Historical European martial arts (HEMA)
HEMA practicioners study and apply the practices of historical European fighting techniques. HEMA is primarly based on the study of surviving manuscripts and books written long ago by the fencing masters of different time periods. Unlike other martial arts, which have living traditions, it is important to note that the art of HEMA is reconstructive, based on the historical sources.
The European arts evolved as time passed by, with each era having its own focus:
- Medieval: primarily focused on the longsword, following the teachings of masters Johannes Liechtenauer and Fiore dei Liberi.
- Rennaissance: mainly focused on the rapier systems of the late 16th and 17th centuries.
- Early Modern: Primarily smallsword, military sabre systems and stick-fighting systems.
To study and interpret the treatises and historical sources, safe, modern equipment is used: the training swords are blunt ande made from high quality steel (durable plastic swords are also used sometimes for training); padded gloves, jackets and fencing masks are also used to keep practictioners safe. The usage of modern equipment allows the practice of these historical fencing skills in a coprehensive and complete fashion without having to worry about safety. It should be noted, though, that even with the available modern gear, it is still an art of physical contact and combat, so accidents may occur.
Getting involved in HEMA
The HEMA community started growing since the 1990s, with HEMA communities emerging all over Europe, North America, Australia and the wider English-speaking world. Nowadays, the community is growing at a quicker pace, with clubs spreading all over the globe. Even in Romania, the movement is growing strong, with multiple active clubs accross the country.