Talk:Historical European martial arts

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December 5. 2005 - Changed the time periods to centuries to remove any questions about the timing of the Renaissance.

Wait a second, the Italian Renaissance started around 1400. And yet Fiore is listed as as a medieval fight master.

That's a difficulty, isn't it? Defining time periods and the significance of such (often arbitrary) labels is a problem in history. Clearly, there was not an abrupt change in life in Italy overnight in 1400. What we can quantify is whether Fiore exhibited characteristics more Medieval or more Renaissance.


Another Late-Renaissance or Early-Modern fencing instructor would be Joseph Swetnam, who published Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence in 1617. Swetnam was an advocate of the long rapier, and makes a few derogatory remarks about George Silver in his book.

Some call Silver "The Last Medieval Swordsman" with good reason. The mechanics of Silver's system are much closer to I.33 or Fiore than to Swetnam, despite the shared English heritage and proximity in time.

stub template[edit]

I created {{hema-stub}} to be added to stubby articles. dab () 11:54, 18 January 2006 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the debate was move. —Nightstallion (?) 07:35, 6 February 2006 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

Voting[edit]

Add *Support or *Oppose followed by an optional one-sentence explanation, then sign your vote with ~~~~
  • Support - if that's the way it's done, then go for it. Megalophias
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

Some issues[edit]

This article desperately needs some TLC. Bits and pieces from older versions are floating around. The later centuries are skimped on, and there is nothing at all after 1700. I've removed some dubious bits:

-Only two 15th century English treatises are known, they are rather obscure and *probably also dependent on the German school*.-

What is the source for this assertion (which is AFAIK completely unfounded?) No one even knows what most of the terms mean, and none of them are German.

-Jakob Sutor... The long sword having been completely replaced by the rapier and the sabre. -

This is wrong, makes no sense in context, and isn't even a sentence.

-After Fiore, his successors in the southern Holy Roman Empire formed what some consider a semi-independent school of swordsmanship from that of the north-

This is really unclear. What is meant by semi-independent? Megalophias

Of the Middle Ages and Renaissance? Where does this come from? 17th-19th c arts certainly apply; even some 20th c stuff has been considered HEMA. Megalophias

SCA[edit]

I disagree with the emphasis placed on the SCA in the history of HEMA. I think that it could be argued that the recreation of HEMA started with Alfred Hutton, and more recently from scholars like Sidney Anglo and martial artists like John Clements. What are other's views on this? Sethwoodworth 21:00, 5 February 2006 (UTC)

- The SCA started doing this kind of thing about 30 years before ARMA was founded. I agree that the research they did was spotty, but I think the text of the article reflects that. Their role in providing a large body of practitioners has had an influence on the study of period fighting arts and many of the HEMA field's leading researchers and teachers came from this organization: Bob Charron, William Wilson, and Brian Price are just a few. I don't think John Clements would be a good representation of the current trend in HEMA. ARMA is a largely insular organization and you only need to read the John's books to discover that he has an axe to grind.

I disagree. I'm not a particular fan of ARMA but I still believe that they had a larger affect on HEMA than the SCA. The only thing that the SCA started for historical medieval manuscript research is perhaps a subsection of the population that is prone to medievalism. Maybe someone else started reading manuscripts before JC and interpreting them (somewhat) correctly. I don't know who. I agree that JC isn't a representation of current trends in HEMA, but neither is the SCA. Since 90% of the research and HEMA practice isn't legal in the SCA and the three names you mentioned have their own salle's and indipendent groups I would disupute that Charron, Wilson and Price are *in* the SCA, but do not practice or interpret HEMA through it primarily. It's more a question of emphasis than anything else, not an attempt to completely rewrite. Sethwoodworth 17:43, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

I have asked for verification on the statement that the SCA is a "a historical re-enactment organization." The SCA makes no such statement and it also does not fit the definition of a "a historical re-enactment organization".Midiman Alex (talk) 06:49, 10 March 2008 (UTC) The article on Historical re-enactment on Wikipedia also does not consider the SCA a historical re-enactment group. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_reenactment> The issue is mainly one of authenticity and consistency of time periods in study.Midiman Alex (talk) 07:01, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

External links[edit]

