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What is HEMA?

Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA, sometimes also know as Historical Fencing or Western Martial Arts) is a collection of martial art systems of European origin. The term encompasses a range of martial art systems that come from a variety of regions and time periods. Their shared feature is that they used to be practiced in Europe, but did not survive until the modern day. HEMA is about reviving these lost martial arts using historical material combined with modern training methods, protective gear and sword trainers

HEMA is a martial as well as a scholarly art. As practically none of the martial lineages we study have survived until the modern day, our knowledge relies on historical and archeological records rather than on martial traditions or authority. As a result, interpreting the historical source material is as crucial to becoming a good “HEMAist” as the practicing of movements and the techniques. The ultimate goal is being able to apply complex historical techniques in a tactical full contact duel against an unwilling opponent.

The Aros Historical Fencing Guild mainly focuses on early treatises from the German school of fencing. This style of fencing was started by the German fencing master Johannes Liechtenauer, during the 14th or 15th century. The fencing master himself did not leave us any treatises, that we know of, but many of his students and followers did. We try to interpret these treatises and try to bring their martial content back to life.

The treatises we study mostly discuss the use of the medieval longsword, so this is what we practice most of the time. However, it also contains sections on other weapon combinations, such as the use of dagger, messer, pole weapons, unarmed fighting, fighting on horseback or even fighting in armour.


Der Zettel

Following is the prologue to Johannes Lichtenauer's Recital (Zettel). The full version is available here.


 Johannes Lichtenauer
|Junck ritter lere
|Got lieb haben frawen |Jü ere
|So wechst dein ere
|vbe° ritterschafft vnd lere
|kunst die dich zÿret
|vnd in kriegen |zu° eren hofieret
|Ringe~s gu°t fesser
glefen sper swert |vnd messer
|Mandleich bederbñ
|vnd In anderñ henden verderben
|Haw drein |vnd hürtt dar
|Rausch hin trif oder la faren
|Das in die weysen
|hassen die man sicht preÿsen
|Dar auff dich fasse
|Alle ku~st haben leng |vnd masse


You want to know more?

If you are interested and want to know more, we recommend you have a look at the following resources or give it a try at one of our training sessions.



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