A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts

The first page of the Codex Wallerstein shows the typical arms of 15th-century individual combat, including the longsword, rondel dagger, messer, sword-and-buckler, halberd, spear, and staff.

I thought it would be useful to update the Original Post I made last year with some of the knowledge and links that I’ve learned since then. One year into learning about HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) and I’m looking forward to much more up ahead.

My goal with this and other posts is to make it easier for someone who is like me and wants to find more information but is just getting started. It can be really difficult to try and navigate and understand what you don’t know to look for and what not to look for when trying to learn about martial arts. I’ve seen a lot of people doing like myself over the past year try and help newcomers get past the steep learning curve of getting started in a very new (but old) endeavor and this is good news for HEMA in general.

I recommend reading a very new post by Richard Marsden over at Tyrant Industries called Starting out in HEMA.

After that for a list of resources put together by the HEMAA or HEMA Alliance head over to New to HEMA.

If you prefer an audio source then have a listen to different perspectives on What is HEMA?

Depending on your trust with the accuracy of encyclopedias you may or may not have already read the Wikipedia post on Historical European Martial Arts but just in case feel free to give it a quick read. The featured image for this post is Public Domain from there.

Now that you’ve read a bit about HEMA I would recommend that you find out if and where the nearest clubs or gatherings you can learn and practice at. This Club Finding Tool provided by HEMAA is an incredible tool and a vast improvement over previous iterations.

Now before you go to a club you might check out a few videos or read some in-depth material so you are a little more confident and competent when you arrive. As far as equipment goes I greatly recommend that you wait to buy anything until after you’ve been to practice and had a chance to talk face to face with a few experienced fencers and the instructor. Even if you’re far away if you can try and make a trip out to a club or start correspondence with an experienced HEMA practitioner.

A quick video by Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatora on getting into HEMA when you’re not near a club:

There is an amazing variety of information to learn about HEMA and about the history and culture that frames these martial arts so I’ve included a helpful and very simple link to The Feynman Technique (How to master a subject) to help with the process.

A really valuable take on the stages of ignorance when attempting to master a skill was recently posted on Duello.tv’s blog that applies very well to me during the process of getting acquainted with HEMA.

To put the sport versus the reality of fighting with deadly weapons in contrast I recommend reading this Blogpost on the reality of Duelling with Swords.

It is important with an athletic activity to have an eye on your safety and the safety of others you interact with. The HEMAA Alliance has a Safety Policy covering a wide range of conditions and requirements for tournaments and other activities. Take a look so you are prepared before you have a problem. On a parallel note covering safety, it is part of your responsibility to take care of your opponent and not cause injury. I highly recommend reading Shanee Nishry’s article here.

As for myself with HEMA I currently study Early German Longsword primarily which even though we have protective gear is oriented toward unarmored or Blossfechten combat. Life, unfortunately, interferes far too much since my boy started kindergarten and our schedules are all out of whack so I have not been getting whacked with swords as much as I’d prefer. Luckily I can do some solo practicing at home and a lot of reading when insomnia strikes.

Here are some of my previous posts which cover a few key things that it can be helpful to know about HEMA that were a little hard to glean at first. If you want to watch some clips of tournament fighters duking it out at locations all across the world check out the tournaments post below my long-winded intro. To see what I own personally including books check out the first link below. When you’re ready to buy your own gear check out my Websites guide below for merchants and general info on gear to get.

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Novel Exercises for Historical European Martial Arts

A Documentary on HEMA called Back to the Source gives a good introduction to the impetus behind HEMA and its origins:

Online HEMA Manuals and Treatises

It can be very hard to know how to interpret the manuals so I’ve linked to this post at the Hema forums by Richard Marsden which I think helped illuminate to me at least part of the process.

Wiktenauer This for many HEMA practitioners is the foremost resource for learning through reading and research. Every year they keep adding prodigious amounts of information on historical European martial arts available for everyone to peruse. This is probably your most important website to check out.

English Martial Arts Treatise Database (middleages.hu)

The Flower of Battle of Master Fiore Friulano de’i Liberi One of the foundational treatises in pdf form by a Who’s Who of HEMA’s scholars produced by the website Wiktenauer.

Pocket Armizare (Android App) This application is a free portable reference for the early 15th-century fencing manual ‘The Flower of Battle’ as created by fencing master Fiore de’i Liberi.

The Recital of the Chivalric Art of Fencing of the Grand Master Johannes Liechtenauer

One of the foundational treatises in pdf form by a Who’s Who of HEMA’s scholars produced by the website Wikteneaur.

Brief Instructions upon my Paradox of Defense by George Silver A popular pair of pdf’s by an English master Paradoxes of Defense by George Silver.

Joachim Meyer Resource created by Shanee Nishry A wonderful site for learning Meyer.

Great Representation of the Art and Use of Fencing by Ridolofo Capo Ferro (English Translation) An important resource for studying Italian “rapier” from one of the great masters of the art.

Books by Sir William Hope (Hosted by Linacre School of Defense) and other Masters including Fewtrell, Godfrey, Hale, Liancour, Machrie, Mendoza, Page and Miller

Resources provided by the Academy of Historical Fencing on Roworth and Angelo with workbooks on Messer, Longsword, and Sabre

Sources Hosted by Schola Gladiatoria including Waite, Hutton, Fiore, and Angelo.

Electronic Journals of Martial Arts and Sciences

Provisional Regulations for Saber Exercise US Army 1907

Highland Broadsword Posters from 1799

New Work by Antonio Manciolino of the Bolognese translated by W. Jherek Swanger and hosted by HROARR

Marozzo’s Arte dell’ Armi (Copyright William E Wilson)

Cold Steel by Alfred Hutton

Old Sword Play by Alfred Hutton

Resources to study smallsword at the Smallsword Project

History,  interpretations, and tools for studying the manuals:

Training theory of longsword fencing (HEMAC)

The Liechtenauer Playbook (an attempt at modernization with Lessons)



Facebook Pages and other Forums:

HEMA Forums

Schola Forums (Fencing and Martial Treatises Page)

Sword Forum

SBG Sword Forum

Western Martial Arts on Reddit

The Armour Archive (very useful for Armored/Harness Fighters and smiths)

Bladesmith’s Forum

Esfinges Facebook Page (First International Female Network)

Esfinges Forum for Women Facebook Page

Capital KDF Facebook Page

Rapierists Facebook Page

HEMA Alliance Facebook Page

HEMA International Discussion Facebook Page

XVI century European Armour Facebook Page

HEMA Professional Retail Facebook Page

USA HEMA Marketplace Facebook Page

Sword & Buckler Swordsmanship Facebook Page

Fighters Against Racism Forum Facebook Page

HEMA Council Facebook Page

HEMA Armor/Harness Fencers Facebook Page

HEMA Marketplace Facebook Page

HEMA Hacks Facebook Page


Schools, Clubs, and HEMA Organizations:

I recommend checking out these sites below as many of them host blogs, advice, and Hema related resources like pdf translations of manuals that can be hard to find.

HEMA Alliance

HROARR is an independent, neutral meeting ground and resource site dedicated to the Historical European Martial Arts community.

HEMAC (European Martial Artists and Researchers)

Nova Scrimia (Research Group on Italian Martial Arts)


Sala d’Arme Achille Marozzo (Largest HEMA organization in Italy)

M.E.M.A.G. The Medieval Martial Arts Guild

Chivalric Fighting Arts Association (International Organization)



Swiss HEMA

Sword Carolina (Train Online)

Virginia Academy of Fencing

Academie Duello

Lonin (Modum milites habemus)

Maryland KDF

Phoenix Society of Historical Swordsmanship

Linacre School of Defense

New York Historical Fencing Association

London Longsword

Stoccata School of Defense

Krieg School of Fencing

Chicago Swordplay Guild

Martinez Academy of Arms

Sword to Sword

Blood and Iron Martial Arts

Triangle Sword Guild

Iron Gate Swordfighting

Academy of Historical Fencing at Swordfight.uk

School for Historical Fencing Arts (17th Century Dutch rapier)

The Renaissance Sword Club (UK)

Spanish Swordsmanship Society of St. Louis

The Bratislavský šermiarsky spolok (a civic association)

Dimicator Roland Warzecha’s School

Auckland Sword and Shield

The Academy of European Swordsmanship (Canada)

Hotspur School of Defense


Omaha Kunst Des Fechtens (My club)


Blogs and Specialized Sites:

The Oakeshott Institute

Swording Blog (Check out all the different framing of the Absetzen by some of the luminaries of HEMA)

HEMA Ratings (A site which rates tournament fighters worldwide)

Sword Buyer’s Guide

The Coblog

The HEMA Scholar Awards

The World’s Largest Resource for Early English Pugilism at Pugilism.org

Graunwolf Blog:

Shanee Nishry’s Blog

Bolognese Swordsmanship

HEMA News (All Swords All the Time)

The World’s Largest Sword Museum

Guy Windsor’s Blog

The Fencing Hindquarters (Tumblr Blog)

I don’t do long sword

The HEMA-Tome Tumbler Blog with Micro Translations of Fencing Treatises

Historical Fighting Guide Tumblr Blog


Swetnam: 17th Century English Fencing

My Armoury a Resource site on modern replicas

A Meyer’s Enthusiast Historical Fencing Blog

Hemaphilia Tumblr Blog

Guy Windsor Blog

Bartitsu: a 19th Century Art of Self Defense

Ritterkunst Blog

Keith Farrell Blog

Victorian Sword Tumblr Blog

Martial Arts New York

Journal of Western Martial Art

The Hemaists Blog

Measure and Weigh (Reviews and Opinions on HEMA)

Afterblow: Hema Competition News

Out of This Century blogs (everything from clothing to essays on roman gladiator style arena fights in San Francisco)

Nova Fechtbuch (Collection of HEMA videos and Blogs)

Ensis Sub Caelo (Weapon Physics)

Meyer Free Scholar Syllabus Wiki

Renaissance Fence (linked to an interpretation of Antonio Manciolino’s Opera Nova of 1531)

Lochac Fencing (An SCA website that has a tremendous amount of links to manuals)

Bruchius (Reinier van Noort)

A Fencer’s Ramblings

The Teachings of Marozzo and Camillo Agrippa’s ‘Trattato Di Scienzia d’Armes’

HEMA Study

Swords of the White Rose

Aidan Blake’s HEMA Blog

Jamie Maciver Blog on Phillipo Vadi

Just a girl and her sword

Hans Talhoffer ~ A Historical Martial Arts blog by Jens P. Kleinau


Miscellaneous Extra Content:

Since not everything has to be scholarly or serious below are two of my favorite choreographed videos. I am currently working on a post for video resources that I will hopefully complete in the next few weeks.

I adore the visceral action in this longsword battle which includes grappling and unarmed attacks that most movies and tv shows minimize by Adorea Olomouc:

Akademia Szermierzy Youtube Channel has several exemplary choreographed videos on Fiore:

One of many useful Seminars by Jake Norwood from xKDF:

Sword Anatomy from one of the German perspectives:


Below is Meyer’s Square used in the later German Tradition as a practice tool for basic cuts.



A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: My HEMA Loadout and Wishlist

I am a newbie to HEMA so I’m no expert but sometimes experts can forget to mention basic things they no longer are even conscious of which is the point of my blog. Hopefully, my posts will help a newcomer to Historical European Martial Arts navigate starting up this awesome activity.

This post is dealing with my equipment that I own or that I am waiting for delivery with an addendum for maybe buys in the future. I will also include some exercise gear and my books.

I would like to thank the reviews people like Matt Easton at Schola Gladiatora, David Rawlings at London Longsword, the gentleman at Hema Reviews, Skallagrim, Aidan Blake, the review teams at Blood and Iron, the guys at R/Hema who made the gear list, and the fine folks at Measure and Weigh. I have replaced a few bits of gear that weren’t working out for items they reviewed with a high opinion particularly the Measure and Weigh reviews. You guys really make it a lot easier for all of us when you share your insights with us beginners so we can avoid at least some of the pitfalls of starting Hema. If people don’t say thank you often enough I’ll just say thank you for a second time just in case.

Don’t forget to clean and care for your gear. Sometimes that means a visit to a competent dry cleaner or a bit of Febreze or clear gear or hand washing in lukewarm water with mild detergent. Odor Gladiator is a good addon for your gear bag.

Speaking of gear bags I find that I get good mileage out of a cheap snowboarding bag. If I was traveling on a plane I would probably get a hard “Sportube” as I’ve heard they are great.

Don’t leave your gear in direct sunlight or damp area for too long. Baby wipes are great for plastic bits. Proper care of steel is important to avoid rust. Always ask your smith for the best care for your blade if you can as they should know best practices and tricks for longer life and aesthetics.

My previous articles on Hema:

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Websites to Buy Swords and Equipment

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Tournaments

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Novel Exercises for Historical European Martial Arts

My boy is wearing my mask in the featured image.

The most precious piece of gear to have for HEMA are books! So, that is what I’m going to start off with. For freely available pdf’s and links to books on the net check up my One Year Anniversary Post above for links to hundreds of articles, books, and other resources for the budding Hema student.


Cutting with the Medieval Sword: Theory and Application: by Michael Edelson Amazon


A very valuable resource for anyone wanting to learn how to cut properly with the correct biomechanics with a sword. I’m not done reading it yet and I’m only about a quarter into it and have already learned quite a lot. It is hard to resist the temptation to bounce around and all the pretty sword pictures by Albion are distracting. Get it.

<Edit> From my Amazon review after completing the book: A very valuable resource for anyone wanting to learn how to cut properly with the correct biomechanics with a sword. When reading It is hard to resist the temptation to bounce around and gaze upon all the pretty sword pictures. One thing that I really like is the clear and concise advice and insights that bleed over into your fencing regardless of tradition or school. I bought it so I could be better at cutting but I think I am a better martial artist after reading this book. Get it. </Edit>

Treatise on the Subject of Fencing: Marco Docciolini’s 1601 Fencing Treatise: by Marco Docciolini (Author),‎ Piermarco Terminiello (Translator),‎ Steven Reich (Translator) Amazon


Only about halfway through but I am enjoying reading it. It reminds me of Liechtenauer in that it is very straightforward and focuses on being simple without flourishes or fanciness. Very matter of fact. It would be nice if the book had a longer foreward that went a bit more into history on the period and maybe an index with some insight from the authors on how the treatise could be used in a modern HEMA context. I did find this on HROARR which was interesting to read about dual sword use. I will probably look for videos to help me understand the author better.

<Edit> I did finish the book and it was enjoyable though I might not recommend it as the first book for a beginner with a rapier as the lack of pictures and the lack of resources online to find extra info or to answer questions makes it problematic compared to a treatise by a more well-known author. Alfieri would be my first read, then Giganti, and then Docciolini would be a better reading order I think.</Edit>

La Scherma: The Art of Fencing, Francesco Ferdinando Alfieri: by Piermarco Terminiello (Author),‎ Phil Marshall (Author),‎ Caroline Stewart (Author) Amazon


Very clear and easy to understand treatise. Loved it and the overall layout. Definitely a good value if you’re new to rapier and want to get some good fundamentals. Alfieri focuses on a single rapier for most of the book and then gives some good advice on expanding that with a parrying dagger and some really interesting plays with a cloak.


Self-Defense for Gentlemen and Ladies: A Nineteenth-Century Treatise on Boxing, Kicking, Grappling, and Fencing with the Cane and Quarterstaff: by Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery (Author),‎ Ben Miller (Editor)  Amazon


I love the history and story of the first half of the book. Colonel Thomas Hoyer Monstery seems like such an interesting individual and his students include some surprisingly famous individuals. If a competent tv team took him or Jaguerina on as a tv show that would be amazing. The second half is the Colonel’s actual treatise which is worth reading from my limited understanding of the material. I would’ve liked an addendum with a modern practitioner’s point of view and perspective on using the techniques, learning them, teaching them, and applying the lessons of the book in a modern Hema context and perspective.

Nicoletto Giganti’s The School of the Sword: A New Translation: by Nicoletto Giganti (Author),‎ Yvonne Rogers (Illustrator),‎ Aaron Taylor Miedema (Translator),‎ Tara Lynn England (Translator),‎ Kim Reynolds (Translator)  Amazon


Seems well made but I have to say that I didn’t enjoy the book as much as reading Alfieri and if Docciolini had pictures I would rate it much higher. It is nice that it has so many plays shown and good artwork so you can see what is going on clearly and it is a good solid book to build on your skill.