I cleaned out a lot of cruft from the external links section. Martial arts pages are especially vulnerable to linkspam: I removed all links to individual clubs and forums, and left only two links that seem to actually be informational: one is a history, the other is the journal of western martial arts, which publishes articles about MA. I will continue to monitor this page and remove these crufty links, but if people disagree that this should be done, we should have a discussion here. Mangojuice 14:36, 30 March 2006 (UTC)

Fencing[edit]

This is a pretty neat article over all. I've added some information about this to the discussion at Talk:Rapier, but shouldn't there be more mention of fencing manuals and teachers here? This rather large area of European fighting arts seems largely skipped over. --- Markspace 04:36, 20 May 2006 (UTC)

Western Martial Arts[edit]

I disagree with the opening statement that HEMA refers to the modern reconstruction. The fact that the term has the word "Historical" in it obviates this. I suggest that that line be modified to point to the Western Martial Arts article since WMA is the modern outgrowth of HEMA, and that the "Modern Reconstruction" and "What is available today" sections be moved into the WMA article, and those two sections be directed to the WMA article.

That's not what the opening statement says. But in practice when you are discussing a HEMA in any but the most general terms, you have to talk about the reconstruction, because the arts themselves are gone. I disagree about WMA. Though WMA is often used to refer to reconstructed HEMA, it is also often used in the much wider sense of all martial arts of western origin, including modern arts, and arts from the Americas as well as from Europe. Megalophias 06:19, 15 October 2006 (UTC)

Please reread the opening statement for it clearly ends with: "The term most often refers to reconstructed forms of these arts."

I wrote it, actually, so I know what it says :). You are correct that it could be explained better.

It is my contention that that statement is outdated and today, WMA is the term that is most often used to refer to the reconstruction of the historical European/Western martial arts. Europe is part of the western world, thus Western Martial Arts is the common usage.

WMA is frequently used as a synonym for HEMA. We should add that. Why do you say that HEMA is outdated? It is used frequently. There is much more to the western world than Europe.

I would refute your contentions by citing the Western Martial Arts Workshops, which do not include any of the vaguely eluded to "...arts from the Americas.." that you cite,as well as the refernce materials listed on The Chivalry Bookshelf (http://www.chivalrybookshelf.com/), and other well respected sites such as The Chicago Swordplay Guild's homepage (http://chicagoswordplayguild.com/), and the ARMA site even uses the term: "...the HACA was thus reinvented as a club for historical Western martial arts research and practice.", as well as on the AEMMA site, http://www.aemma.org/aboutAEMMA_top.htm "...a common goal of establishing a viable European/Western martial arts."

See the links below.

Your claim that "...in practice when you are discussing a HEMA in any but the most general terms, you have to talk about the reconstruction, because the arts themselves are gone." is falacy as much as saying that one can not discuss anything in history without having to talk about a reconstruction of history. When discusssing the American Civil War, must one discuss the the reenactors who recontruct it simply because the Civil War is no longer active?

I think we are talking past each other here. :) I would say history is all about reconstruction - when you study the Civil War, trying to figure out who did what to when why, you are essentially reconstructing it (not the same as reenacting, though obviously reenactors tend to reconstruct as well). Now granted you can (and should) study in an academic sense without reconstruction - you can say "In 1599 George Silver claimed that Italian rapier fencing was crap" - but if you want to know *how* George Silver would fight an Italian with a rapier, you have to reconstruct his method.

If you could cite where WMA is "...often used in the much wider sense..." then I would recommend that the WMA article be expanded to include such, but I can find no such usage.

It's quite common. Though historical reconstruction tends to predominate in discussion of western martial arts, modern arts are certainly included.

http://www.ejmas.com/jwma/jwmaframe.htm http://www.geocities.com/athens/acropolis/4933/westernarts.html http://sports.groups.yahoo.com/group/western-arts/ http://www.fightingarts.com/reading/article.php?id=228 http://stickgrappler.tripod.com/wma/wma.html Megalophias 02:10, 18 October 2006 (UTC)

