When you come along for your first session at the club, you might have some questions about what to bring or what to expect. Here are the things you need to know.
Give us a heads up
While it isn’t a major problem for you to drop in to most sessions without any prior notice, it will help the instructor to know if new people will be coming for a first session. Please contact us and drop us a quick message to let us know that you will be coming, so that we can expect you!
Where to find us
Also it sounds like a simple task, most people find it difficult to find the venue for the first time. If you look at our Find Us – Location page, you will see the address, the parking situation, the nearby train stations, and a quick video showing exactly how to get to the hall from the main gates of the campus.
What to bring with you
In terms of fencing masks, gloves, and training swords, we have plenty of equipment to borrow. No need to worry about any of this! However, if you do have your own fencing mask already, then please bring that with you.
Although we have a uniform of black trousers and blue shirt for club members, you don’t need to worry about it for your first session. Come wearing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that will allow for movement – jeans and denim are typically a bad idea. You should bring sensible indoor footwear; boots, high heels, and formal shoes are not recommended!
A bottle of water is also a good idea.
What is the training and sword fighting like?
Our approach to learning HEMA is to train it in a functional fashion, as a proper martial art. We usually begin with a gentle warm-up to loosen off the body and to get our heads in the zone, then we do some very simple solo drills or paired drills. These drills gradually increase in complexity over the course of the session. This means that sessions are entirely accessible to new people, while they still contain value for more experienced practitioners.
We are not a re-enactment club, nor do we do bohurt or HMB style fighting. We focus on reconstructing a particular kind of sword fighting from historical source material, and making that work in a functional and effective fashion.
Do we do any sparring?
Yes; sparring is an important part of our training process.
However, we tend not to do much sparring on regular Wednesday evenings, although we try to arrange an afternoon for sparring every month or two. You probably don’t need to worry about this on your first night!
The kind of sparring that we do is not particularly heavy-contact or competitive in focus, although some of our members are very skilful and quite accomplished fencers, and some of us have won medals in competitions. If you would like to see what our HEMA sparring tends to look like, please take a look at these sparring videos.
Is there a fee for the first night?
What about a membership fee?
We do have an annual membership fee, but you don’t need to worry about this for your first two or three sessions. Come along and give it a go to see if you like it before making any commitments to membership or buying your own equipment.