Historical martial arts

HEMA - Historical European Martial Arts




HEMA stands for Historical European Martial Arts, a name that is used refer to a variety of historical European fighting and fencing techniques.
 
The disciplines that are taught at the Langenort academy are based on several manuscripts, which were written between the 12th and the 17th century. Most of the fencing masters that we will discuss lived during the Late Middle Ages, in the 14th and 15th century.
 
The High and Late Middle Ages saw the development of various fighting and fencing disciplines, each with different goals: you had to be able to defend yourself in judicial duels, but you were also expected to hold your own in a brawl or on the battlefield. The fighting techniques are subdivided into several schools of thought, each of which had its own Grandmaster. These Grandmasters have left us their training philosophies and techniques through the manuscripts that they wrote. These documents have been lost for hundreds of years, but during the past few decennia a lot of the original fechtbucher (manuscripts about fighting and fencing) have resurfaced. These fechtbucher include both textual explanations and illustrations to show how the theory should be practiced.
 
Langenort’s training is mostly based on the German style, but incorporates some Italian influences as well. We study and interpret the manuscripts of the German and Italian Grandmasters in order to be able to teach their techniques to others.
 
Most people have a completely warped view of the historical martial arts, thanks to the image that Hollywood created of sluggish knights clumsily wielding larger than life swords. This could not be further from the truth. The defining characteristic of HEMA is in fact its great diversity of techniques and tactics. Some are based on strength, but there are just as many that are based on being nimble and light-footed. In this respect, the historical martial arts measure up to every other form of martial arts.    
 
The biggest difference between HEMA and other combative sports is that the former has a very broad scope: it has not yet been subdivided in several disciplines each represented by separate schools. Originally, you would have had to master all the different aspects of the fencing and fighting arts. These aspects can be divided in three main disciplines: armoured fighting, blossfechten (unarmoured combat) and mounted combat.
 
The Langenort Foundation practices each of these three main disciplines, but our HEMA academy focuses on blossfechten. This discipline encompasses various styles and techniques. Among those taught at our academy are medieval wrestling and fighting with daggers, long swords, langes messer and sword-and-buckler.