What is HEMA? Do you dress up?
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.
We don’t dress up in period costume. We leave that to the historical re-enactors. We do wear modern protective equipment when required – for some drills and for all sparring.
Aren’t swords illegal?
To possess a sword in Victoria you either need a licence or you need to be a member of an exempt organisation. VHCA, through our membership in the Western Martial Academies of Australia (WMAA) is an exempt organisation under the Victorian legislation. That means VHCA members (unless you are a prohibited person) can possess swords, as long as they are properly secured, and transport swords to and from VHCA training and events.
Do I have to be fit?
HEMA is a martial art, so you need a reasonable level of fitness, but you certainly don’t have to be an athlete to enjoy learning to use the proper techniques for historical weapons.
Our classes do involve a certain level of physical training, to help students get in shape.
What should I bring?
Yourself, some enthusiasm and a water bottle.
The club will provide some equipment for new students to use during class.
Fencing masks, protective gloves and either steel swords or rattan single sticks are used for training. Please feel free to bring your own, if you have these items.
We encourage members to obtain their own equipment when they are able. If you have any questions about this the instructors are happy to assist you in identifying quality suppliers.
What should I wear?
Comfortable clothing suitable for exercise, including runners / trainers. Jeans are NOT suitable. Proper footwear is required (no thongs or bare feet).
How much does it cost?
If you just want to come along and check out what we do, your first class is free. After that, you can attend classes on a casual basis for $20 per class.
Membership costs $50 a month ($11.50 per class) and includes with it the opportunity to have an exemption under the Control of Weapons Act (1990) for steel swords.
Additional short and introductory classes will be run throughout the year. These will be free for members but charged separately for casual students.
Am I too old or too young?
That being said, while there is no minimum age requirement, all members under the age of 15 will need to be accompanied by a guardian or parent.
There is no maximum age limit. While you may find class to be strenuous, we will not push you to attempt things you are not capable or feel willing to attempt.
I’m a member of VHCA, where can I chat to other members?
As well as liking the VHCA Page on Facebook, members can also join the VHCA Group on Facebook, which gives the instructors and students an opportunity to communicate between classes.
I’m interested in learning more about the sources you teach from, where can I find out more?
Please see the ‘Manuals’ section of our Useful Links page.
I’m a VHCA member interested in buying some equipment, do you have any recommended products?
Please speak to one of the instructors or check our Gear Guide.