HROARR is an independent, neutral meeting ground and resource site dedicated to the Historical European Martial Arts community. At the time of writing it reaches 25 000 unique readers who visit the site 10 times or more per year, with the absolute majority being interested in the material offered.
HROARR is provided for the advancement of international collaboration, research and learning the European martial arts traditions. HROARR is fully independent and run on a non-profit basis in an attempt at helping the HEMA community to grow and evolve. The contents of the site always belongs to the authors or copyright owners. Financially, the site is supported both by individual persons that use act as patrons of the site, as well as by historical fencing companies advertising on the site.
This platform is completely open to the whole HEMA community to use for publishing news and articles, debating, sharing of ideas, methods and interpretations, marketing events and HEMA products. Companies with HEMA-related products are even allowed to advertise themselves on the HROARR site.
You are all also welcome to join in supporting the site and in taking active part in making it better and more valuable to the community by suggesting improvements and new tools and projects.
The site was created and launched in 2009 by Roger Norling, a Swedish HEMA practitioner and GFFG quarterstaff instructor.
Most of the manuals have been collected by other hard-working researchers and shared through various venues. The HROARR site deserves no credit for that hard work and wishes to acknowledge those largely anonymous researchers. We are deeply indebted to you.
Since its birth the site has continued to grow and it is now a free online HEMA magazine with contributions from the whole community.
It is also a neutral meeting ground where we can all connect, share and learn from each other using the tools provided by the site, regardless of what club or organization we belong to. More and more researchers and instructors are joining in, sharing their thoughts and ideas by publishing them through HROARR.
Currently, the site is undergoing some considerable changes, expanding to include all aspects of HEMA, martial art, sport, education, training and more, working to add sections on community news, events, study & learning, teaching, managing clubs and much, much more.
We would very much appreciate any suggestions for improvements, lacking content or material you think would interest the community. Together, we can make our community stronger, bigger and even more knowledgeable and skilled in what we do.
What about the weird name?
HROARR is indeed a strange name, but although many assume it is an acronym, it actually isn't. But before I explain the name I will have to talk a bit about the background.
When deciding on a name for the site, I was primarily trying to think of a simple and short web address that would match the name, preferably only 5-6 letters and reasonably easy to remember. Domains in English language with few letters are next to impossible to find, as are even longer single-word domains. Consequently, you either have to invent something, or find something very unusual, maybe even in a foreign or ancient language.
Now to be honest, the name is really not something I put very much thought into, as I at the time had no idea what the site would grow into. Back then it was a personal web page with a few links to treatises and back yeard fencing gear. No articles whatsoever, and WordPress wasn't even a thing yet.
About that time I was rereading the old Norse story of Beowulf and I came to think of King Hróarr, and checking it, the domain was indeed available as a .com address. The fact that it also sounded like "roar", like a war cry, further convinced me, and having lost domains by waiting too long before, thinking for a whopping half a second about it, I bought it.
Yes, my own name, Roger, is derived from old English Hrothgar and Norse Hróarr, but even if it has jokingly been suggested that that is the real reason why I chose it, it really isn't. This had however, made me aware that Hróðgar means famous spear (or Hroárr derived from Hrōþiwarjaz or Hrōþiharjaz, famous warrior/defender), which I thought fitting for the site. And today, even more so, given that the site focuses on open sharing of knowledge, and given that the Norse god of wisdom, Odin, is very closely associated with the spear, having thrown his spear over the enemy in the first war in the World, at the battle between the Asir and the Vanir, an act said to have been ritualized by the norsemen to initialize a battle with, while shouting "Óðinn á yðr alla!” (“Odin owns all of you!”):
Odin shot a spear, hurled it over the host;
that was still the first war in the world,
the defense wall was broken of the Æsir's stronghold;
the Vanir, indomitable, were trampling the plain.
...and also, of course, through his spear Gungnir (the Swinging One), and from sacrificing himself in order to learn the runes, hanging himself from from the World Tree, Yggdrasil, and stabbing himself on his Gungnir. Wisdom is, after all, what we all seek here.
So, that's the story behind the name.
To the fantastic patrons of HROARR! Without you this would be nothing more than a dream. Thank you to the Historical European Martial Arts Coalition, the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance and the Meyer Frei Fechter Guild for your support and not least, all of you great people and clubs that help out and share with the rest of us!
Responsible publisher and Chief Editor
Gothenburg Free Fencer's Guild and Meyer Frei Fechter Guild