Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) are martial arts that were practiced in Europe that have been lost or that have evolved into other practices. These arts include sword fighting (and other weapons forms), grappling, and wrestling.
HEMA organizations are like karate clubs in that members join together under a teacher to learn lost martial arts through historical texts, practice, and physical effort. This sort of living history keeps old martial art styles alive in a way that text cannot. Many HEMA teachers and instructors use historical text (source material) to teach new techniques, but they emphasize that immediately trying to practice a technique after reading about it is very difficult. This demonstrates the importance of practice and the necessity of the sport. Practitioners are eager to practice their art against non-cooperative combatants, which makes competitions athletic and competitive.
HEMA organizations are growing in popularity, and teachers are quick to emphasize that they do everything to ensure that their students will be safe--modern equipment with modern technology is used.
Learn more in this HEMA documentary:
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