New to HEMA, new to the Forum

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New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Mobius » 01 Sep 2012 12:16

Hello everyone!

I have just been through the process of joining all the forums and absorbing all the new resources. One of the questions I have in joining the forum concerns that part of transition from being someone whom has never attended any martial art or event, to that part when one realises that they have always loved the idea of sword-mastery and just discovered that it was possible to take up seriously, and then the crushing realisation that there are no classes or practitioners around or classes to get to.

I am in Colchester and there are few and far between resources. Add to this the time and resources mean that I cannot travel (to London for instance) on a regular enough time schedule. Moping and wailing aside, I am beginning to get determined to just start my own group and get on with it.

Now consider that I am a relatively old and girthy gentleman of great enthusiasm and studious nature, but have no experience. I can run a business, manage teams, form curriculums, organise and research to the Nth degree, but does it seem theoretically possible to set up a new group from scratch - from absolute zero?

I think so but I am hoping to see where the long advice contained in these forums will take me. So far, all the schools and organisations I have spoken to seem to be generally encouraging and positive people. I know thee will be help and advice aplenty.

M
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby admin » 01 Sep 2012 12:54

Hi M and welcome to the forum. I'm going to move this to a different part of the forum where it will get noticed more easily. I'll chip in at some point, but I'll let others go first :).
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby KeithFarrell » 01 Sep 2012 13:01

What sort of HEMA are you looking to study? Some disciplines are much easier to start with from scratch than others!

If something like Scottish broadsword takes your fancy then send me an email to academy@triquetra-services.org and my organisation can give you a lot of pointers and help with setting up :)
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Cutlery Penguin » 01 Sep 2012 13:17

Hi Mobius,

Welcome to the forums, the first thing I should say is that it is perfectly feasible to set up a new group from scratch. Every group out there started at some stage and there are very few true child groups about (where an instructor was trained entirely within the association they are now running a club for).

The hardest thing about running a group is having the motivation to get it past those depressing early days when you have few members and you end up subsidising all the expenses out of your own pocket and you still have to turn up even though you'd rather just collapse on the sofa. But if you're willing to put the effort into marketing, constantly learning yourself, and being the enthusiastic driving force at every training session you will end up with a good sized group of great people, some of whom will end up as great friends.

Like the other guys say before we can offer any specific help we kinda need to know what it is that interests you. If the English Martial Arts Academy can help just let me know...
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Mobius » 01 Sep 2012 13:23

Thank you Emperor Admin.

My interest lies in the Longsword, and I have some vain hope that the Italian tradition and the German tradition can both be followed simultaneously. High hopes.

The sword in any form is of interest though, but I have an 'inner' sword that I cannot shake from my preconceptions. A hand and a half sword. From what I can tell Fiore training is closest to what I am thinking of but I need to learn and research more, let alone beginning.

Keith, I will take you up on your kind offer of advice though. I will send an email shortly.

I will also email everyone who offers because advice at the start may be just the form of motivation required. Just knowing it is possible is a great start. So, thank you Cutlery Penguin for that.
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby admin » 01 Sep 2012 13:31

Something else really worthwhile is trying to get to any HEMA events or short seminars happening within driving distance. For example I organise occasional weekend day seminars, as does Cutlery Penguin and a bunch of other people who post here. Keep an eye on the events section.
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Cutlery Penguin » 01 Sep 2012 16:30

Mobius wrote:My interest lies in the Longsword, and I have some vain hope that the Italian tradition and the German tradition can both be followed simultaneously. High hopes.

The sword in any form is of interest though, but I have an 'inner' sword that I cannot shake from my preconceptions. A hand and a half sword. From what I can tell Fiore training is closest to what I am thinking of but I need to learn and research more, let alone beginning.


You could do a hell of a lot worse than to get along to Matt's (Admin) class on Tuesday every now and again if Fiore is your thing. Check he's doing Longsword though because he's rapidly turning into a sabre monkey... :P

Keith, I will take you up on your kind offer of advice though. I will send an email shortly.