I concede that the term HEMA is not "outdated", but rather is increasingly less often used to refer to the modern reconstructions, whereas WMA is used primarily in reference to the reconstructed arts. As for there being much more to the western world than Europe, that is a matter of debate ;-) I would also like to draw attention to the stub of an article Historical martial arts reconstruction which contains some very good information, but lacks the substance to stand as an article on it's own, and would ask that folks reading this check it out and discuss the merger suggestion. As for WMA referring to such things as boxing or wrestling and such, I would say that those are more sports than martial arts, but I do concede that the WMA article should have a section on any true martial art that has it's roots outside of Asia, however I am not well versed enough in any of them to do so, and heartily invite those that are, to discuss such additions on the WMA talk page.
I think this is just a matter of disambiguation. WMA is used synonymously with HEMA, so obviously there shouldn't be two separate articles, but HEMA is more unambiguous, thus WMA should be a disambiguation page. dab (𒁳) 15:06, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Notability concerns[edit]

listing HEMA groups and societies, naturally the notability question arises. I'd say that any school founded prior to 1998 or so qualifies as notable for historical reasons, but the flurry of 2000s establishments makes clear that a school needs to meet some notability to be included. I do think all groups listed at present are arguably notable enough to be listed, but we'll have to be careful with future additions. dab (𒁳) 15:06, 14 March 2007 (UTC)

Oh good lord, here we ago again. That is, since this post, there's been another mad scramble for every group with a website to add themselves to the schools section. Shouldn't the schools be a separate page? User:Marozzo

I began the list as a part of tracing the history of the discipline. Any group active for more than 10 years should meet sufficient notability for inclusion. But for groups that were founded after 2000 or so, I agree that some sort of notability will have to be established. Wikipedia is not a linkfarm. The Gothenborg group organises a major annual event [1], and in may book may be listed, but germanlongsword.com or swarta.be as far as I am aware have no claim to fame. Obviously, it is difficult to draw a line. WP:ORG applies. That is, an editor arguing for the inclusion of a group should be expected to show that the group has been the subject of review or discussion at an unaffiliated WMA source. dab (𒁳) 18:25, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

the removal of the list was not discussed. I have restored it. I agree we need to be strict in terms of notability. We would need to require that a school has been going strong for at least five years, and can be shown to be mentioned by independent sources. dab (𒁳) 14:09, 30 January 2008 (UTC)


ok, here's a suggestion: as a first rule of thumb, any school started before 2000 and still in existence is fair game. Any school established after 2000 will need additional evidence of notability (third party references). 12:07, 2 February 2008 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dbachmann (talkcontribs)


there's this map, maintained by a single group arsgladii.at, so that strictly speaking, the groups listed there are attested by an independent third party (but the source is far from notable, merely being listed there isn't proof of notability, it is just a better reference than a website operated by the respective groups themselves). dab (𒁳) 15:04, 8 February 2008 (UTC)


Hello all, any objection to adding the Academy of Arms to the list of schools in this article? They have been featured in the LA Times and the LA Daily News, as well as several other news and information sites. They are listed in Western Martial Arts Illustrated magazine, and are an official California non-profit organization with an indoor facility. They train four times a week and have 35 students. Also, some of the biggest names in US WMA, such as Christian Tobler and Greg Mele know the founder of this school and can vouch for him. Maybe all this is overkill, but I just want to be respectful of the notability requirement. Thank you. Lazfin (talk) 23:58, 17 April 2008 (UTC)

Don't worry, this has pretty much become an open bulletin board for whomever knows how to edit a Wiki page.Marozzo (talk) 14:58, 18 April 2008 (UTC)

I removed the link to The Diamond Rose Academie D'Armes. It is completely clear that this just another renn-fair re-enactment group started well after 2000 with no real notability within the HEMA field. As they say on their main web page, their interest is primarily on "clothing, acting, faire speech, names and on garb, persona creation and etiquette" rather than on actual martial arts.Ranp (talk) 19:26, 29 April 2008 (UTC)

I removed the complete link farm since it had become completely silly. Anyone who could put up a web page and play knight had added a link. All organizations, groups, and individuals were treated fairly.Ranp (talk) 21:36, 5 March 2009 (UTC)


RanP, your decision to arbitrarily remove references to assorted HEMA groups around the world would seem less biased if all references to ARMA had also been purged from this article. There is a clear suggestion of bias here, as you are an ARMA member and you have edited this article to remove references to diverse, unaligned HEMA groups and replaced them with a significant section of text that can be construed as promoting your organisation, the ARMA. Logic suggests there are only two fair ways for this article to proceed in order to avoid this bias and conflict of interest. 1) All reference to ALL modern HEMA re-constructionist groups should be removed and not re-instated; or 2) Links to ALL modern HEMA groups, that meet whatever notability criteria can be agreed upon, should be allowed in an appropriate format. Until then, I propose the entire “Reconstruction” section be removed. (HEMA Gaukler (talk) 03:55, 6 March 2009 (UTC))

