Let’s Discuss Historical European Martial Arts…

Let’s Discuss Historical European Martial Arts…

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Historical European Martial Arts or HEMA, as most call it, is a proud tradition of recreating classic fights and duels from hundreds of years ago. This tradition has only been around for about a quarter century but it’s definitely here to stay and it’s popularity is picking up steam. The movement now has several hundred clubs in America alone. Right now, there are more and more beginners classes starting all over, so be on the look out if you’re interested.
 
Many of these reenactments involve older weapons like swords, so things can get intense quickly with one of these HEMA demonstrations. These are competitive, however, as the point is to touch/hit your long sword against your opponent as many times as possible in the short (usually less than three minutes) bout. Injuries are not an issue either as all fighters are required to wear heavy fencing equipment which allows them to be struck with a sword without sustaining any injury. So, these fights are not historically accurate down to the last detail, but they still are fought in the same fashion as were the original fights.
 
In fact, since 2013 there’s been several tournaments that run regularly throughout the country that you can go and check out. Many offer cash prizes as well as rare weapons as prizes for placing in the tournament. The events include Longsword, Singlestick, and Mixed Synthetic competitions. Many of these competitions are held out in the Midwest but each year a new competition will pop up in a new location so keep your eye out for a competition near you!
 
None of the tournaments have yet to unify with each other. This is something that is expected to happen in the next few years as one of the criticisms of these tournaments is there are no uniform rules or regulations as of yet which is problematic for competitors who compete in multiple tournaments each year.
 

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