Friday, February 3, 2012

Lately I've been worried about something - that I do not have the necessary self-motivation to pursue HEMA to the highest degree. That is, one of my ambitions had always been to become one of "the Names" in WMA - you know, the people who seem to be on the instructor list of almost any event, the people who when you think of a specific art you think of them (example: Italian rapier = Tom Leoni). The thing is that I've always known this about myself - even as a musician during high school I really didn't like solo practice. Group practice I looked forward too but I couldn't really get up the gumption to practice the sax on my own on a regular basis, but I would practice because it was necessary for group practice/concerts to go well. While I was living in Eugene, solo practice was easy for the same reason - it made group lessons at UO or the salle go smoother (and there was the added pressure of teaching).

Part of what has put me into a non-practice rut since moving from Eugene (I think) is partially due to money issues. My wife is in her first year of teaching after finishing graduate school, I am contemplating graduate school, and so thinking about buying new armour, or enough wasters to start teaching Armizare, traveling half-way across the country for events, etc. begins to put a strain on our finances that we just can't handle right now. That is the reason I've been looking into other sword arts to study - arts that require less armour to practice, arts whose weapons are less expensive, etc. - because longswords, poleaxes, and their required bouting/safe practice armour is expensive.

Options so far have included:
-Sword & Buckler (of various traditions)
-Bolognese School
-Military Sabre
-Backsword/Baskethilt swords (mainly because single-sticks are cheap)

I uess I'm jsut putting this out there is the hope that others have had the same issues and maybe have some advice for me?


Michael S said...

Personally, I'm not interested in becoming a 'HEMA-household-name', just in becoming a better fighter for a particularly unlikely set of circumstances. But I doubt that I could become a respected authority on a martial art without being good at it. By training at it tons. And in my experience, nothing will keep you motivated and 'into' HEMA like a group of enthusiastic people to train with (or better yet, a good coach and/or instructor).

To be honest, if you're looking for a 'supplementary' Martial art to support Armizare, I think that you could do worse than visiting and finding your nearest decent MMA gym. MMA tends to demand athleticism, and be thin on moaning and navel-gazing, in favour of training, coaching and getting better at fighting. Besides, wrestling needs very little kit...

Personally, I'm debating getting back into Olympic fencing for similar reasons - so I can examine good coaching and training firsthand.

SM said...

What do you mean about longsword being expensive? To do solo drills you need a weapon (maybe $200), to do unarmoured pair drills you need a weapon, gloves, a fencing mask, and a sturdy jacket (maybe $400). After a few hundred hours of practice or so, someone might add a gorget, rigid hand knee and elbow armour, and a steel helmet for maybe $400 more and have sufficient kit for sparring with steel. I don't see how any weapon art (except pure knife and stick ones) could be cheaper; even a rubber knife in the face at speed is bad news.

Alex said...


I really hope you were being sarcastic. If not then please just remember that "expensive" is a relative term - relative to each individual's economic status. My 3 years pay from work = the change Phil Knight finds in his couch.

SM said...

No, that was a serious question about longsword being expensive -relative to other weapon arts-. Armed martial arts are a $50/month hobby in North America, which isn't negligible, but you seemed to think you could find something cheaper. I don't understand how another sword art would be much cheaper, unless you want to spar or train in harness (or can find a big group which can split insurance and hall fees among more people!) Backsword and rapier and sword and buckler folks seem to need just as much equipment for pair drills as longsword groups do.

I don't know your economic situation, just what you post here. I didn't mean to hit a sore spot.