Gajardoni Ancient Air Mask


This mask is very protective and comfortable. It has a cool gimmick that does militate a hit to the upper head a small amount by pumping air into little bladders built into the padding like those old basketball shoes in the 80s. The main benefit is in helping the fit better match your head and mold a little bit better to your head in my opinion versus actually protecting you in a significant fashion. The ridge the splits the face bilaterally does a great job at dispersing the kinetic energy from certain types of hewing hits and helps make a full on thrust to the center of the face skitter off either to the left or right rather than sending the energy full on pushing the head and neck back.

I have a giant head so they were nice enough to provide a double sided velcro strip to act as an extender to the back straps to fit both my huge head and the included back of neck protection.

You can buy it here: Ancient Air Mask

Gajardoni Challenge Jacket


The jacket is extremely protective and comes with a ton of modular padding you can choose to use or not for even more protection. The jacket has a built-in gorget (not sufficient for tournaments but a good supplement and it can be replaced with rigid material that probably would be tournament ready), shoulder pads, and elbow pads. Mine is tailored which is very worth it unless you’re very close to an actual size. I personally don’t use most of the padding but as I have a lot of padding built in it isn’t necessary. Very breathable compared to other jackets and it is surprisingly heavy to people who aren’t used to Hema jackets. Construction is excellent. My only nitpick is that there was a small error on the sewing of the pin side of the zipper pulling the pin closer to the fabric. This makes it surprisingly harder to hook to the zipper when your hands are behind your back to get the zipper started. Other than that the behind the back zipper works fine and the collar is great.

Since a commenter had a question about why there is no plastron I should mention again that it comes with basically enough modular padding/armor that can be velcroed directly to the jacket that there is no need for a plastron because it basically is a plastron. However, so far just the bare minimum padding is very substantial so I haven’t really used the modular padding. You can cut the padding as well to shape it into what you really want like if you have a lower left rib you are worried about you could cut out a section and stick it onto the velcro of the jacket and have a little extra protection in that spot.

You can buy it here: Challenge Jacket

Destroyer Modz Gorget


Speaking of built-in gorget in the challenge jacket here is my main gorget (\ ˈgȯr-jət \). This is a very lightweight and simple gorget mainly to be tournament ready or for low gear sparring without the jacket or for singlestick. Many of the different gorget designs can be quite large and substantial which can require modifications for guards when your arms are above your shoulders otherwise they can be restrictive. Since the Challenge Jacket already is very substantial in its protection I chose simple and to be honest relatively inexpensive. One problem I can see is if you have a very large neck the fit is tenuous and I think they would be well served to have a large size. Purpleheart was amazingly fast to deliver this to my door. I expected I’d be lucky to get it in a month or two but it was less than a week. If you’re a Hema Alliance member don’t forget to add your promo code when ordering for a discount.

You can buy it here: Purpleheart Armory Destroyer Modz Gorget.

Gajardoni Custom 800 Newton Breeches


These breeches offer a lot of extra protection most of which I took out like I did with the Jacket. These are custom sized because of my stature but I would recommend bespoke gear in general as the extra cost is worth it even if you aren’t a giant. I supplemented the suspenders that come built-in with Holdup Suspenders as I am a giant and the suspenders are insufficient for the weight of the pants. They are no doubt just fine for your typical Hema enthusiast. The back pocket works well for a wallet or if you’re an Apple Pay/Android Pay type you can carry your phone instead so you don’t have to worry about people “lifting” it while you’re at a tournament. The material is incredibly well made and substantial without the extra modular padding. Some of the padding has a very soft velvet feel which is nice if you need the extra padding because of a wallowing buffel at a tournament.

You can buy them here: Gajardoni Breeches.

