Musing on the Study of HEMA 2

"Whatever this tool in the hand of man will produce depends entirely on the nature of the goals alive in this mankind." - Albert Einstein

In my opinion most of the current big debates and antagonisms in the wider HEMA community stem from having ambiguous goals and the fact that many do not understand that the Historical European Martial Arts (plural) are tools that were intended for and can be used for many different purposes.

Its easy to see why people get frustrated, they understand (sometimes incoherently) that they are trying to achieve something (let's say, to accurately recreate a practical fighting art from a treatise) and when others also use the same treatise to different ends (cherry pick technique to get better at fighting in modern tournaments) they feel like these other people are trying to deviate them from their One True Goal.

In these arguments about the use of HEMA those people who espouse the One True Goal are confusing the means (HEMA) with their own personal goals.

To say you are doing a Historical European martial art is mainly defined by the use of the tool (treastises) not necessarily what you use the tool for. To my mind if you use the treatises for one of their historically intended purposes (of which actual combat, tournament combat, friendly sparring, solo drilling are all types) they you are doing HEMA.

Therefore the entire debate around "are tournaments good for the study of a Historical European Martial Art" is largely ridiculous. The questions should be "are tournaments good for the study of X type of use for a Historical European Martial Art." And if you are intending to learn actual combat then modern tournaments might not be good. But equally if you want to learn historical salle, tournament and friendly sparring then modern tournaments are probably ok.

I predict it won't be long before we develop distinct sub-catagories of HEMA and that largely this will be good for the community.


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