• Krys

An Inside Look into WoA's Beginner's Program

Updated: Mar 5, 2019

Last year we implemented a beginner's program in which tons of experience, hours, and lesson planning went in to create a step-by-step process into which anyone could go from a total new person to picking up and cutting with a sword successfully.


We've received a lot of positive feedback on this program, and wanted to give people even more of an inside look at what this program is all about.


Our program consists of 3 classes: 2 German Longsword classes and 1 Viking Combat class. We've chosen these not only because they are our most popular classes we offer, but because the foundations of these weapon systems and class types translate well when you try out even more weapon systems like Spear, Montante, and Single-sword.


Students will find that the classes build on one another with the foundations of what our school is all about, where we are, and where we are going. They gain insight into necessary details such as what gear is needed, when and how do we start sparring in the ring, and how students can become more involved and grow. We go over in detail our 9 Virtues, which we emphasize heavily in our Code of Conduct and use as a basis to guide our martial art. We talk about the different patches each member wears, what they mean, and how you can earn them. Students also get to meet each instructor along the way, and experience the unique approach each one has to teaching these arts.


Each class breaks down foot work, training games, how to hold the weapon, the different parts of the weapon, and what positions are used to attack or defend. Just like in any martial art, HEMA has some base standards with their own unique names--students will learn all new vocabulary as they progress through each class. We give a simplistic overview of some core concepts of the Longsword, Dane Axe, and Axe and Shield. Safety and proper cutting mechanics are key points, as well as how to quickly and safely defend one's self.


At the end of the 3 classes you will learn:

- What HEMA is and where we get these ideas from

- How to earn patches and get involved in our school even more

- Our 9 virtues and our policies/code of conduct

- 7 beginner's guards/positions

- The parts and mechanics of several weapon systems

- How to move backwards, forwards, and sideways while effectively protecting yourself

- How to train by yourself and with a partner

- How to cut and strike effectively with each weapon

- How to defend yourself against attacks

- What safety gear is needed and how you can make your own

- Real hands-on time with striking and defending against Longswords, Axes, and Shields

- New vocabulary and terminology that can be daunting when just getting started

and more!


We pack an enormous amount of information into 3 classes, and while it's a fair pace, we never expect every student to memorize everything. Every student after completion of the program gets online access to our "Beginner's PDF" which provides much needed written review (with pictures!) of all the core concepts taught in this course, and access to our videos and notes too.


We want to make this sport as accessible, and safe, as possible to everyone, and we believe the beginner's program sets every student up for success. HEMA is so unique in that you need not have a certain level of physical conditioning in order to participate, and has so many elements from scholarly to physically challenging that there is something here for everyone. Even if getting into the ring and fighting in front of others cheering doesn't sound like your cup of tea, you'll find there are craftsmanship aspects, studious aspects, and even meditative aspects to this sport that really opens its arms to a wide range of participants.


Classes are once a month, in which all 3 classes are completed in sequence and students have access to ALL of our classes for Free for the rest of that month upon completion and successful graduation from the program. We hope you'll come sign up for a beginner's class and join us!



Pictured is our founder and fellow veteran, Loch, in some standard safety gear showing a common basic longsword guard called 'Alber'.



© 2016 by Raquel Erbach

Maintenance by Krys