Western Martial Arts Intrigue: Getting Started In Historical European Martial Arts




Hello everyone!


It’s been some time since I have posted and I do apologize for that! Today I am discussing Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). I have been interested in martial arts of all kinds for some time now, but as I have previously discussed, the katana and its arts have somewhat lost their weight in my mind as I have become more interested in the longsword and hand-and-a-half sabers. I am going to begin the endeavor to learn Longsword techniques soon! The best part? I’m not doing it alone!  One of my best friends will be joining me! I recently discovered several videos, especially ones by a YouTube user by the name of Skallagrim, where I learned of the Rawlings synthetic sparring swords! They come in single handed sword, longsword, and messer shaped blades with different handguard and pommel options. There is even an extended pommel which can make the arming sword into a “bastard sword,” the longsword into a greatsword, and the messer into a hand-and-a-half configuration. There is even a basket-hilt option, and the best part? All of these pieces are interchangeable, except for the longsword handle has to go on the longsword.


My friend and I both found ourselves admiring the messer with extended pommel and so these are the ones we are getting to train with.

langes messer waster


My friend is so generous, in fact, that he has told me he will purchase both training swords to ensure that we will be able to train together! 

This is only the beginning, however, as we will still need safety gear. This includes head protection, throat protection, padded gloves, and other padding. For now, caution will be our protection, but there will still be plenty of room for mistakes and injury. We are up for the challenge though!

Many practitioners use fencing masks modified to have side and back-of-head protection, but these are expensive for us right now. We had considered buying full-visored motorcycle helmets for $30 each, but then there is the possibility that the visor could crack. I have chosen to take the option for buying sheet steel of about 14 or 16 ga. and make a full steel helmet of my own with a perforated visor for visibility. I was thinking of a design similar to this:

conical                   OR                    sugarloaf


The only difference is that instead of having eye slits, I would leave the plate solid then perforate sections of it for visibility without sacrificing protection for my eyes. I have read that the steel can really damage the synthetic blades, but I think that maybe I can remedy this by covering any edges and rivets with either rawhide or leather.

Other paddings are not very expensive. I can either buy some pads at a local thrift store or find good bargains online. I will probably want a mouth guard, a throat guard, elbow and knee pads, and a cup. If I decide to have any other padding or armors, I can always make other steel pieces. These will be easy to make after I have made my helmet!

I plan on keeping everyone updated on the progress, so stay tuned! Take care everyone!



2 thoughts on “Western Martial Arts Intrigue: Getting Started In Historical European Martial Arts

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