Friday, 11 March 2011

Apparently this sort of thing is deeply offensive to some folks...personally I couldn't care less.

I do wonder why though: perhaps it is do to your own uncertainty? Perhaps it is envy?

Who knows for sure...but I do think that those that protest the loudest often have the most to lose.

anywho, my footing is's yours?


  1. I am curious, what is *it* that could be considered offensive in those epics?

    In two of them armoured techniques are being shown hence armour. Is it that some people train in armour? the period foundation garments?

    Ir just that some people prefer to wear period inspired clothing? In which case only one of those pics applies and even then it is better than a lot of that alternatives, like the stork trooper look. :-)

  2. It would be the latter my friend...such choices would seem to make some folks rather uncomfortable. I truly wonder what it is that sparks such fear in them.

    For myself I couldn't care less what one wears as long as the skill is evident.

  3. Personally, I feel that armoured fighting can't be replicated well without the combatants wearing armour from the context that the technique is from.

    On the other hand, I also think that there's no need to wear historically appropriate costume when practising unarmoured techniques or fencing. In terms of safety, the Eastern Europeans and their 'stormtrooper' garb is spot on for me. It shows the tradition HEMA evolved from, and the martial intent behind it.

    I don't like dressing up under most other circumstances. Sometimes when presenting to a specific audience it might be useful, like the recent GHFS display. It gets the context across. A lot of the time though it implies role-playing games or re-enactment, something that I feel HEMA needs to be differentiated from.

    When that's combined with Sacred Orders and accusations of unchivalrous behaviour? That can just piss right off, that's not a game I'm interested in confusing with HEMA. To me it detracts from the martial intent, for one thing.

    I'm secure enough to know trust that skill will be self-evident. But having a couple of people in the park do 'HEMA' when wearing butted maille and helms without padding just makes me cringe. I think you know what I'm referring to Johann ;P

  4. Just to add, deciding to wear period clothing probably doesn't help interacting with academia...

  5. Helms without padding? I'm going ouch before there's even a hit...

    Mind you, I'm going with "there's nothing wrong about wearing historical outfits to do historic martial arts". Especially if you're happy to downplay any relevance to "modern" combat scenarios (unlike, say, Jay Vail, who seems to insist medieval dagger fighting is better than modern knife styles. I have no dog in that fight, beyond the initial monocle-pop of surprise) and do HEMA as Akido.

    Wait. No. That's not what I want my HEMA to be at all. But that doesn't mean I don't think wearing period clothes is wrong, just not convenient or necessary.

    One final self-contradiction. I do think it's worth trying out the period outfit and shoes at least once to consider the impact that it might have on how you move, balance, can stretch etc. But then I realise I'm disagreeing with Anders. I will leave now.

  6. @Mike: I don't know what you are referring helmet was padded just fine.
    @Pete: I am in agreement with you. Some folks however, seem to be scared of admitting that both approaches are valuable in its own way.

    Life doesn't have to be an either or situation...but then most folks seem to prefer life as a black or white situation and find gray terrifying.


  7. I was referring to this Johann:

    If the 'Great Helm' was padded, then it must have been really poorly fitted. Either way, I seem to remember that he swapped it for a fencing mask after not too long:

    In either case, the point I was making about poor attempts at historical costume not helping HEMA are valid - certainly his costume was incredibly inaccurate to the point where he couldn't fight in it. More than that, the reaction of my girlfriend on seeing that photo was 'Who is that LARPing?', and the reaction of a friend who walked past that day was 'Why are you LARPing?'.

    To my mind, when passers by can't tell if you're playing a role-playing game or doing a martial art then something is wrong.

    I'm not disagreeing with your 'live at let live' view. If people want to try and combine re-enactment and historical european martial arts then I wish them the best of luck, and it's something I'd be interested in. But I'm still going to cringe at and mock half-arsed attempts. Poor HEMA is poor HEMA, and bad re-enactment is bad re-enactment. Combining the two just makes things worse.

    (Just to add, I don't have anything against role-playing games or LARP, we both know this. I just don't like them in my martial arts.)

  8. Spot on Mike.
    To be fair...that was meant as a bit of fun since we had some kit. But yes it was a bit rubbish.

  9. That is an explanation that works, done 'properly/suitably' it's nothing to be get your back up, but combining a mishmash of approaches in an ad hoc fashion does detract from the levels of serious intent.
    That said I'm always happy to 'dress up' and have nothing against either approach when viewed/performed with proper conduct and intent.

  10. Back to this late.

    Personally I am not against a modern look, I like the black fencing jacket approach for example. I do however really dislike the stormtrooper look with with bike armour. It's as bad as the half arsed LARP look to me as it looks like you should be using a lightsabre. :-)

    I also have not problem with period clothes given context. If practicing in armour I think you need to use period cloths just to get it all working together. Even when doing demonstrations (our group sometimes goes into schools to give demo's for example) then I think period cloths are ok as is the this is a modern MA look.

    I don't see any need for wearing period clothes at a regular practice session though.

    I think is you are going to wear period clothes you should at least make an effort to get it as right as possible. Rather than generic 'garb'. Many is the debate I have had about this. Otherwise it is just half arsed re-enactment.

    I find the whole thing get's me quite conflicted as either approach done badly is pants.

  11. Commenting on more modern gear I have to say I am not fond of my own lacrosse armour setup, and when time/funds allow will hopeful change to a more suitable 'fencing masters jacket' with some additional protection style as indeed both worlds have their problems, that said I for one could benefit from extra padding for my bones in a hurry.

  12. Motley: "....I find the whole thing get's me quite conflicted as either approach done badly is pants..."

    I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one who is conflicted on this point. It is a delicate balancing act in which each component plays it's role well if done right.

    oh, and as long as no one calls themselves "sir" I think it can work well ;^)

  13. ...and Ben, we'll get you suitably attired in due course.