I’ve spent a fair bit of time talking about being a Barbarian. That, in a lot of people’s minds, has a fairly distinct definition. While I’ve tried to define it my own way, it’s still based on what the term means in most people’s minds.
But then I join a HEMA group that espouses chivalric values. It’s made me take a step back and think about what each of those terms means, at least to me, and decide if they’re in conflict and how I’d deal with it they were.
Real-world fighting isn’t a lot of fun. It’s nasty, brutal, and the anything-goes nature of a fight means people can get hurt. Badly.
Yet, let’s be honest for a second. Learning to fight can be a blast. Especially if you’re a history buff and are learning a historical method of fighting.
However, the question I’ve asked and seen asked more than almost any other is whether or not any of this is practical for the real world.
I took a look at that question myself a while back, as an outsider to the world of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and offered my take. Over a brief time, I’ve started modifying some of my thinking a bit, but I’m fairly well settled on the validity of pugilism as a valid style of fighting for both HEMA uses and application on the streets.
When you talk about physical training for HEMA, I can see some people start to roll their eyes. After all, HEMA isn’t real life, right? I mean, it’s not like people are going to jump you with longswords and rondel daggers any time soon.
But HEMA has its roots in manuals of sword fighting that was used by the aristocracy, the knightly class and above. While longsword and spear may not be applicable today, the physical training of the knights of long ago, the typical HEMA practitioner, and the modern Barbarian aren’t all that different.
After all, it’s all about being ready for a combat sport.
As I’ve noted before, I don’t think the swordplay aspects of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) has much real-world applicability. But it’s also cool as hell.
With that in mind, I see myself using it as a pretty important part of my training going forward.
While looking into groups, I found that my closest group–a couple within reasonable driving range for the occasional class–does things a little different than most. They place an emphasis on the historical nature of things, including fighting in armor.
That led me to ask, “Do I want to fool with armored fighting?”
When people familiar with Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), their first thoughts tend to be using a sword. It’s certainly mine. However, as I noted earlier this week, HEMA in real life can totally work for self-defense.
Unfortunately, it’s not just so easy as hitting up the internet, watching some YouTube videos on HEMA, and getting rolling.
No, you need to know where to start. As such, here are my thoughts on viable places to begin HEMA training if you’re interested in real-world applications.
Recently, a friend suggested I start talking a little bit about HEMA. It’s really to be expected, what with the whole Barbarian thing going on here.
My initial reaction was to reject it. After all, while I use the imagery of a barbarian here, I want to focus on real-world applicable activities. But I decided to delve a little deeper and see if there were any applications we could use in our modern world.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term “HEMA,” it stands for Historical European Martial Arts. Generally, it’s thought of as a whole set of historical sword fighting methods, though it also incorporates unarmed techniques like pugilism and wrestling.