What is HEMA?

HEMA stands for Historical European Martial Arts and includes both living and recreated martial arts traditions that were born or defined in Europe. The martial arts that died out have been recreated using martial arts manuals that were written in the Middle Ages and onwards and which have been preserved. Some of them can even be downloaded here.

 

 

 

 

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

Post your thoughts

The beauty of posting your texts on HROARR is that we then can have lots of HEMA articles published under various categories, even quite specific ones, where people post their thoughts and research, and all of it is searchable for the whole community.

Welcome to HROARR

Resources for the Historical European Martial Arts and Sports Community

The HROARR site focuses on different aspects of Historical European Martial Arts. It is meant to serve both as a help to active HEMA practitioners and as a source of inspiration for people that are unfamiliar with this form of Martial Arts. At its core the HROARR site is 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.

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Latest posts

Johann Georg Paschen’s Rapier Lessons: Developing a curriculum for teaching rapier fencing

This article will present an analysis of Johann Georg Paschen’s (1628-1678) Kurtze iedoch Deutliche Beschreibung handlend von Fechten auff den Stosz und Hieb (Short though clear description treating of fencing on the thrust and cut) published in 1661 in Sachsen....

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Hi! My name is Roger Norling and I am an instructor and researcher of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), with a particular focus on Renaissance fencing. Many of you already know me as I've been lucky enough to be invited to teach this beautiful art around the...

HROARR Video Challenge

So here is a challenge to you all: Start making series of really good, well-planned instructional videos of the system(s) you study/teach. Preferably the video series should include the following: 1. A brief description of the history and characteristics of the...

Society for Historical European Martial Arts Studies (SHEMAS) - announcement

The Society for Historical European Martial Arts Studies (SHEMAS) is an idea that turned into a project several years ago. It comes from a need that stems from both the academic and independent researchers’ communities involved into HEMA studies: visibility and...

Concerning the Reliability of the Waggle Test

Dynamic parameters define a rigid body’s reaction to external forces. While their importance for a sword’s behaviour is known since the 19th century [1–3], many data sets of original swords, replicas and training weapons include mass and the centre of mass, but lack a...

A tear in our beer for a great master

446 years ago on this day, the 24th of February, 1571, Fencing Master Joachim Meyer died shortly after his arrival at the court of the Duke of Mecklenburg in Schwerin. One year earlier, on this day, he also signed his preface for his famous fencing treatise...

Fighting Successfully - Bridging The Gap Between Technique And Free Play

Did you ever face the situation that you trained a technique over and over, again and again and it just straight out refuses to come out during free play? Then you know the frustration if expectations and results don't match.

Failing time and time again, because you can’t pull of what you should be able to doesn’t feel nice. It can be devastating and lead the most dedicated of us down a path of frustration. It can be a reason why people quit HEMA altogether.

The Dutch Experiment - De Hollandsche Methode, Christiaan Siebenhaar, and fencing in the Netherlands in the 19th Century

In the mid-19th century, not that long after the Belgian war of independence, an experiment was taking place in fencing in the Netherlands. The main proponent of this experiment was Christiaan Siebenhaar (1824-1885), fencing master in the Dutch army.[1] In his own...

From the HEMA Blogosphere

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From the archive

The use of the sword in the Great War: Faded glory or deadly efficiency?

 "Now's your change, Charles - after them with the sword!'  With a thunder of hooves, Hornby led 1st Troop in hot pursuit of the Germans, followed a short while later by 4th Troop.  The Dragoon Guards caught up with the Germans - from the 4th Cuirassier Regiment - in...

Strengthening exercises

Here are some very crude video clips we shot today of the strengthening exercises we have begun working with in the Meÿer Halben Stangen class at Gothenburg Historical Fencing School. Since they are relevant to longsword practice, the article is cross-post into both...

A call to arms!

From at least as far back as the early to mid 1400s, all the way up until about the French Revolution in 1789, longsword fencers have been practicing with fechtschwerter, or what is today commonly called federschwert, a specific sword type with a flared schildt and...

Meyer's masters

On this day, 443 years ago, Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer published his magnificent fencing treatise 'Gründliche Beschreibung der Freyen Ritterlichen und Adeligen Kunst des Fechtens'. Exactly one year later, on February 24th 1571, he died from sudden illness, while...

Giovanni Battista Gaiani (1619) – An Italian Perspective on Competitive Fencing

  The relative benefit and importance of competition in modern HEMA is a frequent subject of debate. Despite differences in context, it is arguable that historical perspectives might usefully inform present discussions. This article reviews some examples of...

