How did HEMA find you?

Anna 2 comments

HEMA is growing, and it’s interesting to see how people find it, and also what inspires them to get started in the first place. We asked some of our members how they discovered Historical European Martial Arts.


Carolina Drangel – Photo: Gunilla Lindberg

Carolina Drangel My dad read The Lord of the Rings to me when I was ten…
Aaand then fifteen years later we (me and my husband) saw that a friend was going to a Facebook event called “Historical Fencing for Newbies” or some such thing. We decided to go. Our friend didn’t go (until several years later). Since then I’ve been hooked.


Leonie Panda Several years after I quit Taekwondo, I felt the itch again, and started looking for a martial arts club in my area. I decided on Systema. After a while I couldn’t make it to the training anymore due to school, so I switched to a different training group in the organisation, which was HEMA. I had so much fun, I never left.


Jildou Zwamborn (^not a new member but from the same dojo as Leonie!) I did Krav Maga as a teen, during my studies I briefly dabbled in Wing-tsun (which was so not my thing), then found Systema and almost immediately HEMA too. I did both for a while until moving to a different city made it impossible to practice two to three times a week. I’ve been keeping up the HEMA practice at least once a week for… Golly, seven years by now!


Mady Kelly I’ve been doing it for two and a half years now, though I only found out about Esfinges a few weeks ago because there are barely any girls in our club… three out of at least fifty members.


Sarah McPherson – Photo: PUMA Stickfighting & Martial Arts

Sarah McPherson I’d never had any desire to do martial arts (I did things like dance and gymnastics instead), but my husband has a background in eastern martial arts and found a HEMA class that he wanted to try. He kept bugging me to go too, and eventually I agreed on the proviso that if I went once and didn’t like it he had to shut up and leave me alone. And here I am 10 years, 3 clubs, and about 6 different weapon styles later!


Mary Mooney I’m a Wiccan priestess, and in my tradition women who run covens are entitled to the use of a ritual sword. When I got mine, I thought, “Huh…I wonder how many of us throughout our history have actually been able to use one of these beyond as a symbol.” So I started Googling and ended up finding my club. The other women in my family think I’m nuts.


Tell us how you got into HEMA in the comments.

2 Comments on “How did HEMA find you?

  1. One day, six years ago, I was with some friends at a Fantasy/Renaissance Fair near my city. There was a fun activity organized: a duel with LARP swords. You had to hit the opponent (a member of the staff) 3 times in 2 minutes. I had done LARP for a few years some time before and my friends knew I liked sword fighting. I completed the challenge in less than 1 minute. In the meanwhile, one of my friends had called a friend of his to watch me fight, cause he knew he would have like the show. That friend of his was one of the senior members of Accademia Romana d’Armi and after the fight we chatted about what HEMA was and the club’s activity. The week after I went to my first lesson and immediately enrolled.

  2. I have always liked swords. When I got a chance in college, I immediately joined a Modern Fencing Club (started Sabre), stuck to the club for 3 years and moved to Kendo for 2. Both had things that I didn’t quite like and disheartened by it, decided to hang up my Sabre and Shinai. Fast forward six years – my husband has background in Eastern Martial Arts, modern Sabre and Kendo and decided to pick up the sword again when seeing a HEMA club near our area. Reluctantly, ( and with a good douse of pestering from my husband – yes, I feel you Sarah) tried the introductory class into HEMA. Four classes in, I was hooked. 6 months later I ordered my first steel feder and a year and a half later, I’m working on Sword and Buckler.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *