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What is HEMA?

Historic European Martial Arts, or HEMA, is a unique growing global martial art focusing on European fighting techniques from the 13th century onwards. As a member of this growing community, we work to decipher and revive the lost arts of Europe’s fencing masters. As a modern martial art, we utilize modern equipment. Despite HEMA’s historical context, we do not wear historical re-enactment garments, nor do we seek to treat our art as historical fantasy.

While we at Ironwood are a sparring-centric group, there are so many aspects of HEMA to enjoy, including research, translation, test cutting, tournament competitions, teaching, coaching, judging, and more!

Where did you learn how to fight with swords?

Many of the European fighting traditions died out or evolved into modern sporting forms, such as Sport Fencing, Boxing, and Wrestling. However, the Fencing masters left behind fighting treatises and manuals. We utilize these manuals in their translated form to learn and teach from. As more texts are being found and translated, we have a dynamic martial art that is growing and evolving.