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White Rose Historical Fencing Equipment Fundraiser

A project by: Isaiah Maness


WE RAISED £2,000

from 15 donors

This project received pledges on Sun 29 Oct 2023
Help us explore and rediscover the lost art of medieval swordplay!

Well, what have we got here?

Hello! We're looking for people like you to help raise funds for our HEMA club. With your support we aim to bring this unique, long forgotten art to the UoY. Your support today could help us to equip our new members with everything they need to get started and we can't do it without you! We need to raise £5,500, it's a hefty sum but we truly believe that the student community at York will be enriched by the introduction of our club.

Who are we? 

Now for a brief introduction to our team! Firstly, let us introduce Isaiah Maness, founder and current president here at WRHF, and this project has been a bit of a pipe dream of his for a little while! 

Additionally, we've got Will Davies as our Financial Officer, Gene Odhiambo for Secretary, Lucy Armstrong as Social Media Exec, and Will Rich as our Assistant Instructor! 

Counterclockwise: Will Rich, Gene Odhiambo, Will Davies, and Lucy Armstrong, Isaiah Maness in centre

What on earth is HEMA??

With that out of the way, what exactly are we trying to do!?

For those who may not know, HEMA (or Historical European Martial Arts) is a modern-day recreative and interpretive practice for historical martial arts. While HEMA encompasses a wide variety of historical fighting disciplines, our primary focus is on I.33 Sword&Buckler and late Medieval Longsword (specifically the Liechtenauer tradition). HEMA is a bit of a niche hobby, and the modern-day revitalization of these fighting styles began in the 1990's. There are a variety of source manuals and glosses, with two most widely known being Liechtenauer’s Zettel (ca. 1400) and Fiore dei Liberi’s Flower of Battle (ca. 1400)

Now for the hard part. We spoke a bit earlier about how HEMA is a pretty niche discipline, and as such, clubs can be hard to find and the cost of getting started is usually very steep. As one can see from the photos we've included, the "standard" kit for sparring with steel is pretty extensive and is only available from a few suppliers. Due to this, getting started with historical fencing is pretty expensive, and this often leads to pretty high turnover rates among students. Our goal is to help make HEMA easier to access for beginners, and to facilitate this we will;

1. Not be using steel training swords, but synthetic nylon simulacrums that will be much safer and lighter (Don't forget though, real steel swords aren't as heavy as you may think!)

2. Maintain a supply of club gear to loan to students during class time. This will include gloves, gorgets, swords, and bucklers. 

With this plan we'll be able to limit the starting cost for each student, while maintaining group safety during exercises. Hopefully, with your support, we can make this dream a reality!

What's our Plan?

So, if we hit either of our crowdfunding marks, what exactly are we going to use the funds for?

Well, a couple things! With the minimum of £1,500, we should be able to afford our nylon training simulators, bucklers and a batch of club shirts! While this won't help us with protective gear, it will allow us to get started teaching our students the dynamics of handling a sword and to hold drills and other training exercises that don't involve sparring (which is what we'll begin with anyways!)

With the full £5,500, we'll be able to afford all of that, plus gloves, bucklers, and gorgets (guards for the throat, you can never be too careful here!). For a brief breakdown of our equipment goals, we're looking to have 20 of each item, and our cost breakdown is as follows;

We briefly mentioned in the previous section that we are seeking to improve accessibility to HEMA for newcomers, but we also have a secondary goal with this club. Due to the fact that HEMA is still very much an interpretive practice, there are still many questions regarding how the historical fencing would have really looked. We hope to use this club as an opportunity to explore these questions and use this data to fuel our ongoing research and studies in Historical Archaeology.

Here's What it looks like!

Take a gander at our gallery! We've got some photos of Isaiah and his friends over at the Athena School of Arms in Boston. Maybe one day we can look like them!

Here are some extra videos of Isaiah as well!



Find us here

We don't have a social media page for the club set up yet, but check out Isaiah over on Instagram and Facebook! He'll be posting updates on our campaign and keeping everyone informed!



And finally....

Thank you all so much for checking out our crowdfunding page! With any luck, we'll be able to get this project going, but only with your help! It's sadly an "all or nothing" scenario for us, so if we can't reach our minimum threshold then we'll have to dissolve the club.

But if you can't donate, there's no need to worry! Share this page among your friends, family, allies, enemies, send it to the four winds! Help us get the word out and spread the message that HEMA exists, and is for everyone!