Looking at two HEMA clubs. Thoughts?

Discussion in 'Western Martial Arts' started by Southpaw535, Oct 1, 2014.

  1. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I've found a couple places I could get to on a semi-regular basis and was just wondering if anyone has heard anything about either of them?

    The first one was a place called english martial arts in Guildford but their website appears to be down which is a pain in the butt.

    I also have the School of the Sword in Godalming http://www.schoolofthesword.com/index.html

    And the 1595 club which I've seen recommended on a few boards but would probably be the hardest to get to http://www.the1595.com/

    Since I know my options are limited I'm not overly fussed what material the one I go to works from or which weapons they specialise in, but I am cautious that I want to try this specifically from a historic interest standpoint so I would want to go to one that does actually work from historic sources, not just a group that messes about with swords for a bit.

    On top of that, a couple other questions:

    1. Due to distance, my mma training, and the fact I'm only a part time worker, I would only be able to afford to go to class once every two or three weeks. Seeing as these places seem to only do one or two a week anyway its not a huge loss compared to other clubs I've joined, but would instructors be particularly accommodating to that, or should I expect them to not be best pleased about it?

    2. As you might have guessed, I'm a natural lefty. Is that a problem when it comes to HEMA type training or are people generally cool with it?
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  2. Mitch

    Mitch Lord Mitch of MAP Admin

    You planning a surprise for your next MMA opponent?

  3. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    With the the disclaimer that I am in no way an expert, or ever been a member of a HEMA club or anything:

    Read the fighting manuals of whatever period you're interested in. Try and figure out for yourself where you think they're coming from.

    All the recreationists are bringing their own interpretation to the table, as well as often looking through the prism of prior MA training.

    So, you are the only real discerning factor in whether a group is being historically accurate. Look at the manuals, look at other weapon arts, look at what the HEMA club is doing, experiment for yourself.

    If you were a complete MA novice, then my answer might be different, but you should have the nouse to figure out if something could be functional, after a little experimentation.
  4. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I would love to see peoples' faces if I came to the cage with a broadsword.

    No I appreciate that. The issue I see is that there's quite a substantial amount of sources out there, with very few of them aimed at beginners. I can read, say, a Bolognese treatise but I'm not in a position to then look at a school and tell if they're doing it correctly. The same way someone could watch the ADCCs but couldn't then watch an average bjj class roll and tell if they're good or not.

    Seeing as they're going off of treatises anyway there's not actually much stopping me reading them myself and giving it a go but if I can get to a decent teacher then yay. Its easier to ask on MAP and see if anyone can save me some time is all.
  5. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    Oh, and I know I listed 3 not 2. I forgot I had another club saved in my bookmarks :p
  6. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Oh, of course. I was merely saying that when you go to a club to evaluate it (because, y'know, as per MAP SOP you should go to all of them and see which you like best ;) ) you should be able to see right away if the guys can fight or are just playing swords.

    Also, some of the fighting manuals are largely pictoral, especially the medieval ones (from the few I've seen/got). I've not looked into renaissance manuals much.

    Maybe it would be worth joining a HEMA forum and asking there? MAP appears to have lost its HEMA contingent.
  7. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Well, the truth is, neither can anyone else.

    That's the nub of my point.
  8. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    In the grander point of "is this exact to what they did" no. In the sense of "does this school suggest to you they don't suck generally?" yes they can. Maybe I made a mistake in saying I wanted a place that was historically accurate when what I meant was more that I wanted somewhere that does seem to be making use of sources and hasn't made everything up. Which I assume then puts you outside the HEMA label.
  9. David Harrison

    David Harrison MAPper without portfolio

    Ah, ok. You mean if they're actually trying to follow the historical documents or not?

    I get'cha.

    Re-enactment LARPing types are pretty easy to spot, as they will use bog-standard stage-fighting stuff and generally look like they barely know which end of their weapon to hold. [edit: that school of the sword looks legit, from a cursory look. This is their main source: http://jan.ucc.nau.edu/~wew/other/gr/ ]
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  10. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    In hindsight saying I want a HEMA school and not a LARP one would of made life a lot easier.

    Although I am tempted by LARPing admittedly...
  11. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    School of the Sword has certainly caught my attention before.
  12. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    I forgot to mention the Sussex Sword Academy http://www.hadesign.co.uk/SSA/

    which has the bonus of not having any systems I'm less interested in learning. Scottish broadsword sounds different and fun anyway.

    I'm mildly concerned with SOTS saying they have a curriculum for two swords when flicking through their sources I can't find any reference to it and I'm fairly sure it wasn't a thing. I know the head instructor has a history in performance art so there's a chance it comes more from that

    EDIT: Further googling shows I can't get home from the Sussex academy so never mind on that one.
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2014
  13. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

  14. boards

    boards Its all in the reflexes!

    What types of weapons are you interested in, two handed swords from the medieval period, rapiers, small swords etc.

    School of the sword for example appears to be mainly rapiers.
  15. boards

    boards Its all in the reflexes!

    There are a few people who wrote about two swords, Di Grassi and Marozzo are the ones that comes to mind first. Have a look at Alfred Hutton's books if you are interested as he talks about it a little and it has the added benefit of being in modern english. I believe it is in Old Sword Play, you should be able to find it for download for free.
  16. Dan93

    Dan93 Valued Member

    I have heard good things about the Guildford school run by a chap called Oz at the Spectrum (From memory), Not a million miles from Staines so I have run into a few of his students, one who trains at my Jujitsu Dojo and trains with them from time to time and a couple back in my Kung Fu days who also trained Krav Maga with me.

    On my to do list but class times clash with my current work, worth a look anyway... I trained for giggles with a group in Kingston that would spar in armour but they were honest that they worked with a specifc ruleset and it was not true HEMA. Fun through and a good workout plus I got to train Longbow!
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2014
  17. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    In an ideal world I would have liked a place that did longsword, dagger and grappling. I'm more interested in learning more of the war-ish styles over the choices I have which seem to be mostly focused on Italian duelling. But I don't have a real aversion to learning either and it does seem interesting in its own way. Rapier and cloak for example is a cool concept.
  18. Dean Winchester

    Dean Winchester Valued Member

    Look for Backsword!

    I'm only saying that because I'd love to do it. :D
  19. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    Rapier is a military weapon and they appear to do Alfieri's greatsword as well. Even I.33 the oldest medieval source primarily deals with one on one combat, I'd argue that the battlefield situation is more about tactics than techniques.
    The cool thing with Italian rapier is you get specialisation and variety because of the off hand weapons.
  20. Southpaw535

    Southpaw535 Well-Known Member Moderator Supporter

    The off hand stuff does sound very fun.

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