K-P Knee Pro Ultra Flex III Knee Pads


This knee protection works great and is readily available for quick delivery or at many brick and mortar stores. It should fit just about anyone. It covers the side of the knee and is light. It is probably close to indestructible and protects amazingly well. It may be the cheapest, best, and accessible piece of gear in the Hema arsenal.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

Harrow Probot Shin Guard


These shin guards work so well with the knee pro that it is magic. They are so much better than my previous set of shin guards. They have soft ends at the bottom to help defend the top of your ankle and not be painful. Once you pull up your socks they stay where they need to be and help anchor your knee protection which should fit and rest at the top of the shins. They don’t need straps or a wrap around which made me wary at first. One negative is that they don’t provide any protection to the back of your calf but they do great on the side of the calf as even with a giant like myself it wraps around pretty far. After use, it should kind of mold to your leg a bit which is nice.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

Compression Socks


There is very little price difference between getting good compression socks and just normal fencing socks so I recommend compression socks. They also tend to be better constructed and better able to keep shin guards in place. I find they help me last longer on my feet and are great when you have to sit for a long time like a plane trip or road trip to the tournament. They also are supposed to help with a lower recovery time after the event or practice and are good for diabetics. You can buy them pretty much everywhere though I am sure there are quality differences depending on the place.

You can buy one of the types I use here: Amazon.

Forearm and Elbow Protection


These are solid protections that I received from Gajardoni mainly because it was easy and convenient to just add it to the cart with the rest of the gear but there are plenty of different designs available. These are nice because they fit well over the jacket or without the jacket and my forearms are very large. The built-in elbow protection to the Challenge jacket actually works well to anchor the elbow part of this protector making it very safe from harm. Or since the elbow piece is separate you can undo the velcro and go without the elbow pad. The other good thing is that there are no gaps like a lot of designs running up the inside of the arm. So, good for longsword and good for low gear practice or singlestick.

You can buy it here: Gajardoni Forearm and elbow.

Koning Gloves


These gloves are very well constructed with a very soft inner leather glove so you can get a good grip and feeling through the glove to your weapon. On the outer part of the glove, the leather is harder and more durable seeming as that is where you’re going to get hit. It has a band around the wrist for extra protection without restricting wrist movement. Sandwiched between layers are rigid plates to protect the hand and in particular the fingers from direct hits by blunt steel blades. These plates can be maneuvered around while you use the gloves and get it prepped for you so the glove gets more tailored to your particular hand as you use it. When you first get the glove it can be hard to even fit your fingers in it but as you stretch it and get it used to your specific hand it becomes quite comfortable. It is very much like getting a baseball glove ready for the season.

It took me about a month of just working the gloves while watching Netflix or Youtube videos on HEMA to get the gloves comfortable.

These gloves are primarily for longsword but unlike most longsword gloves can be used with different weapons making them a good backup for even some rapiers or sideswords should something go wrong with your lite gloves. The wait time from Sweden is substantial though it is improving and now you have the option if you’re in America to get them quickly from Purpleheart Armoury.

You can buy them internationally from here: St Mark.

Kombat Gloves


These are very well protecting lightweight gloves good for historical fencing with lighter weapons like sabres, rapiers, singlestick, or daggers. One thing to keep in mind that the extra knuckle protection can with some designs of rapiers make it a bit cramped if your hand is large and space is small. I also have very large forearms so with my jacket it can be difficult for the forearm velcro to fit around but that shouldn’t be a problem for most people. With the Challenge jacket having built-in elbow protection you can use these and not worry about forearm and elbow protection. If wearing without the jacket you can take the elbow part of the forearm protectors I showed above and use them in conjunction with the gloves if you want and if you have the little leather jutting out the end outside of the elbow cup.

You can buy it here: Gajardoni.

Type III Pentti Synthetic Longsword


Quick delivery as a surprise Christmas present for me. Well constructed and capable of taking a lot of punishment it is a great practice tool at home. If I had a real pell I wouldn’t worry about harming the pell or the weapon like I would with a steel weapon. But, it works well enough on my makeshift pole in my backyard and at practice with other synthetics. Don’t forget to use your Hema Alliance membership promo code when ordering.

You can buy it here: Purpleheart Armoury.

Purpleheart SingleStick


This singlestick is very well made with a leather basket and for a little extra over the standard rattan I chose the hickory model with the oval shape. It has a nice shape for grip to help with edge alignment so you don’t get in bad habits and has a taper making it feel more alive and responsive in the hand.

