So, HEMA May Be Better For You Than I Thought

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I’m into Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and have been kind of focused on that lately. I’m still training, mind you, but HEMA is eating away at a lot of my time.

And, I’m OK with that.

However, in delving into the HEMA materials through Schola Saint George, I’m finding one interesting thing. This may have more implications on health, and other things, than I originally thought.

Right now, it’s the early stages. I’m just learning the basics. That’s where you start, of course, and for a damn good reason.

Being a beginner, I start to see just how much someone can get out of this, and it’s more than I thought looking into it from the outside.

Let’s start with the stance. I’m not going to delve into the details because I barely understand it myself and so I won’t presume to try and teach it. What we in Schola do is keep our weight on the balls of our feet.

Now, this isn’t unique to HEMA. Keeping weight on the balls of your feet is fairly common in not just martial arts, but combat sports in general. It’s a way to prime your body for quick movement, taking a slow initial movement out of the equation.

The thing is, I never really thought about how that particular stance puts a strain on your calf muscles. I’d go so far as to say that doing so could well replace the need for calf raises entirely for many people.

If you do farmer’s walks instead, well…you’re probably going to want to keep doing that.

It’s not just the calf work, though.

While mostly screwing around with the limited information I had and a practice sword (reviews on some coming soon), I’d sit down at the end of the evening and feel slight soreness around my shoulder blades. Something got worked, and something not being worked through a lot of my other training.

I hit the upper body fairly completely (or so I thought). That means it looks like something is working that’s not used to it from normal exercise. That’s a good thing. A very good thing.

Any time you can find a way to hit muscles you’re normally missing, especially by doing something not completely ridiculous, you should. I’m not talking about standing on a ball while doing overhead presses or anything like that. Those are circus tricks, not training.

I’m talking about training.

HEMA does just that, thankfully.

What else will I find? Damned if I know. I’m just scratching the surface. However, what I’m seeing is, at least within Schola Saint George, is a rich texture that goes beyond swinging a sword. I found things like scholarship and athletics, all bound together.

I spent yesterday taking a pile of notes, all so I could do a few unarmed combat guards, mostly little more than stances really. But I studied like I did back in school.

The difference? This time, it was on my terms and so I enjoyed it far more. Everyone should find things like that, let me tell you. Your life needs passion, and if it’s something that can help you in life, so much for the better.

For me, just a surface level exposure has me seeing more and more potential uses for HEMA besides just fun. I’m eager to see what else this wonderful adventure has in store for me.

What I know is that this is a golden opportunity for me, and one I think you should at least consider. Seriously.

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 “So, HEMA May Be Better For You Than I Thought”

  1. Your mind also needs training. Dementia seems to happen to those who become intellectually indolent. HEMA (or any other martial art) is going to require practitioners to think in new ways, which seems to mitigate age related mental degradation. See also: learning languages, practicing music, writing, etc.

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