I was looking into practising HEMA(Historical European Martial Arts) for many years, but when I had the money, I didn't have the time or vice versa. Now I have finally found (let's hope) a stable job and I have time, at least on weekends, but my local club closed 3 years ago. Contacting members of the old one is totally out of the question. I don't know why, but that is the answer I got when asked.

So, I don't have any option other than starting my own club, as it also takes too much time and money to travel to another town with an existing club for practice.

I talked to two members of the Spanish association of historic fencing (I live in Spain, by the way) and they offered help, which consists of training and advice.

The thing is, many people asked about a HEMA club in my town but when I tried to contact them they didn't answer, or are no longer interested. Two friends of mine are okay with the idea, but I am not sure how reliable they are.

Right now, I am trying to find a weekend to have a first basic try with those friends, in a club of one of guys from the association. He offered basic training to start practising.

It would be great if anyone could give some advice.

The main thing I want to know is how viable is what I am trying to do? And what other steps should I take?


  • 3
    Is HEMA "Historical European Martial Arts"? If so, it would be useful to expand the abbreviation the first time you use it!
    – Mike P
    Oct 30, 2015 at 14:26
  • update: right now this project will be on hold because there is not enough "motivation" (many people are interested but no body what to move a finger) in my town. But I found a guy who go to train to other club each Saturday. It is still 1h travel but we can share gas expenses at least for make it easier.
    – kifli
    Nov 25, 2015 at 11:24

3 Answers 3


A few simple piece of advice for anyone thinking of starting their own club.

First and foremost, your finances and the club's finances must be separate in all legal sense. If you take a loan, this must be for the club and not yourself. If you seek funding, it must be as the club and not yourself. This will protect you in case something bad happens to the club.

Second, you must get insurance. No exceptions, no excuses, no nuffing! Just get it. No insurance, no training. This does link to point one above: if someone gets injured and sues the club (not you because you were smart and set up the club as a separate legal entity), the club could be liable for millions. Best have an insurance to cover that.

Third, look at the legality of transporting and/or storing weapons with your local law enforcement officers. The law varies massively from country to country and getting shut down by SWAT because there are "samurai swords" around is not going to do you any good. Make sure that wherever you train is aware that you will have weapons (wooden ones? Steel ones?) but that you are insured and the LEOs know about it.

Fourth, get a good visiting instructor to come and teach. Advertise this. It will (read: should) attract a lot of new members if they see it. In general while a lineage is not a guarantee of good standards, it helps to show that you are not a one-man-style but part of a greater whole. Advertising in general is hard for martial arts, but you can probably dig into El Capitán Alatriste's fame.

Finally, get people to come and enjoy themselves! Never under estimate going for a pitcher of sangria and tapas after training. It does wonders to get a bunch of strangers to bond.


I would look at joining the HEMA Alliance, they can provide a lot of help. They also provide insurance, which is a nice perk.
In addition, their forums, and their groups on facebook are great places to figure out how to run a club.


My friend studies HEMA-German Long Sword, and while I practice with him, I don't have any particular advice for how to practice the style.

What I would like to say is, especially in the beginning, make sure that you are consistent with scheduling. I have seen many groups form, continue for a couple of weeks and then someone is late or someone doesn't show (only for 1 day) but it quickly turns into "not this week", "not this month", and finally "remember that thing we once did?".

Good luck.

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