Summer 2017: Where Should We Start?


Another long-overdue update! Training has continued steadily since the last, with all the expected ups and downs of holiday seasons and summer breaks. Membership numbers remain strong, curricula are becoming more familiar and fine-tuned, and regular attendees are seeing noticable improvements over their skills last year. Yet there have also been a few firsts and notable events to speak of.

2017 Beginner Courses Starting 6/9

It’s time for another round of beginners to join our club! We accept new people throughout most of the year, but there is no better way to start than during our once-yearly fall intake. Dedicated weekly training time, in a dedicated space, with an instructor dedicated entirely to teaching the foundations… for three full months. There is no obligation for the first two lessons, so you can try it out and decide if it suits you.

Fall beginner courses begin on 6/9 in Italian longsword, and I.33 sword & buckler will start on 8/9. See the fall schedule in the sidebar for time and location!


THEMA Article on

It was a pleasure to accommodate journalist Sanna Ihalainen as she researched HEMA for an article in Kotilääkäri and Seura this summer. HEMA is seen more and more often in publications around the world lately, as the community grows and people take notice… and this is one of the more accurate, hands-on articles out there, definitely worth a spot on our front page! Check out the impressions of someone who picked up a sword for the first time during one of our Sunday sessions. And if you have a friend on the fence about joining up, show it to them, too. It might help dispel some of the anxiety of not knowing what to expect.

Historiallisessa miekkailussa palataan keskiajalle – Mitä tapahtuu, kun ensikertalainen saa miekan käteensä?

THEMA Logo Shirts & Patches

At long last, club logo gear is coming! A t-shirt order form has been posted to our Facebook group, and patches for fencing jackets will hopefully follow soon after.

2016 Passage of Arms in Review

Congratulations are in order for many who participated in our first Passage of Arms event. For readers who don’t know, the Passage of Arms is an event held to celebrate those members who have reached a new rank in our club by demonstrating a strong understanding of the curriculum for their chosen art(s), at their current rank. Each was invited to participate because they had already earned their new rank, and each fought three rounds against different opponents, demonstrating their competence for their peers and assembled spectators. Friends and family were present, and we hope they enjoyed it as much as we did! We hope to do it bigger and better every time. A Passage of Arms will be called again whenever instructors deem there are enough newly-ranked students to warrant one.

Summer Sword & Shield Event

It’s a rite of passage among many HEMA clubs, as they grow, to eventually give something to the wider local community by hosting an event. This year, THEMA held a seminar weekend devoted to the use of sword and shield.

On Saturday, Ilkka Hartikainen of Tavastia Fencing Society and introduced us to techniques of the Bolognese rotella, in combination with the sidesword. The rotella is perhaps the only large shield with as many historical sources, and nearly everyone finds it interesting… yet its use is one of the least widespread historical arts. We’re glad we had the chance to learn more about it! On Sunday, we explored I.33 sword and buckler as taught by Cornelius Berthold, flying in from Hammaborg. Though i.33 is practiced worldwide, interpretations of its techniques are as colorful as the manual’s mysterious pages. Cornelius presented a practical, well-developed understanding of the art in its historical context. We thank both of these instructors for their time; we surely consider it will spent!

THEMA’s First Passage at Arms!

In the past, our front page posts have been about a wide variety of happenings and changes. We could talk about welcoming in our latest round of beginners (Welcome!) or thank veteran members for their support and help in bringing those beginners quickly into the fold (Thanks!)… even announce an Armizare seminar we’re giving in Turku on 3/12 (more info on Facebook!)… but there’s one big piece of news overshadowing everything else right now.

Early this year, we began the process of adopting a formal curriculum in our two main disciplines, I.33 and Armizare. We even implemented a simple system of ranks, to keep track of where a given student falls within that curriculum and where they might best focus their next efforts. In short, a new student is a Novice for about 3 months, after which they are accepted into the club as a scholar; a proven student and training partner. From here, over the course of a few years, a Scholar passes through four ranks before he might have the opportunity to become a Free Scholar, at which point he’s beyond the need for any curriculum. This mirrors the medieval academic system used across Europe in the past.

The Passage at Arms is a big deal. Every four months, as in three times per year, the Passage will be held to celebrate and acknowledge those students who are ready to move between the Scholar ranks. At a public event for the whole club plus guests, participants will fight for the right to their new rank by demonstrating skill and bravery in free play.

