HEMA stands for Historical European Martial Arts; it is the now modern practice of interpreting Medieval and Renaissance fencing/fighting texts and practicing the art of armed combat. There are several masters to pick from, including the Italian Master Fiore di Liberi, Joachim Meyer, Johannes Liechtenauer and many more that I have not listed but are foundational to learning the art.
What weapons are there?
HEMA can be practiced with a variety of weapons! Anything that was available at the time period is fair game, but most HEMA guilds tend to teach longsword, dagger, spear and messer. HEMA can also include more specific weapons, such as poleaxes, pikes, maces and sideswords.
I am personally learning the longsword and am looking forward to learning more spear and dagger work as I continue to grow in the art.
Why did you start doing HEMA?
My background as an Olympic has naturally made me interested in combat, though I first came into contact with HEMA through an aquaintance who later became a close friend. I attended a beginner class in 2021, but the class wasn't originally 'sticky' for me, as the KDF, or German Longsword fencing was just a bit too similar to Olympic fencing and threw me off. However, I rejoined the beginner class, now taught by a new instructor in 2022 and the hobby has stuck!
I've also found that my interest lies specifically in the teachings of Fiore de Liberi. The text is unambiguously martial and teaches the student the art of wrestling as the foundation of fencing.