There are many HEMA clubs out there and every one does things a bit differently. Of course, there is no single correct way of teaching HEMA but on this page we want to explain how we do things so you can decide of LHFC is right for you.
We want to remove as many of the barriers that stop people participating in HEMA as we can and welcome anyone who is happy to abide by our code of conduct, which you can read here.
We don’t tolerate bigotry and we stand against behaviour that discriminates against marginalised groups, including misogyny, racism, ableism, homophobia or transphobia. Of course, our understanding of what these behaviours look like has changed over the years and we know that people make honest mistakes. However, we expect our members to be open minded, respectful of others and willing to learn. This is an ongoing task and we will never be perfect but we work hard to create a space where anyone can feel welcome.
There is no one right way to do HEMA
Our classes are there to help our students to learn a historical European martial art, whatever that may mean for them. Some many want to delve into the history or become tournament champions, others might want to learn to teach their own classes in the future.
Although our classes are physical, they are not fitness sessions or boot camps. We encourage our students to learn in their own way, according to what they feel comfortable and capable of trying. While our instructors are there as guides and teachers, we trust our students to know their own bodies best, setting their own pace for drills and choosing which exercises to participate in.
Likewise, our instructors are also free to teach in their own way. They may have different interpretations from each other or different teaching philosophies and class structures. Each class will reflect their preferences and style.
We welcome feedback that can help us improve and also encourage students to try different classes to find out what works for them.
We take safety seriously. As with any martial art, there are inherent risks that come with historical fencing but responsible participation keeps these to a minimum.
This means we avoid techniques associated with a high risk of injury, we always use appropriate protective gear and weapons, and we are all responsible for fostering a culture in which we look out for each-other.
We are members of the British Martial Arts and Boxing Assocation who provide our insurance and training for our instructors. It is a condition of our insurance that all of our instructors have received first aid training.
It is important to us that LHFC is genuinely run by our members. This means our committee is accountable to the membership for how the club is run. Everyone has a say and everyone’s ideas will be listened to. Furthermore, for full transparency, our finances are published annually and a record is kept of our major decisions.
While the main forum for members is the annual general meeting, which sets our agenda for the year, we have an active and inclusive community and our members are always welcome to contribute to how LHFC is run. This might mean volunteering for the committee positions, taking on projects, such as organising workshops or social events, or just coming up with ideas for how we can make the club better.
We also recognise that not everyone has the time or resources to participate in running the club. Everyone is free to participate to the degree that works for them.
LHFC has always had an active social side with club members organising their own activities together, whether it’s museum trips to handle some real swords, getting together for some extra training in the park or just going to the pub after class, our club is a community, drawn together by our common interests. While sometimes we compete with each other in competitions and tournaments, we always respect each other as friends and colleagues.
LHFC also has strong connections to the wider HEMA community. Our members often travel across the country and even across the world to attend events, and many of our students are regular attendees at more than one club. This community spirit ensures HEMA continues growing, with every year seeing more students take up a sword for the first time, more instructors hold their first class, more treatises discovered, explored and translated, and more clubs founded.
LHFC is a registered charity. This means that everything we do must be in line with the charitable objective we registered with the Charity Commission. We cannot turn a profit and all revenue must be re-invested to achieve our charitable objectives. This means our members can be sure that their fees are being used appropriately.