HEMA For The Real World?

The other day, I wrote about Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and how they can be useful for us today.

At the time, I figured the real-world applications for HEMA was limited to shoulder and wrist mobility. After all, we’re talking about sword fighting. Who the hell uses a sword these days?

But, truth be told, I might have been a little hasty.

Now, don’t just take my word for it. Instead, I’m going to share a video or two on the topic from practitioners of the art.

For example, there’s this one that focuses on grappling for the first 8 minutes or so.

Fiore d’ei Liberi wrote about a fairly complete system of martial arts of the day, which included grappling.

As anyone who even just watches the UFC will know, grappling is an important aspect of fighting. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu revolves around the premise that most fights will end up in grappling and then end up on the ground. It’s not an unusual idea.

Yet here is this guy from the 14th Century with tips on how to brawl effectively. Yes, these techniques mostly revolve around someone with a dagger, but that’s not all it is.

While I haven’t delved deeply into Fiore’s grappling techniques, I can’t say how comprehensive they are. Nor can I say how applicable they might be to our modern world. What I can say, though, is that they’re likely to get you used to unarmed combat.

However, it’s not like those are the only threats we might actually face.

You see, “weapons training” doesn’t just mean swords or spears in HEMA, as noted in the above video.

The dagger was a good portion of Fiore’s text. That has some applications to modern knife fighting. It’s not one-to-one, but here’s a comparison of HEMA techniques compared to modern knife fighting methods.

For me, the big takeaway here is the similarities between the two eras. They’re remarkably similar.

Now, I’m not saying that this would be all you need. Yet it’s also worth noting that some of the modern techniques are dependent on that one particular blade. It’s also not a common weapon by any stretch.

In other words, a lot of those techniques may well work in modern contexts a lot more often than the video indicates.

Or, they might now. I know jack about knife fighting.

The reason, though, is because unlike traditional martial arts schools and firearms training, knife fighting is a semi-rare skill. It’s kind of hard to find a legitimate knife-fighting expert. Instead, you come across a lot of charlatans.

If nothing else, this should give you enough of a foundation to see just who is legit and who is scamming.

More than that, though, it should give you some useful techniques to build upon with your own personal training. You can experiment with training blades of a more modern style and modify as needed.

Is that ideal? Probably not. But, until you can find an actual expert with a knife, it’ll get you a whole lot closer than most anything else.

Basically, while I focused on the sword fighting, I shouldn’t have. I still haven’t discussed a few things that are technically under the umbrella of HEMA that most don’t think about such as boxing and wrestling.

At the end of the day, HEMA should probably be something you should at least consider for your training.

Plus, it’s a little different than what most people are doing. It’s a little geeky, which is a bonus for me, and it doesn’t convey the idea that you’re somehow focused on violence. It provides a fun cover of history while still preparing you for combat.

Yet I also stand here before you, humbled.

Looks like I was wrong when I said HEMA had no applications to the modern world. It most definitely does, and I’ll be delving even deeper into as a way to prepare for these troubled times we find ourselves in. Worst case scenario, I have a lot of fun.


Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

2 thoughts on “HEMA For The Real World?”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *