How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

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Manveruon
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How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Manveruon » Wed May 25, 2016 10:16 pm

Hi all,

I have been thinking of trying out a WMA/HEMA class for many years, and recently two different people on my Misty Mountain Rangers Facebook group posted about HEMA groups in my area. One of these people is a very nice, enthusiastic gentleman who runs a group himself... but I'm not sure I actually trust him as an instructor. The other suggestion is for a group called the Krieg School of Historical Fencing, which definitely looks more "legitimate," but I have so far been unable to find any specific reviews of the group online. So my question is, do any of you have tips on how to determine if a given WMA/HEMA group/class/instructor is safe/knowledgeable/worth-my-time?
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby caedmon » Wed May 25, 2016 10:39 pm

Manveruon wrote:Hi all,

I have been thinking of trying out a WMA/HEMA class for many years, and recently two different people on my Misty Mountain Rangers Facebook group posted about HEMA groups in my area. One of these people is a very nice, enthusiastic gentleman who runs a group himself... but I'm not sure I actually trust him as an instructor. The other suggestion is for a group called the Krieg School of Historical Fencing, which definitely looks more "legitimate," but I have so far been unable to find any specific reviews of the group online. So my question is, do any of you have tips on how to determine if a given WMA/HEMA group/class/instructor is safe/knowledgeable/worth-my-time?



I know a few WMA Scholars who are active nationally and internationally. PM the gentlemen's names and I'll inquire if they are have a reputation for good or ill (or naught at all).

-Jack
-Jack Horner

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Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Manveruon » Thu May 26, 2016 2:26 am

Well one of the ones I mentioned above was this:

https://kriegschool.com/
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Manveruon
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Manveruon » Thu May 26, 2016 2:27 am

And thank you for the help! In future, if a name comes up I will certainly run it by you. Wish there was some kind of BBB for HEMA schools, haha.
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Ursus » Thu May 26, 2016 12:54 pm

There are a lot of things to ask.
What's the instructor like? Is he open and helpful or a tyrant? What does he base his "knowledge" on? Is there an established curriculum? How many years has he studied with serious intent? To me anyone with less than five years serious study is not qualified to teach.

How often do they meet? If its not weekly or the instructor is unreliable with class times I'd say no go.
Are they safe? HEMA can get quite dangerous if full contact sparring is involved.

I could drone on and on, but bottom line, be picky and go armed with a lot of questions. HEMA schools are popping up everywhere that are headed by poor instructors with no real experience or knowledge that are teaching bad fight habits and unsafe practices.

If there is any assistance I can offer, please fire away with questions.
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby caedmon » Thu May 26, 2016 4:24 pm

Ursus wrote:...HEMA schools are popping up everywhere that are headed by poor instructors with no real experience or knowledge that are teaching bad fight habits and unsafe practices...


So you do, or don't, support Kobra Kai FechtSchule?
-Jack Horner

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Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby caedmon » Thu May 26, 2016 4:45 pm

Still waiting for a response from my buddies. The head instructor for Krieg School is on the HEMA board. That speaks to commitment and good reputation.
-Jack Horner

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Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby caedmon » Thu May 26, 2016 6:24 pm

caedmon wrote:Still waiting for a response from my buddies. The head instructor for Krieg School is on the HEMA board. That speaks to commitment and good reputation.


OK, I just heard back from my friend, before I even broached a name he recommended Ben Floyd, the primary teacher at Krieg.
-Jack Horner

----------------------------
Impression: Boater Wesman ( Balku'npâ Adúnerama ) bronze founder living in Archet, Breelander of mixed dúnedain descent. c. 3017
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Greg » Thu May 26, 2016 9:44 pm

a very nice, enthusiastic gentleman who runs a group himself... but I'm not sure I actually trust him as an instructor.


I have my own, similar reservations just from what I've seen online. I would, pending any inside information from Caedmon, tend to side with group instruction from multiple views rather than relying on a single opinion. I don't like when HEMA instructors pride themselves and their teaching methods on "Full force, full contact." Control should be far more important than sounding tough.
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Kortoso » Thu May 26, 2016 11:14 pm

Like any martial art school, find a way to sit in on a class, or several. As many as it takes to make sure the instructor is on your wavelength. Google the name of the group and see what kind of remarks come to the surface.

But above all, get active. Training at even a bad school is far better than staying at home dreaming. :P
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Manveruon » Fri May 27, 2016 1:33 am

Greg wrote:
a very nice, enthusiastic gentleman who runs a group himself... but I'm not sure I actually trust him as an instructor.


I have my own, similar reservations just from what I've seen online. I would, pending any inside information from Caedmon, tend to side with group instruction from multiple views rather than relying on a single opinion. I don't like when HEMA instructors pride themselves and their teaching methods on "Full force, full contact." Control should be far more important than sounding tough.


Haha, yeah, I forgot you've been seeing the activity on that page. Yeah... I mean... I like the guy well enough, but I just... I hate saying it, but I really just don't trust him - for exactly the reason you've cited here. I've always been wary of going anywhere near his group.

Very good to hear about Krieg though! I will definitely be checking them out, in that case! I think sitting in is definitely a good idea. Hopefully they will turn out to be a competent, safe place to learn HEMA, because I'd love to really give it a shot.

Thanks for all the thoughts and info, guys!
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Kortoso » Fri May 27, 2016 5:55 pm

As an aside (regarding the "full-force" comments), it seems that WMA groups are tending to drift away from the sentiment of "Respect for the Sword" that arose in the early days. That is, practice, whether it's with wasters following Fechbuchs, or sharps cutting mats, or sword simulators in sparring, "should" have the same lethal character. ("Should" because it's an individual choice.)

WMA practiioners are beginning to use very light sparring weapons, which - I think - encourages un realistic strikes, which encourages unrealistic defenses. And we are in danger of heading back to the equivalent of foil fencing and boffer play.
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Ursus » Fri May 27, 2016 9:10 pm

Kortoso wrote:As an aside (regarding the "full-force" comments), it seems that WMA groups are tending to drift away from the sentiment of "Respect for the Sword" that arose in the early days. That is, practice, whether it's with wasters following Fechbuchs, or sharps cutting mats, or sword simulators in sparring, "should" have the same lethal character. ("Should" because it's an individual choice.)

WMA practiioners are beginning to use very light sparring weapons, which - I think - encourages un realistic strikes, which encourages unrealistic defenses. And we are in danger of heading back to the equivalent of foil fencing and boffer play.



Couldn't agree more Kortoso. The only way to truly understand the use of a sword is to well, train to use it realistically. Precautions must be taken of course. With my classes I personally train with new students as they advance to help control and increase their speed until they are comfortable going full speed with proper PPE being worn at all times.

To each their own with the sparring weapons. I do not like the new craze of foil-like feders. I prefer good ol wood wasters. Good enough for the ancients, good enough for me.
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Greg
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby Greg » Sat May 28, 2016 2:01 am

I certainly wouldn't disagree with the necessity of learning the proper way to use a sword with proper force, proper contact, and proper alignment. Doing it right is paramount. I just tend to group WMA instructors whose first description of their schools includes the words "Full force, full contact" in with SCA heavy fighters who brag about how hard they hit. Both groups have their purpose, and both replicate differing parts of historical combat...but both in those specific contexts miss the point. Train with intensity, fight with intensity...but not at the cost of hurting others, or personal ego-boost. If you're going to advertise your school to newcomers, stress the historical accuracy of your methods, and build them up into a live contact scenario, as Ursus has described his training process. Don't entice newcomers with words like "Full force, full contact". That will attract the entirely wrong group of people.
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Re: How To Find a Good HEMA Group?

Postby mcapanelli » Mon Jul 11, 2016 2:06 am

Greg wrote:I If you're going to advertise your school to newcomers, stress the historical accuracy of your methods, and build them up into a live contact scenario, as Ursus has described his training process. Don't entice newcomers with words like "Full force, full contact". That will attract the entirely wrong group of people.


Thats how the reputable schools and study groups do it. If a HEMA school or group is advertising like Tiger Schulmann's, run away. Speed and power come from the proper execution of technique, and that takes time and lots of slow, controlled practice, both alone and with partners. Intent is stepped up as confidence and control build and techniques fall in to muscle memory. If you're in a group who's emphasis is on sparring and competition and they throw you in to fighting right away without having trained out the "oh shit" responses we all have in the beginning, RUN AWAY!

IMO, for what its worth, you should advertise a complete, well rounded, historically based, martial art. Have a syllabus that takes your students from solo drills to partner drills, to partnered drills with intent, to free play, all the while stressing historically canonical techniques. Be able to explain and perform your complete syllabus for your students, all with control and the ability to vary your intent based on student level without sacrificing the techniques. If you can't do it slow, you can't do it fast.

That's my 2¢ ramble for the evening. Use salt as needed.
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