It’s not a test, or a competition; if an instructor has invited you to play for rank at the Passage at Arms, you’ve already passed. You’ll fight three matches, arranged by the board or instructors, at the next Passage at Arms event. We don’t care if you demonstrate unparalleled finesse and trounce your opponent; what matters is that you show the courage, respect, and good nature that we expect from our members.

If you’re invited, prepare your equipment for inspection at the start of the event. When all members and guests are seated and any introductions are made, we’ll announce the names of participants and the rank they’ve achieved. Then, presided over by an arbiter (who doesn’t count points), matches will be held in turns until all participants have demonstrated their tenacity under pressure. When all rank-related matches are finished, the floor will be open to exhibition matches for the remainder of the event.

Thereafter, we’ll take a couple of hours to get cleaned up, and meet for a well-deserved meal somewhere.

This first Tampere HEMA Passage at Arms will be held during our usual training hours on Sunday, 4th of December, 13:00-17:00. We’ll be in our usual location, Tampere Stadium Sali 1. ALL current members of Tampere HEMA are invited to attend, and may bring 0-2 guests… family or friends. Others may be allowed on a case by case basis, such as members of other area clubs or interested newcomers. We’ll make dinner reservations at Plevna restaurant beforehand, according to the sign-up sheet (google doc) attached to this announcement on facebook.

Instructors will informally check eligible participants over the next week and confirm their invitations to play for rank! Take a look at the curriculum guide for your rank, notably the Academic section for those who’ve been putting it off. Don’t cram; there’s no testing day to pass. You need to internalize it and be able to train with confidence every time you salute in. Know the material, absorb it in whatever way is best for you… and if in doubt, just ask.

Summer Update: Autumn Beginner Intake, Schedules, and Events

This humid summer weather rolls on, and so do we! Despite the holidays, happenings, and heat of the season, we’ve been able to enjoy a consistently good turnout at most training sessions, better than expected. Thanks to all our members for their commitment, it makes us all better in the end.

New Beginner Courses in Autumn

While our official curriculum has enabled us to offer better overall training, it makes starting out a little more difficult. Consequently, we’ve advised most newcomers to wait for the upcoming beginner courses, when we can have time set aside to really go over the basics in a logical order. The first two lessons are a trial; after this, beginners pay dues at the same rate as other members of the club, 70 per quarter (three months of training). We have equipment to loan for the beginner course, but you are welcome to bring your own if you’re sure it is suitable for HEMA practice. Instructors will inspect and deny the use of any unsafe equipment.

Beginners are welcome to join us in September:

I.33 Sword and Buckler; Fridays 17.00 – 19.00, beginning on 9/9

Italian Longsword; Sundays 13.00 – 15.00, beginning on 11/9

Also join us on Facebook with questions, comments, or just to see what we’re up to right here.

Autumn Schedule

Here’s the quick version of our confirmed schedule at Tampere Stadion for the autumn, winter, and spring seasons.

Wednesday: Armizare 19:30 – 21:30 Sali 1
Friday: I.33 Sword & Buckler 17.00 – 19.00 Sali 1
Sunday: Armizare & Italian Longsword Beginners 13.00 – 15.00 Sali 1
Sunday: Open Training 15.00 – 17.00 Sali 1

Street Knife Concepts Workshop

Street Knife Concepts Flyer

A discussion with the excellent Ilkka Hartikainen of EHMS at his recent Scuola di Spada II workshop led to this connection. Though a little less historical than our usual interests, this is a rare opportunity to learn some practical and modern knife defense. We’ll host Davide Lupidi for a three hour workshop on his modern system of knife fighting, based on traditional Italian arts, on Sunday 14/8, 13.00-16.00 in Tampere Stadion Sali 1. The price for this workshop is 20. Here’s the full description:

Davide Lupidi is the head instructor of the Italian Martial Arts group 2Edges Fighting Arts. He has a background in multiple martial arts ranging from Capoeira to the South-East Asian martial arts of Kali and Silat. He is also the Italian representative of the Brazilian self-defense system of Kombato. During the past five years Davide has focused on training in the martial arts traditions of his own country and other historical European systems. He is a representative of Italian traditional knife fighting as presented by Roberto Laura and other Italian teachers.

Per request of a Brazilian self-defense school training in Krav Maga Davide has developed a knife to knife defense system based on the Italian tradition but fitted for modern scenarios and streamlined for quick learning and easy application. Before traveling to present his system, the Street Knife Concepts, in Brazil later this year Davide has agreed to teach the system for historical fencing groups in Finland.

This is a great opportunity to learn a simple style where a traditional style meets the requirements of modern self defense.