I will also email everyone who offers because advice at the start may be just the form of motivation required. Just knowing it is possible is a great start. So, thank you Cutlery Penguin for that.


I'm happy to offer any advice I can, I've set up a lot of clubs over the years, some successful and some less so. Just drop me a line if I can help.
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Mobius » 02 Sep 2012 13:14

I will come back with more relevant details on my plans and more questions that come with that. At present i am working through the theoretical planning, obviously a long way form actually doing it.

Cutlery Penguin wrote:The hardest thing about running a group is having the motivation to get it past those depressing early days when you have few members and you end up subsidising all the expenses out of your own pocket and you still have to turn up even though you'd rather just collapse on the sofa. But if you're willing to put the effort into marketing, constantly learning yourself, and being the enthusiastic driving force at every training session you will end up with a good sized group of great people, some of whom will end up as great friends...


I go through many questions but I think it just comes down to starting the process and seeing where I get to.

However: if i am an individual teaching myself the Longsword and I hire a venue to do so am I required to get insurance?

If I ask around for people who may wish to join me, but I myself do not claim to be an instructor, am I required to get public liability, professional indemnity or personal injury insurance?

It seems like a slippery slope from a single practitioner doing his own thing to liable group. There must be loads of study groups who just practice their thing but they would be, I presume, students of other places too.

I know the best way is to join a group or attend a class but one of my main limitations is in not having the time or resources to travel (I do not drive, family and work are full time, etc), which is why I am going down this path. Once I had laid it out in my mind it seem perfectly doable, but who knows...

Here is the basic plan:
    To set up a group of like minded practitioners of Historical European Swordmastery that would form the founding members of a study group.
    The group would focus on the Longsword, drawing primarily from, but not limited to, the texts of Fiore dei Liberi and the Italian tradition.
    To pool resources of a group in order to train.
    To take all of those first members of the group who wish it to the point where they can qualify as certified trainers, in order to further the groups ability to expand.
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 02 Sep 2012 13:49

Hi Mobius,

Just out of curiosity originally I wanted to ask:
Why do you need a formal group just to study Fiore & Co at all?

With your last post you have answered some of my questions. I was in your situation roughly 4 years ago: limited knowledge, limited resources in a small Eastern European country, 200 km away from the capital.

Probably you don't need a formal group, hiring a venue, advertising, insurance etc. It might happen that all you need is 2-3 equally determined individuals (just total beginners) who share your passion for sword fencing. You could start by training outdoor at weekends, let's say once per week. If you don't have previous martial arts or sport experience you might need several months to reach an acceptable fitness level.

The most difficult part is to find those enthusiastic people. They could be found among older ex-sport fencers, re-enactors, LARPers or just - completely - lay people. Currently I study sabre fencing with 4 training partners: my girlfriend, a 42-year-old re-enactor who wants to improve his fencing skills, a 31-year-old instructor from a big Hungarian HEMA fencing school, and a 17-year-old total beginner. And there are 2-3 additional individuals already in the pipeline. For instance this week I had 3 fencing opportunities basically absolutely free.
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Cutlery Penguin » 02 Sep 2012 17:52

Mobius wrote:However: if i am an individual teaching myself the Longsword and I hire a venue to do so am I required to get insurance?


There is little that requires you to get insurance. Some venues insist on seeing a valid certificate before allowing you to hire their facilities, but some aren't bothered. The question you need to ask is do you need the expense of a proper venue yet?

If I ask around for people who may wish to join me, but I myself do not claim to be an instructor, am I required to get public liability, professional indemnity or personal injury insurance?


It becomes a good idea if you find yourself in a position of responsibility for others, but it is not required of you.

It seems like a slippery slope from a single practitioner doing his own thing to liable group. There must be loads of study groups who just practice their thing but they would be, I presume, students of other places too.


There are very few people I know who run groups and are not also students in one way or another, however how you want to run the group is down to you. Even if you go for the study group approach I would strongly advise you to take ownership of it and ensure that it remains yours, that way you can ensure it doesn't fail for lack of leadership and focus. You might not see yourself as an instructor yet, but you should be the guy selecting which bit you are going to look it, which techniques you are going to practice and so on.

