Author: Alen Lovric

Longswords and their data

For the past year or so, I have been gathering data on longswords. These come from a wide range of different source, from the dark nooks of the foreboding internet to dusty tomes found in libraries. The quest has yielded around 60 longswords dated from the 13th to the 16th century. Of course, these swords were chosen according to certain criteria. These criteria are as follows: a)    they have at least the weight, length and total length listed b)    they are not so corroded as to change their handling properties majorly c)    they do not seem to have been...

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A theory-based approach to teaching HEMA

HEMA, it can be said, is only in its second generation by now, though some claim to be in the fourth already. This makes us a very young Art, and even younger than other modern martial arts, since we have no precedent on which to base our knowledge. Judo, BJJ, regular ju jitsu, boxing etc. all have precedents. Ironically, the precedent of sports fencing is also HEMA, though it has become so specialized it is of limited use to HEMA as is. This means we have no traditional or theoretical backing on which to base our trainings except for the often vague manuscripts, our interpretation of which may or may not be correct. While this is a handicap to some extent, at least for current practitioners, it also allows us to build up on everything that sports science has achieved so far; and it has achieved a lot. Theories on motor learning and strength training can help us achieve mastery of HEMA much faster and more efficiently. What follows is a simple proposition that might make teaching more efficient and lessen the burden of instructors. There is only one way in which we may test the correctness of our interpretations, and that is their efficiency in non-controlled instances performed by expert swordsmen. Below are the results of my research gained from academic articles on the field of motor learning,...

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Skill training vs. strength training

This is a debate that has been heard by all of us one time or another, I believe: Should strength training be incorporated into HEMA, and how much of it should there be? The extreme usually goes towards having a minimum of strength training, focusing on form and technique instead. Well, I believe it's time we take a bit more theoretical approach to the issue. Thus, I've conducted a short research, and here are the results: Learning strikes, techniques, footwork and the like is achieved through the phenomenon of motor muscle memory, the basic premise of which is this: the more you repeat a certain action, the better you get at it. A premise accepted widely enough. However, even this seems to have two stages: one happening mainly in the brain, called memory encoding; this term is also generally used for non-physical encoding. This means the brain is actively connecting the actions needed to make the strike or technique, it is effectively re-mapping our neural pathways so that we are able to perform the action we wish to most effectively. Of course, this is also strengthening over time, as our understanding of strikes and techniques grows better through repetition. This part can be done rather slowly, and should be done so with beginners, so that they do not encode any big mistakes. Once the basic movement has been mastered,...

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What is HEMA?

If you would like to learn more about HEMA, then please read about Historical European Martial Arts on Wikipedia.

Global HEMA Census

In an attempt to build a stronger case for the HEMA community when speaking to manufacturers of protective gear and sparring swords, media, and other Martial Arts disciplines, I have initiated a survey to calculate the numbers of Hema practitioners all over the world.

The current results can be found here: The Great Big Global Hema Census

If your club has no numbers attached to it, or if your club isn't even listed, then please don't hesitate to contact me.