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Swedish HEMA in the News!

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by Meg Floyd

Fightplay.tv recently ran an article about HEMA in Sweden which is quite good, that you should check out here.

If you can’t read Swedish, here’s an (uncorrected, as I am not fluent in Swedish) version of the article by Simon Kölle in English below.

All Swedish unions have martial arts in their operations have gotten the same questions and these are about what is happening in their sports / martial form and whether, and if so, what important competitions or other events that are happening in the sport in 2014.

In Sweden exercised about 30 different martial arts, and within these are in turn a great variety of styles. In the current situation has said that all those with questions and about half responded. Instead of heaving this project into the lake so I have decided to publish it in parts, and let those who actually answered a voice. Those who have not yet answered calls I obviously they respond as a real picture of Swedish martial arts can be presented.

Overall, the smaller unions were more likely to respond to my questions and additionally write more extensively.

Did you miss Part 1 of this series? Read about it here:

HEMA is training and study of historical fencing, martial arts and combat where the main focus often lies on the longsword, sword and buckler, rod and spear, saber, rapier and medieval wrestling. Fighting sports are based on authentic historical techniques and sources and in different quantities allow themselves the different compounds are inspired and in some contexts, copy the old manuals. This type of martial arts or martial art called drinker HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) and is a generic term for various types of martial arts of European origin.

You often think of Asia when you hear the word martial arts, but in fact the fight and fought did also of course at all times, even in Europe. The writing of the so-called fäktmanualer (out fencing master) has been the basis and inspired all sorts of other martial arts of all time. HEMA is today a small niche, however, in the martial arts world and although the strongly growing so it’s no huge amounts practitioners and fans yet. Potentially, however HEMA become how big any time and sports in itself is exciting and very different from the more sportifierade fencing that many think of when they hear the fencing and called Sport Fencing.

HEMA in Sweden now have a covenant, and with that in mind, it felt entirely obvious to interview representatives of HEMA on its situation and, not least, what happens in 2014. Given the generous answers will Fightplay.tv absolutely continue to write about HEMA. The figures are not official but evidence suggests that, in Sweden, nearly 400 practitioners of HEMA.

Niklas Mårdby ‘s his name representing HEMA in Sweden, and also also is a trainer at the Gothenburg Historical Fäktskola.

I must first say that it’s great that you want to write about HEMA! It happens very HEMA in both Sweden and the world and 2014 could potentially be a historic year for us in many ways.

What’s on in Sweden in 2014?

– Our union is in its third year of operation and on Saturday, January 11, we held an extraordinary annual meeting to vote on whether we want to apply for membership of the Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation. It leaned against that we would vote, which meant that our application went in to SB & K same weekend. If my conversations with August Wallen may be an indication of how SB & K agrees to a request from us to see it all very positive. As he said the other week when we had lunch, “You’ve been doing in international competitions with rules approved by the Martial Arts Delegation so then you are of course a martial art and belong in the SB & K. To not let you would be wrong.” So this year has really potential to be historic. You can understand how exciting this feels!

After the meeting, the union wrote the following:

Today was held the extraordinary annual meeting in Örebro. All Member associations were represented either in person or via conference phone which feels very good. What makes it even better is that all member associations had their own extraordinary general meeting to discuss the issue at home.

The meeting today gave all associations to share their opinions and when we went to vote were asked 11 votes out of 11 possible.

Today, the Swedish HEMA Alliance applied to become members of the Swedish Budo & Martial Arts Federation!

Very interesting! Please continue to tell you about 2014.

– The highlight of the Swedish HEMA is the event Swordfish in Gothenburg. The event has extremely high status internationally. Would be so fun if you could cover the event. First, it is a training camp with workshops with top instructors from around the world and also hosts the world’s biggest and baddest HEMA competitions with many of the world’s best HEMA fighters. Swordfish is held All Saints ie. last weekend of October / first weekend in November. This year the it fri. 31/10 – Sun 2/11.

The last two years we have had the live stream which covered the finals on Saturday night. A night where the event’s 200 participants sitting in the audience and cheering. Absolutely wonderful atmosphere!

Live stream Swordfish 2013

Live stream Swordfish 2012

The races at Swordfish is not for beginners but the event has plenty to offer for those who are new to the HEMA and is extremely affordable. It is an event with a big heart, very social and open to learning about new HEMAieter and try out very new.

A smaller event that is perhaps even more friendly for beginners, Vasa team, an event in Uppsala in March. More info athttp://www.uhfs.se/wordpress/?p=286. , it is both workshops with top instructors from Sweden and even competitions more suitable for beginners. It is also during this event that Swedish HEMA Federation wont hold its regular annual meeting.

Then we have a “new” and exciting initiatives: Nordic Historical Fencing League. Hosted on FB here:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nordic-Historical-Fencing-League/187848271402969

NHFL is the world’s first international HEMA league, an initiative to rank fighters across two or more of the Following tournaments: Bergen Open, Copenhagen Open, Helsinki Open and Örebro Open.

The idea is that up and coming fighters who are not yet established themselves in Swordfish or other major competitions to be able to get a ranking by being involved in two or more contests in the North. Neither Norway, Denmark or Finland HEMA covenant than that this is viewed a bit like a step in weaving together HEMA scene in each country, in addition to so clearly strengthen HEMA in the Nordic countries. The league is than new and will probably need a few years to grow into themselves but have received very positive feedback and has great value to HEMA. Would be exciting if you could cover it.

What is happening internationally in 2014?

– I sit on a working group with participants from all national associations in Europe. The working group’s goal is to do all the preparatory work in order to form an international HEMA federation. The goal is to call a formation meeting in February this year. The International Association intends to work to strengthen HEMA, both as a sport and martial art. One option being examined is to see if the international HEMA Alliance can join Sport Accord to strengthen Hemas status sport internationally. Personally I hope to see HEMA at the World Combat Games if not this year then in the near future!

I may mention that the same trip as the Swedish HEMA Association makes to seek national status of sport through its national sport is a journey that many other national HEMA unions are doing around Europe. We are not unique or alone in wanting to strengthen Hemas status of sportsmen.

Since there are lots of exciting events around the world in the coming year. Here is a page that lists a number of events for the coming year: http://www.hroarr.com/events/. All of these have international instructors top notch and great competitions

Dreynevent, February http://www.dreynevent.com/. Here comes the founding meeting of the international HEMA förbndet held beyond bunch of workshops and competitions.

Some larger estimated events that are not up on Hroarr than:

Fight Camp, August, UK www.fightcamp.co.uk Kriegschule, Florida Fechtschule America, Houston Texas Long Point, USA

What all these events have in common is that they are an important part of the Hemas culture. Instructors with high international standing holding workshops with different focus. Partly different weapons but also from different fäktmanualer & traditions. It becomes a way of disseminating the latest advances and research in HEMA. HEMA’ve no live “masters” but we recreate the systems masters in historical times taught, and every year it happens so much in all different clubs so the events will be a way to gather, share knowledge and experiences. At the same time kept the contests in which fighters can test their skills with each other. In recent years, increased demands on instructors. You should not just be good at to talk about, write about and teach HEMA. You can show what you are made of. You should not only stand for your opinion and knowledge with words but also with sword in hand to prove that your opinions and knowledge can produce results on the mat.

Hope this gives a little better picture beyond what you already know about the HEMA.

Thanks so much for the thorough answers. That said, we will most likely return with news of HEMA! Good luck now Swedish HEMA Federation!

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