieval Combat today.
Also, unlike the ‘Flynning’ from popular movies where it’s a poor simulation of hitting only the opponents weapon and took ages to finish, Swordfighting was short and brutal.
The HEMA Alliance showcases a wide variety of Both Armed and Unarmed Martial Arts, with Armed consisting of Daggers, Sabers, Rapiers, Longswords, Messers(Like a cutting sword, or a falchion), Spears, Poleaxes, although the Longsword is more popularly associated with, which distinguishes alot from most modern fencing weaponry with notable masters such as Fiore de’i Liberi and Johannes Liechtenauer.
Armoured Fencing (A favourite of mine) even existed back in the times, where the Europeans were renowned for their usage of Armour in the battlefield, in the 1400s-1500s, a more illustrated treatise of the Gladiatoria Group shows principles such as identifying vulnerable points of armour and adapting to defeat armour using techniques like Half-Swording.
Probably, the most interesting, and most expansive treatise to endeavour into…..
The History of HEMA
The surge of European Martial Arts started out in the 90s, where Communities from Europe and the US has reconstructed and established several Treatises from various Masters. It later grows much more prominent in the 2000s with various communities that began to form the HEMA alliance, their goals to further the studies of HEMA treatises and connect the groups together.
With the help of open knowledge passing on the internet, various communities from around the world emerged in not just the Western countries, but also in the East, many notable societies in Taiwan, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore (my country, and Australia).
Freedom of Study
My interests for this Martial Arts was mainly due to the goals of the Alliance aiming towards the freedom to pursue knowledge of the Historical Treatises, which is the Freedom of Study. HEMA was pretty much unknown until the resurgence of such sources in the internet, and with an open-minded policy of sharing sources online, HEMA has became more popular.
Part of the reasons why I’d preferred this mindset of the community over the more popular Martial Arts Commuities.
Interested? Why not look further?
If this blog post here has heightened your interest in HEMA, then might I suggest checking out these videos and sites?
Wikitenauer, an open wiki dedicated to open source sharing of HEMA treatises: http://www.wiktenauer.com
Schola Forum, Forum about HEMA, and mainly HEMA: http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/phpBB3/index.php
Scholagladiatoria, Matt Easton covering about HEMA and other similiar interests: https://www.youtube.com/user/scholagladiatoria/featured
Skallagrim, a Youtube Channel mostly about HEMA and various Medieval intrigues, here’s a video on how to get started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jmVQlcXfzmQ
Thanks for reading, if you have any feedbacks, do write down a comment.
Disclaimer: I do not claim to be a representative of the HEMA Alliance, but rather a participant of the community, just wanting to share my perception of the HEMA community. All sources used here are for Fair Use policy,(information, education).