If you have looked closer you might have noticed that I removed all of the link farm, including the ARMA link. I left the actual text talking about the role of John Clements and ARMA because they have play an extremely significant role in the reconstruction of our lost arts.Ranp (talk) 02:18, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

Reconstruction[edit]

As I suggested and foreshadowed in the Notability section here, I have pursued option 1) above and cleaned up the "Reconstruction" portion of the HEMA article to: a) incorporate a good deal more specific, factual data and details about early research and researchers in the revival of HEMA (which is very heavily indebted to and reliant on the work of researchers such as Wassmannsdorf, Hergsell, Novati, Matthey, Jackson, Wierschin and Hils), and: b) remove references to specific modern schools of HEMA.

I think reference to multi-group, pan-country/region organizations and events is fine and meets sensible notions of non-partisanship and notability and to that end, I have included a reference to the Australian Federation which has been active (2003) almost as long as HEMAC, and the Australian Conventions which have been running since 1999, placing them alongside WMAW in terms of seniority.

I would ask that before anyone edits this version, they please foreshadow the proposed edits here on the talk page and refrain from incorporating references to a) specific, contemporary HEMA schools/groups or b) specific, contemporary personalities in HEMA or c) specific, contemporary approaches to HEMA (i.e. interpretive philosophies or assumptions). This article is about the *historical* systems and should remain that way. There is already a wiki page on modern Historical martial arts reconstruction (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Historical_martial_arts_reconstruction) which covers contemporary, reconstructionism. (HEMA Gaukler (talk) 04:58, 8 March 2009 (UTC)).


External links[edit]

There is still a link farm under the External Links. I await comments from others before I start of clear them out.Ranp (talk) 22:44, 17 March 2009 (UTC)

The three links I am considering moving are:
  • The British Federation for Historical Swordplay. British coalition of clubs and researchers.
  • The Association for Historic FencingUnited States Educational Non-Profit
  • map of schools and groups in Western Europe (google maps, maintained by arsgladii.at)
The map of schools is the primary one that needs to be removed because it is clearly just a link farm. Having removed the link farm there is just no justification for leaving the map. The other two are no better.Ranp (talk) 19:29, 18 March 2009 (UTC)

- I tried adding the site Hroarr.com to the external links list since it only contains resources for the HEMA community and is run on a non-profit basis. Unfortunately it seems to have been regarded as unfitting, but I suggest you take a look at it and evaluate it again. Roger N (talk) 20:16, 9 Nov 2010 (UTC)

Too many External links - we should trim down to less than 5 preferably 2 or 3. I did some brutal trimming and expect some to be replaced.Peter Rehse (talk) 04:16, 27 April 2012 (UTC)

Flaw in the timeline[edit]

I have a bit of a problem with the section "Development of modern sports (1789 to 1914)". There still existed martial arts then, but the title ignores this, and it is hardly mentioned at all. Admittedly there was a trend towards more "combat" sport, and less martial art, but still. There is one mention of this:

In the course of the long 19th century, Western martial arts become divided into modern sports on one hand and applications that retain military significance on the other. In the latter category are the methods of close-quarter combat with the bayonet besides use of the sabre and the lance by cavalrists.

This is the only, brief, mention. Why isn't there more written on the arts, that had significance outside of sport?--213.113.53.13 (talk) 15:59, 28 March 2010 (UTC)

Why isn't there more written? Because nobody had the necessary information so far. If you have quotable references on this, you are welcome to indicate them here and I will be happy to try and incorporate them. --dab (𒁳) 13:49, 3 April 2012 (UTC)

Major HEMA events[edit]

What about adding some information on recent major European HEMA events: Dijon HEMAC Gathering (France), Dreynevent (Austria), FightCamp (UK), SWASH (UK), Swordfish (Sweden)? Ulrich von Lichtenstein (talk) 18:29, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Large HEMA databases[edit]

It seems to me that in addition to Wiktenauer it might be appropriate to mention several other HEMA-related databases: Schola Gladiatoria's database, Hroarr's, Hungarian one at middleages.hu site etc. Ulrich von Lichtenstein (talk) 11:51, 14 January 2013 (UTC)

Use/mention error in article introduction[edit]

This article is not about Historical European martial arts, but is about historical European martial arts. The former does indeed "refer" to something, the latter do not.