You can buy it here: Purpleheart Armoury

Cold Steel Synthetic Buckler



Solid and practically indestructible this buckler is inexpensive and does the job whether using a synthetic or steel blade.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

Cold Steel Rondel Rubber Training Dagger


Good and simple practice dagger that has good flex so you can safely stab your friends. Inexpensive and with easy accessibility it is a good addition to your loadout.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

Sisu Mouth Guard



Good to have if you’re going to be doing some boxing, bartitsu, ringen, glima, or just common fencing grappling or wrestling. Don’t want to get your teeth knocked out on accident if you can help it.

You can buy it here: Amazon.

NuttyBuddy Cup and Compression Shorts


Gotta protect your “nutty” and this combo of shorts and cup works very well. It must take a ridiculous amount of force to break this.

You can buy it here: Amazon.



Alera Wire Garment Rack


It is nice to have something to hang up your gear to dry it out and just keep it organized. This holds my Purpleheart longsword and singlestick on the left side there very well so it is also a sword rack to add to the convenience. I got it for $55 at Costco.


Exercise Gear:

I get a lot of mileage with my NSD spinner which is fun to do and I think helps build up finer muscle control for strammazone type cuts as you’re making very tight circular motions to get it to spin. If you check out my previous post on exercises you’ll see a link to the one I have.

From Iron Mind I have a Captain’s of Crush Trainer and #1 grippers, a Blue Iron Egg, and the elastic bands. The Trainer is good for reps a couple of times a day for building your grip strength which is important for sword work and for things like the bench press. If you want to push your grip strength get an additional gripper of higher tension like the #1 or go with the #.5 if you have difficulty with the Trainer and use that to step up the difficulty. The Iron Egg I squeeze while reading a book or watching a video and same with the elastic bands which are fun for building your forearm and fingers and can help with an injury.

The Gripmasters I use at work though I have destroyed them pretty badly. I have the 9 pound and the 11 pound and if you do the pinch grip it will give you a good workout for your fingers. Great for building your bass playing skills especially the pinkie and of course your grip for Hema.

The Theraband blue is good for if you get tennis elbow and for your grip do a pickup grip on the tips of the band and twist and that will get your whole forearm and fingers working.

Resistance bands are good for increasing your leg strength and are really interesting to use when practicing careful short lunges, voids, and traverses while you have them at your ankles.

Battle ropes are fun and I get double use out of my makeshift pole/pell.

I have a Valeo medicine ball which is good for working out your core and I like to lay down and throw it up with my right arm like I am punching out or making an oberhau. Exercising the lazy way while listening to a podcast or youtube video drone on is a-ok with me.

Balance pads and agility ladders are good to help get your feet moving and your balance better which is a huge part of any martial art and will help you get better at dancing too!




For my steel longsword, I am looking at the smith Logan Black of Black Horse Blades. He now has three Hema training blades the Arbeitsferd, the Eisen Pferd, and the Grosse Pferd. I like the Eisen Pferd design the most which is the blade above. I have communicated with Logan on Facebook and he has been extraordinarily pleasant and if money had allowed I would already have his work in my home just for their customer service soft skills. His site is Black Horse Blades.


For my steel rapier and dagger, I am on the waitlist for a Danelli Armouries until Christmas of 2018. So many beautiful works of art on the site you can get distracted very easily if you’re a sword enthusiast. The rapier above is one of his most beautiful though way out of my price range. His website: Danelli Armouries.

Over at Castille Armory, there are a lot of good looking blades. The link is to an inexpensive clamshell rapier with a lot of good reviews. For Hema, I recommend from my research that you get the F3 blade and a lobed tip. Length of the blade is, of course, a contentious issue and depends somewhat on the master or tradition you’re studying though in general the taller you are the longer the blade. Keep in mind that some tournaments have length maximums and most of the lengths on bladesmith sites for rapiers include the ricasso. The bronzed work looks great in my opinion too. Over at Blood and Iron, they recently did a review of a custom blade Sam made that the lead instructor gushed over. They have some amazing sabres that are tempting.

For sword and buckler, I am looking at just a basic arming sword by VB available at Purpleheart.

For sabre not from Castille I am thinking about just snagging a cheap Hanwei Hutton from Amazon because I get bonuses from work each month in Amazon gyft cards so that would make it easy to get and the Hanwei’s are okay.

If I get more into the lighter weapons I will probably eventually get a Diamond Jacket from Gajardoni as it is just amazing looking and better suited for lower impact weapons.