A friendly advice


By Kostas Dervenis president of the Pammachon sport branch of the Hellenic Federation of Pangration Athlima

Late 19th century sabre training on deck for British sailors. Note the knee as a target and how low the protective drape falls.

In 2014 I taught this same movement and related principles to the elite NATO special forces, adapted to modern weapons and tactics; it was readily applied. And this is important for the future of historical European martial arts. Many HEMA instructors today are unfortunately unqualified – if you look at their resumes and backgrounds in relation what they are doing, they are amusingly “light”. (And the purported instructors are not even aware of it.) Don’t get me wrong, there are some exceptional instructors, very talented and high level people – but for the most, HEMA is a social media show.

Martial arts are too serious a subject for them to have devolved to a popularity contest and unfortunately that is what they have become around the world. True martial arts will become even more important in the decade to come, and even less wide spread. And HEMA is not LARPing – if you do not understand martial arts, go away. Or admit that you are participating in a newly developing sport that has a looooong way to go before awarded any recognition – it is NOT a martial art, so why not take up bowling? I am not interested in you using XYZ manual or XYZ artifact to support your ego and your viewpoint – there are fundamental principles that govern these things, go check your viewpoint against them, I’m too busy with actual work and real life. No, you are not a medieval knight. No, you are not an ancient Greek hoplite. No, you are not living in Middle Earth.

If we’re going to have a future, it’s not going to be through role playing. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror, maybe you’ll see who you really are. I will continue to state the truth bluntly for anyone that wants to listen, regardless of whether you like me or not as a result. Φ@Q social media likes and dislikes and youtube videos.    The truth is out there.


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