Western Swordsmanship Technique and Research

Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) refers to documentable methods of armed and unarmed personal and group combat of European origin. The term HEMA is most often used for the reconstruction of medieval martial arts, because no systematic manuals for combat have been discovered earlier than the late middle ages. However, the scope of the HEMA extends to all martial studies that come from Europe, from the Roman gladius to the Fairbairn-Sykes knife of World War II. Western Swordsmanship Technique and Research (WSTR) is a group of enthusiasts who study and train in these martial techniques.

The primary weapon studied at WSTR is the longsword. The techniques are attributed to Johannes Liechtenauer, a 14th century German sword master who's system of combat influenced European swordsmanship for more than 200 years. These teachings are found in manuscripts dating back as early as 1389.

As students become more adept at using the longsword, their study expands to other weapon systems.


We will never make such good friends as those with whom we have fenced for awhile.

-La Noue, Discours Politiques et Militaires, 1587