HEMA Alliance

New to HEMA?

All the things you need to know to get started in HEMA

So, you want to play with swords?

Historical European Martial Arts, or HEMA for short, involves the study and practice of historical European fighting techniques. As a community, we are bringing back to life the dead arts of the old european masters.

You will fight with steel, and you will rekindle the traditions.

Why Did The Arts Die?

In eastern martial traditions, there are direct lineages of masters - present day masters learned from a master who learned from a master, etc. In Europe, many martial traditions died or evolved into purely sporting forms - sport fencing, boxing, wrestling.

How Are You Bringing them Back?

Many European masters left behind manuals, sometimes coded in poetry. The HEMA community has been discovering, translating, and interpreting these manuals to reconstruct the old arts.

How do I get started in HEMA?

Getting into HEMA is easier than you think. There are hundreds of clubs/schools across the world, and it grows every day. And there are tons of resources out there on how to learn, train, and even start your own group.


Where Can I Discuss HEMA?

HEMA has many active and vibrant communities online where you can ask questions, learn new techniques, and find out what gear to buy.

Important HEMA Resources

There's a lot to discover, from old manuscripts yet to be researched, to finding a club near you, to just reading HEMA journalism.

  • View our club finder - the easiest way to find like-minded people near you.

  • hroarr.com - One of the highest quality news and commentary sites about HEMA on the inter.

  • Wiktenauer.com - By far the largest collection of scans and translations of ancient manuscripts in the world. It's a treasure trove of both popular fencing manuals, and ones that no one has yet to interpret.

  • HEMAnews.com - a HEMA journalism site that includes news from the community, editorial, and product reviews.

  • measureandweigh.com - recently launched, this site is dedicated to product reviews.

  • hemaguide.com - HEMA Guide collects Historical European Martial Arts resources for practitioners and instructors. Their articles contain the kind of resources that the author would have loved to have when they started out.

Educational Youtube Channels & Sites

There are some fantastic resources on youtube and the web to start learning how to use historical weaponry, as well as channels dedicated to tournament fighting. Learn italian swordmanship from Devon Boorman, or ancient german longsword and wrestling from the folks at Sword Carolina, just to name a few.

  • Sword Carolina - one of the most comprehensive programs out there, Josh and Aaron are some of the best instructors out there.

  • Nova Fechtbuch - an aggregate site that has instructional videos on everything from german longsword to italian rapier.

  • Duello.tv - Run by Devon Boorman, his practical approach to many italian styles can be applied to almost any weapon system you train in.

  • Schola Gladitoria - Hi Guys! Matt Easton's youtube channel is easily one of the biggest in the HEMA Community. He gives fantastic insight into ancient weapons, their practical use, and even deconstructs hollywood fights for everyday folks to understand the legitimacy of the choreography.

  • Dreynschlag - Beautiful videos combined with neatly broken down techniques.

  • Martin Fabian - His "Learn Rapier," series is one of the most popular in all of HEMA. His cheeky, fun tone combined with expert and graceful fighting is valuable to any student of any discipline.

  • Ilkka Hartikainen - Ilkka has dedicated his life to bolognese swordsmanship, and it shows in his artful fighting and instructional videos. His training routines are inspiring.

  • Sword School - Guy Windsor has written tons of books on italian swordsmanship, how to be a good instructor, and even valuable breathing exercises.

Tournament / Sparring Youtube Channels

These youtube channels aren't dedicated solely to tournaments or sparring, but contain a lot of great fencing footage for you to enjoy.

  • Nordic League - the nordic league is the largest HEMA tournament league in the world, and their video productions are fantastic.

  • Longpoint - the biggest tournament in the world has a youtube channel dedicated to footage from its yearly tournament.

  • GHFS - A swedish club run by the legendary Anders Linnard and Axel Pettersson, GHFS's channel has everyone from training, to sparring, to tournament footage.

  • Academy of Historical Fencing - A popular youtube channel from the UK, they have great material on saber, mixed weapons fighting, and product reviews.

  • Sword Pals - youtube channel of the Phoenix Society of Historical Swordsmanship. Educational material, tournament footage, product reviews, and some incredible fencers.

  • Denver Historical Fencing Academy - uploads tournament footage and sparring on a regular basis.

HEMAA Platinum Sponsors

The HEMA Alliance has partnered with these fine vendors to provide discounts to our paid members. 

  • Purpleheart Armoury is the largest HEMA equipment provider in the U.S.

    Visit Purpleheart Armoury
  • Southcoast Swords has everything you need to get started in HEMA, from jackets to synthetic weapons

    Visit South Coast Swords
  • SGT Blades is one of the finest makers of steel training weapons in North America, from longsword feders to sabre trainers.

    Visit SGT Blades on Facebook
  • Sword Carolina Online is the one of the largest online HEMA schools in the world.
    They don't just offer video, but online coaching and instruction.

    Visit Sword Carolina Online