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Historical European Martial Arts

Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) are the systems and traditions of combat that originated in continental Europe from classical antiquity to the early modern period.

Little knowledge of these traditions exists from before the late middle ages. But beginning in the 14th century it became common to record the techniques and philosophies of combat in manuscripts and printed form so that instruction could be spread to a wider audience. The most common subject matter written about is the use of the sword, in all its many forms.

As dead arts (or at least having evolved beyond recognition) it is only from these treatises that we can learn and begin to reconstruct the methods their contemporaries may have fought with.


Two fencers practice a thrust before a judicial duel in Padua, Italy - 1395

Historical Fencing

Historical Fencing (HF) is the modern training and use of Historical European Martial Arts. While one can gain great insight into the past from the study of the historical sources, these ancient systems of combat are obsolete in the modern world.

However, the use of Historical European Martial Arts has developed into a quickly growing sport. Similar to the events seen in the Olympics, competitions and trainings are held across the world in the various systems and weapons that were used in medieval Europe.

At SHF we don't only train traditional techniques, we take an active and athletic approach to the practice. While we don't train for self defense, we still train to fight against other modern practitioners of the sport.


Two fencers practice a thrust before a tournament in Helsinki, Finland - 2022

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