The Victorian Historical Combat Academy (VHCA) is a Melbourne-based Historical European Martial Arts School teaching students how to use 19th Century Italian military sabre in a safe and friendly environment. As time permits we’ll also be looking at other combatives from the 1800s, including la canne (singlestick), the rifle-bayonet and other Victorian-era fighting styles.

An article about us in the Herald Sun newspaper can be found here.

People learn HEMA for many reasons, including:

  • Swords!
  • No, seriously, SWORDS!
  • It’s fun!
  • It improves fitness and self-discipline
  • You’ll meet new people who hold similar interests to you
  • You’ll learn about European military history
  • You can participate in tournaments and exhibitions in Melbourne, around Australia and all over the world.
  • You understand that when I say ‘swords’, I mean, actual swords, right?

People involved in Historical European Martial Arts (sometimes called Western Martial Arts) study, translate, interpret and practice martial arts that were used in Europe in the 13th to 19th centuries.

Fortunately for us, a number of weapons masters in those times wrote and illustrated manuscripts that describe the weapons and proper techniques for using them effectively. A small number of those manuscripts have survived to the present day. HEMA scholars have translated those manuscripts and, combining those translations with what we know of modern biomechanics and physiology, we can now teach those historical martial arts in the modern day.

Today, thousands of people all over the world are involved in HEMA, practicing techniques from a number of historical sources.