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

This post has been updated A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: One Year Anniversary Update Post on Historical European Martial Arts.

As a novice, I’ve had to do a lot of searching to find basic information about HEMA.

Recently the HEMA Alliance posted a fantastic page (New to HEMA) which should be your first site you visit. If I had access to this page it would’ve spared me a lot of time and effort so enjoy!

(Edit: I am continually adding new content as I find it so check back regularly)

Additional more focused posts that are part of my Novice’s Guide.

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 and Solo Drills for Historical European Martial Arts

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

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA: Cat’s Nine Lives Halloween Tournament

Sections include Starting HEMA, Tournaments, Youtube subscriptions relating to HEMA, Equipment requirements, Websites by Continent/Nation that sell HEMA Gear, Gear reviews, Hacks and Customizations, and educational and entertaining videos that I found interesting.

Starting HEMA:

New to HEMA

Find a local club here

Wiktenauer (Free Library!)

HEMA Forums

Western Martial Arts on Reddit

HEMA News Blog

HROARR is an independent, neutral meeting ground and resource site

Historical European Martial Arts Coalition


HEMAA (HEMA Alliance)

Johannes Liechtenauer’s Recital (PDF)

Fiore de’i Liberi (The Flower of Battle PDF)

Long Sword Techniques and History (PDF)

Longsword Study Aid

What is HEMA? (podcast)

Starting with HEMA: A Personal View (Encased in Steel Blog)

Sword Carolina (Online HEMA School)

Medieval European Martial Arts Guild

Schola Forum

Esfinges Facebook group for Women in HEMA Ask here for gear advice for women.

Afterblow: Hema Competition News (Brand new site for HEMA Events/Calendar)


[Edit: I’ve spun off the Tournament related information into its own post below:] 

A Novice’s Guide to HEMA Tournaments

HEMA Ratings (Tracks wins and losses from Tournaments)


Long Point


SoCal Swordfight (Facebook group as the website is dead)

Fight Camp

World Broadsword Championship

Astolat Open

Swordplay Australia

Helsinki Longsword

Iron Gate Exhibition

HEMA-Cornhusker Nebraska State Games (Facebook Event Page)

Capitol Clash (Washington D.C)

Youtube Videos Subscriptions:

Schola Gladiatoria

Duello Learning

Blood and Iron

London Longsword

Learn Swordfighting

Septem Custodie

HEMA Reviews

Swordfish 2016 Livestream

Swordfish 2016 Ringen Match


One of the big things novices such as myself want to know is what do we need to start practicing HEMA as far as basic beginning gear and what to look for in the long term should you progress to tournament level expertise. For some equipment it might be better to just skip all the way to the best for both protection and to avoid having to upgrade later at greater expense. This is where asking questions of experts really pays off. What equipment does your instructor recommend?

Absolutely make sure that you get a cup like a Nutty buddy, Diamond, or Shock Doctor if you’re a guy and the ladies have their own version which is generally suggested equipment.

Don’t skip or skimp on a gorget (pronounce the ‘t’ as in \ˈgȯr-jət\) from the french gorgette in the 15th century C.E.

Explaining Mask Standards (Read this before you get your mask)

GLOVES FOR LONGSWORD FENCING (APRIL 2016) (Read before you buy Gloves)

HEMA Gloves Facebook Group

Reddit HEMA Gear List (May 2016)

THE STATE OF THE ART: Current gear and weapon options as of 12/2016

HEMA Training Longswords Compendium (List of training Longswords by HEMA Reviews Blogspot)

Feder Market Table (Shows stats/costs on many feders)

Aidan Blake’s Feder and Simulator Research

Tips on HEMA sparring swords (Schola Gladiatoria)

Informal Survey on Ordering from a HEMA manfacturer

Protective Gear Research

Tournament Gear Requirements: (Read this for an idea on what you might need for your local and regional tournaments and for a guide to quality to future proof your gear.)

Swordfish Equipment Requirements

Longpoint Rules (Page 4 Gear)

CombatCon Rules

Fight Camp Rules and Gear Requirements

London Open 2015 Equipment Standards

World Broadsword Championship Rules

Astolat Equipment Requirements

Swordplay Australia Approved Gear

Helsinki Open Longsword Equipment Requirements

Capitol Clash Longsword Requirements

Websites that sell equipment are listed below by continent and by nation. Feel free to comment to add more sites that I’ve missed.



Danelli Armouries (Beautiful swords with long wait list)

Leon Paul

The HEMA Shop

The Knight Shop

Corsairs Wares

Paul Binns Swords



Allstar International

Sword Experts

VB Sword Shop

Die Seelenschmie (Swords)


Sparring Gloves  Sparring Gloves Facebook

Historical Fencing Gear (Spes)

Neyman Fencing

Comfort Fencing

Silk Fencing (Synthetics)

PBT Polska

Szymonchlebowski (Swords)

Ensifer (Swords)


Mac Arms (Swords)

Swords (C.K. Kowarna)

Elgur (Swords)

Kovex Ars

Lutel Armoury

Armory Marek

Fabri Armorum


Fechtwaffen Shop (Pretty much everything is here)


Black Fencer

The Time Seller

Grant Esgrima


Costumbres Medievales


PBT Historical Fencing

Regenyei (Swords!)

Viktor Berbekucz (Swords)




Black Armoury

Faits d’Armes

South Fencing

Sport 7


Gajardoni (Lajalo) (Air Masks and fine quality jackets and breeches. Ships internationally)


Del Tin (Tin Ancient Weapon)

Thokk WeaponMaster Gauntlets (indiegogo)


Saint Mark (Koning Gloves)







Pro Gauntlet (HEMA Gauntlet in Alpha Stage of Production)


Hema Fencing


Krsticic Swords

North America:


Darksword Armory

Dark Age Creations

SGT Blades


HEMA Supplies (We currently import Regenyei Armoury swords and Sparring Gloves.)

Southcoastswords (Blackfencer Synthetics in USA)

Historical Fencing Gear (USA) (Spes)

Leon Paul (USA)

Absolute Force

Wild Geese Fencing (Steel Swords)

Horsebows (Archery and Masks)

Woodenswords: Purpleheart Armoury (Pentii Synthetics and Ensifer Feders)

That Guy’s (Beautiful looking Gorgets)

Destroyer Modz (Gorget and Mask Mods)

Winter Tree Crafts (Gorget)

Albion Swords

Black Horse Blades

Castille Armory

Alchem (Swords Wholesaler)

Benjamin Arms (Swords)

Zen Warrior Armory (SCA and Fencing)

Arms & Armor (Swords)

Swordsman’s Shop (smallsword)

Rockwell Classical Fencing (Foil, Saber, and Epee)

Triplette Competition Arms (Sports Fencing)

Hanwei (Swords)

Darkwood Armory

Piranha Gear (Fencing Gloves and Gorget)

CAS Iberia

New Stirling Arms (Wooden Wasters)

Little Raven (Wooden Wasters)

Sword Equip (HEMA Gear and swords by Szymon Chlebowski)





Medieval Fight Club

WMA Shop

Leon Paul Australia

Eureka HEMA Supplies

Equipment Reviews

As I find reviews for products while surfing the web I will collect them here for people to use as a resource.



PBT HEMA Warrior Reinforced Mask (Schola Gladiatoria)

PBT 1600n HEMA Mask (Dolans Review)

Leon Paul Titan and Gajardoni Kombat Air (Schola Gladiatoria)

Destroyermodz Custom 82nd Mod HEMA Fencing Mask (NYHFA)

Mask Overlay:

Destroyer Mod Head Protection (HEMA News)

Gajardoni Kombat Air, Leon Paul Titan, and Spes Unity Overlay (London Longsword)


Spes Hussar Jacket (HEMA Review)

Gajardoni Challenge Jacket and Breeches (London Longsword)

Gajardoni Challenge Jacket (HEMA News)

SPES Axel Pettersson (Schola Gladiatoria)

