ROTHSCHILD, Wisconsin (WSAW) – Historic European Martial Arts (HEMA) can be traced back to the medieval period. However, in 2021 it brought something new to the Badger State Games.
HEMA made their Badger State Games debut this weekend. This is only the second time that HEMA has been recognized at a State Games event, the other being in Nebraska.
Aaron Pynenberg is the master instructor for historic Wisconsin fencing. He says inclusion is validation of the message they are sending.
“We’re always trying to show people what this art is,” Pynenberg said. “The association with the Badger State Games name is important for us to show some legitimacy in terms of doing this in a certain regimented way.”
Competitors compete in several different events. The steel longsword is the most popular event. Saturday morning saw a mixed synthetic competition, consisting of weapons training in a freestyle type tournament.
There is something to offer for new and old competitors. Holly Adcock is taking part in her very first HEMA action this weekend. She says she has learned from others she has faced.
“You can see what you can do and what they can do and how you can work together and just have fun with it,” Adcock said.
There is an element of fear, especially with steel weapons. However, it’s also a good time to get your adrenaline pumping.
“It’s more exhilarating than scary,” Adcock said. “It’s just a thrill.”
The Badger State Games HEMA competition ends Sunday in Rothschild.
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