Awards for Technical Excellence in HEMA Tournaments

Over the past five years, an increasing number of HEMA tournaments have added a new kind of award, aimed at rewarding fighters who display extraordinary technical fencing skills. The key motivation for this kind of award has been a desire to encourage HEMA competitors...

The WhatChaMaCallit-Schwert

In Sweden we have a saying; "A loved child has many names" and looking at what is today called a federschwert this seems to be true for this type of sword as well, at least if we think of it in general terms as a sword for training. Historically, the simplest choice...

Chivalry East of the Elbe, Part I

Introduction: So what happened to the Second Estate? Most of my own HEMA-related historical research in the last ten years has been focused on the Free Cities and City States which are the origin of so many of the known fencing manuals. But that doesn't mean one ought...

Recent news, articles and reviews

Fighting as a communicative skill

Fighting as a communicative skill

Since the elements described and explained up to now are properly just a beginning and primer from which all combat devices with the sword can be learned, it is necessary that before I derive some devices from them, first I should show in what way this shall take...

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The Recital of the Chivalric Art of Fencing of the Grand Master Johannes Liechtenauer

The Recital of the Chivalric Art of Fencing of the Grand Master Johannes Liechtenauer

Though long delayed, this book represents the most complete picture possible of the Liechtenauer tradition of foot combat as it was recorded in the mid 15th century. It’s the text I wanted for my students when I was leading a study group, and I’m happy to finally offer it in print. I hope it serves in some small way to advance the study of Johannes Liechtenauer’s art.

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Support Fighters Against Racism

Support Fighters Against Racism

Here is a campaign we support 100% and strongly encourage you to consider supporting as well. So, what is Fighters Against Racism? The Fighters Against Racism movement was started by David Rawlings of the London Longsword Academy to promote and provide a positive...

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The point of sparring

The point of sparring

While sounding like a simple thing to define, sparring can have quite a few and very different goals and purposes that are sometimes hard to keep in sight in the heat of the sparring session. With experience this becomes easier to separate as you get accustomed to the...

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All is Not Lost; Or HEMA on the Cheap

All is Not Lost; Or HEMA on the Cheap

My first contact with what I know now as HEMA took place in the spring of 2009. I was attending a military re-enactment event at Jamestown Settlement in Williamsburg, Virginia. One of the re-enactors gave a demonstration on Fiore de Libre’s Armizare. I was intrigued...

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When to hit hard in HEMA

When to hit hard in HEMA

This article describes how full contact martial arts handle sparring intensity like Mixed Martial Arts, Dog Brothers Martial Arts, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Luta Livre, Freestyle wrestling, Kendo and what we can learn from this for HEMA.

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Review: Fällkniven A1, S1 & F1

Review: Fällkniven A1, S1 & F1

Today we will review three knives by a Swedish brand that oddly enough is little known to the common Swede, but which is a proper success story of a company that enjoys great respect for their high quality knives, by professionals and civilians alike, worldwide....

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"The Use of Weapons", René François (1621)

"The Use of Weapons", René François (1621)

The entry on fencing in René François' 1621 encyclopedia is a rich source of terminology and practices common in the fencing salles of this period in which France was developing its own native fencing style as well as trying to rid itself of foreign cultural...

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Meyer Pilgrimage Part 2 – Basel

Meyer Pilgrimage Part 2 – Basel

Almost exactly a year ago I was lucky enough to be taken on a small journey that has been a long time dream of mine; walking in the footsteps of 16th cent fencing master Joachim Meyer, visiting the city where he spent many years teaching as Fechtmeister; Straßburg. I...

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An overview of the Iberian Montante

An overview of the Iberian Montante

This article gathers a series of notes written while studying the sources on the Iberian montante sword of the late XV century and following centuries. The extant sources are listed and analysed. Different approaches to teaching this weapon's handling are described, stressing those who can provide a context for its use.

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The Ringen of Joachim Meyer

The Ringen of Joachim Meyer

This article shall group Joachim Meyer's Ringen into collections of similar throws. Hopefully this will better aid the modern student in learning Meyer's Ringen. All of the throws have been rewritten into a modern step-by-step method from Dr. Forgeng's translation...

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  1. Hutton, A The Sword through the Centuries (1901, Grant Richards, London), Dover Publications Inc, New York, 2002 []