SPES Axel Pettersson Fencing Jacket (Aidan Blake)

Neyman Augmented (HEMA Reviews)

Neyman HEMA Fencing Jacket (Schola Gladiatora)

Superior Fencing Jacket (Blood and Iron)

Black Armoury HEMA Jacket (Schola Gladiatora)

Steel Mastery Gambeson (Jon Burke of Lionheart Historical European Swordsmanship) (Taiwan)


Neyman Standard Trousers (HEMA Review)

PBT 350n Fencing Pants (Measure and Weigh)

Gorget: There really doesn’t seem to be very many reviews on throat protection gear relating to HEMA. This is important so hopefully some experienced fencers can let us know the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly when it comes to this.

Winter Tree Brigandine (Aidan Blake)

Absolute Force Neck Guard (Skallagrim)

Medieval Fight Club Gorget (HEMA Collective)


A Look at Many Gloves (Skallagrim)

3 Fingered Sparring Gloves (Aidan Blake)

Neyman Thokk (KAB Fencing)

Koning Glove (Sacramento Frei Fechter)

5 Fingered Sparring Gloves (Francesca Terminiello)

Absolute Force Hema Deluxe (Aidan Blake)

Absolute Force HEMA Gloves (Matthew Brown)

Neyman Inigo Montoya (Oliver Goras)

Neyman Inigo Montoya (Bellows Freifechter)

SPES Heavy sparring gloves (Schola Gladiatoria)

Gajardoni Lajolo Kombat Gloves (tehBar0n)

Red Dragon Gloves (Schola Gladiatoria)

Elbows and Forearms:

SPES Forearm and Elbow Protector V2.0 (Aidan Blake)

Neyman Fencing forearm and elbow (Poll Mak)

Knees and Shins:

Red Dragon Leg Guards (Schola Gladiatoria)

Red Dragon and Baseball Knee/Shin (Skallagrim)

Knee Pro Ultra (Measure and Weigh)


Non-Steel Practice Swords (Skallagrim)


Purple Heart and Black Fencer Synthetics (Aidan Blake)

Scottish Basket hilt Broadsword:

Black Fencer Synthetic (Academy of Historical Fencing)

Synthetic Feder:

Blackfencer V4 Federschwert (Blood and Iron)

Black Fencer Feder (HEMA Review)

Steel Feder: (Check out above the Longsword Compendium link and the Feder Market Table for more info)

Comfort Fencing Dobringer feder (HEMA Reviews)

SGT Blades 3 models of Steel Feders (Blood and Iron)

Szymon Chlebowski Feder (NYFHA)

Castille Armoury and Regenyei Feders (Sacromento Frei Fechter)

Regenyei Standard Steel Feder (Aidan Blake)

Regenyei Standard Steel Feder (Medieval Review)

Regenyei Steel Feder (Schola Gladiatora)

Regenyei Steel Feder (HEMA Reviews)

Darksword Armoury Steel Feder (Skallagrim)

Moc Steel Feder (HEMA Reviews)

Steel Sidesword:

Regenyei steel sidesword (Stoccata Historical Fencing)

Danelli Steel Sidesword (Il Segno)


Danelli Steel A588 Wallace Rapier (London Longsword)

Steel Arming Sword:

Fabri Armorum Training Steel Arming Sword (Schola Gladiatora)

Hacks and Customizations:

Painting a Fencing Mask (Medieval Review)

Back of Head Gajardoni Ancient Air Mask hack (Poll Mak)

Educational and Entertainment:

The Feynman Technique (How to master a subject)

Defense for the Throat: A Layered Approach ‘History of Throat Protection’ (Knyght Errant)

Nova Fechtbuch (Collection of HEMA videos and Blogs)

Highland Broadsword Posters from 1799

Back to the source – Historical European Martial Arts documentary

Seminar with Jake Norwood (cutting mechanics)

Fior di Battaglia: medieval longsword techniques (Akademia Szermierzy)

Longsword Duel Scene (Adorea Olomouc)

Magna Moosey Scene (Adorea Olomouc)

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