This is not Wiktionary. --95.34.149.128 (talk) 00:44, 17 February 2013 (UTC)

After rereading this remark at least twice it seems that the anonymous editor is right. Some examples:
  • "Korean martial arts are military practices and methods which have their place in the history of Korea but have been adapted for use by both military and non-military personal as a method of personal growth or recreation";
  • "Chinese martial arts, popularly referred to as kung fu or gung fu, and also by the Mandarin Chinese term wushu, are a number of fighting styles that have developed over the centuries in China";
  • "Japanese martial arts is the enormous variety of martial arts native to Japan". -- Ulrich von Lichtenstein (talk) 07:22, 19 February 2013 (UTC)

Acta Periodica Duellatorum[edit]

This brand new HEMA publication, led by Dr. Mátyás Miskolczi aims to provide researchers willing to share their work with a publication platform.
Publication Board : Brown, Scott (USA); Jaquet, Daniel (CH); Majár, János PhD (H); Miskolczi, Mátyás PhD (H); Waldmann, Szabolcs (H); Winter, Harald (A).

The first publication will be printed at the beginning of May, and it will be available during the XIIth International HEMA Gathering in Dijon (France).
You can read the abstracts of the articles here: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/18927715/APD2013.pdf
Source: http://hemac-dijon.com/en/?page_id=356
-- Ulrich von Lichtenstein (talk) 16:02, 2 May 2013 (UTC)

Missing "kicking and boxing" styles[edit]

I don't see mentions of

  • english bare kncukles boxing - fist fighting martial art, ancestor of modern sport known as boxing
  • French savate - martial art from France that originated as kicking martial art, and then mixed with fist techniques around XIX century

And many other surviving/extinct ways of fighting using fists and/or kicks. 195.150.224.69 (talk) 17:30, 6 May 2015 (UTC)

Who gets to be listed?[edit]

For example, under «publications», who gets to be listed? I see there Rob Runacres, Reinier Van Noort or Guy Windsor, each (deservedly) among the most significant figures in the fields they study. However, I don't see Jens P. Kleinau, who is probably the most significant messer (and Kunst des Fechtens, generally) researcher out there, or Roland Warzecha, undisputedly the most well-know i.33 reference, or Ton Puey (disclaimer: he is a friend of mine) who is a world-level Verdadeira Destreza expert summoned to teach at international events several times each year... just to name a few. Mind you: I am not questioning Runacres', Noort's or Windsor's right to be listed. I am asking what the criteria is to add new people to that list? Gatonegro (talk) 14:20, 23 June 2015 (UTC)

Listing HEMA traditions by their proper names[edit]

The «See Also» section lists «Spanish School of Swordmanship», «Italian School of Swordmanship» and «German School of Swordmanship». However, these terms recall the present nation-states of the same names (the three of them, incidentally, born in the XIX century), and not the areas where the respective martial arts were practiced and/or born (that is: the Iberian Peninsula, the Italic Peninsula and/or the Holy Roman Empire). Specifically: Fiore's homeland was part of the HRE until ~1450; many of the integrants of the «Society of Liechtenauer» who promoted the Kunst des Fechtens were from present-day Poland, Croatia or Slovenia (by then too part, or associated to, the HRE), whereas on the other hand under «German» swordmanship often are included styles such as the Nuremberg group which seem to be quite restricted to a small geographic area. Finally, Verdadeira Destreza (and Destreza Comum too) was practiced in the whole Iberian Peninsula, not just present-day Spain (it actually developed independently in several aspects whenever Portugal was not under the same rule as the other kingdoms of the peninsula). I suggest we either change the names to the disciplines they refer to («Verdadeira Destreza», etc) or to more neutral geographic areas («Swords of Swordmanship of the Iberian Peninsula», «Swordmanship schools of the Holy Roman Empire» or «Kunst des Fechtens» or «Verdadeira Destreza», etc). Gatonegro (talk) 14:57, 23 June 2015 (UTC)