Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) is a worldwide movement aiming towards safe and efficient practice of European martial heritage.
HEMA can be practiced either as martial arts or martial sports, many HEMA centres practice both forms. The practice is based on research and study of sources that recorded martial arts within European territories and European spheres of influence.
HEMA is to be considered separately from modern sports such as fencing, wrestling, boxing, savate and similar, since most of the modern sports are based on regulations created from the late nineteenth century onward.
The same is true for more “traditional” competitive activities such as alpine wrestling or cane fighting, which are also based on modern regulations, even if their practices reflect their original forms.
The iniciative for establishing International Federation of Historical European Martial Arts was first taken in 2010 with the aim to assist at elevating the levels of HEMA worldwide.
First steps in recognizing and preserving the autonomy of HEMA have already been taken by clubs on national levels, research output of various networks, and organizers of a number of established international HEMA events.
Disciplines like research and publishing, developing and producing valid HEMA equipment, organizing and conducting competitions, as well as promoting and conserving martial heritage are in need of an umbrella international organization.
IFHEMA programmes include a range of activities supporting national HEMA associations including education, training, funding, supply and coverage.