A few days ago I had the pleasure of shooting at the "Meandros HEMA Team - Piraeus".
These very devoted people are training in what is known as "Historical European Martial Arts" . This, theoretically, includes all known forms of fighting disciplines developed in the European continent. For practical reasons though, they are mainly focused on systems of armed and unarmed combat developed from the 14th century onwards. The reason is, there are no preserved fighting manuals from earlier eras (such as, for example, the Ancient Roman period). The latest known manual dates from about 600 years ago.
This means, of course, that, as archeological research reveals and verifies older sources, the training curriculum could be expanded accordingly. Thus, HEMA is actually a work in progress. That said, the volume of scholarly work surviving is already quite extensive, encompassing hundreds of manuscripts and other works, from famous European masters. Since most of these manuscripts offer a systematic methodology and iconography, they are more than enough for setting up a complete system. Most of them are focused on thrusting and cutting weapons such as the longsword, rapier, dagger, etc, but also styles of unarmed combat like Ringen and Abrazzare.
Of course given we live in modern times, athletes are training using equipment fully approved by the international federation, which offers perfect protection. Since we are talking about martial arts here, one would understand that the original forms could be quite brutal, and HEMA schools are trying to follow the traditional historical systems as far as possible. But the exact opposite to brutality is also evident watching the actual fighting movements and techniques, which perfectly mix grace and gallantry with efficiency.
More on HEMA official federations and unions can be found in the the links provided here.
Hope you enjoy the photo gallery. My thanks to instuctor George Zacharopoulos and also Manolis Rhodokanakis and Tasos Triantafillou for making this possible: may your steel always be true guys!
Gear used: Fuji X-E2 with Fujinon 14mm f/2.8, 35mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2 lenses, plus Yongnuo speedlights and Cactus V5 triggers.