I know the best way is to join a group or attend a class but one of my main limitations is in not having the time or resources to travel (I do not drive, family and work are full time, etc), which is why I am going down this path. Once I had laid it out in my mind it seem perfectly doable, but who knows...


It is perfectly doable. There are plenty of books, pdfs, videos and discussion forums to ensure you can direct your study effectively until you can get to another class yourself. I would strongly advise that you get to one or two when you can, for example if you came to one of my classes you would be getting the benefit of the experience I have gained from up to 15 years worth of mistakes in interpretation, poor technique and general failure, if you start from scratch you might end up making exactly the same mistakes yourself...

Here is the basic plan:
    To set up a group of like minded practitioners of Historical European Swordmastery that would form the founding members of a study group.
    The group would focus on the Longsword, drawing primarily from, but not limited to, the texts of Fiore dei Liberi and the Italian tradition.
    To pool resources of a group in order to train.
    To take all of those first members of the group who wish it to the point where they can qualify as certified trainers, in order to further the groups ability to expand.


That sounds like a decent plan, but the first thing you need to do find people that share your interest. I would recommend training in a local park on a weekend , that way you will generate a little passing interest. Also don't be afraid to put flyers and posters everywhere you can, eventually word of mouth will bring people in, but until then you have to find every single person.

The I'd recommend spending some time reading all the threads in the Fiore forum, and watching all the linked videos. That should give you some ideas to start with. Do you have any training equipment yet?
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Mobius » 02 Sep 2012 21:38

Wow, these are all good thoughts, good direction. Thanks.

Ok, I am starting to feel that the only thing that could stop me is myself. I think I am going to set up a full plan of action and set it all out. Just so I know where my resources are, exactly what I intend to study; my Manifesto, as it were.

This forum will most likely be the first to read it.

I will be drawing on my day job in digital marketing to get the message across but I can really see that the nature of a group and the dynamics involved are crucial to any success but at the same time any group needs a core point.

Anything else I say here is most likely going to be just to convince myself, so time to get on with it.

Thanks again.
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Scoobing » 02 Sep 2012 22:24

I've just read your thread and definatly go for it I'm in a similar position to you I'm currently starting a HEMA group in Manchester with lots of help from Paul B and we will be having our first meeting in October I'm hoping people will turn out for it, but definatly do it and I hope it works out for you
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 03 Sep 2012 07:44

Cutlery Penguin wrote:... That sounds like a decent plan, but the first thing you need to do find people that share your interest. I would recommend training in a local park on a weekend , that way you will generate a little passing interest.

QFT
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Griffin » 14 Apr 2014 21:11

Hi everyone, I am new to the forum and have attended a Fight Camp in the past. I highly recommend it for anyone new to European Martial Arts. Everyone I met were very welcoming and it was very refreshing to mix with others that have the same interest as you.

I live in the Netherlands now and know there is a school nearby so will be investigating soon.

Looking forward to learning more about the art and meeting many of you in the near future.

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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby swordflasher » 14 Apr 2014 22:38

Hi M

Another recommendation to start by finding one (or two or three) like-minded person/ people and share resources and enthusiasm and train together as equals. Chose a longsword book as your curriculum and work through it together. Attend occasional events even if you can't go regularly. A school may grow from that as required, if enough people join you.

As for finding fellow enthusiasts.. Anyone got any advice?

Best wishes,

Mike
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Re: New to HEMA, new to the Forum

Postby Magnus Hagelberg » 16 Apr 2014 21:25

Scourge forums like this one Mike. Sometimes you find a lurker/old devil sly persson hiding in the bushes.
they can be as enthusiastic as youreself. Facebook is another hunting ground. Not as fruitfull. Best of luck.
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Postby Ulrich von L...n » 17 Apr 2014 08:30

...and know there is a school nearby so will be investigating soon.

It seems that there is a real local possibility to train with a HEMA (?) group.
Mike, best of luck!
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