- I chart the current HEMA movement as going back to Ewart Oakeshott's "The Archaeology of Weapons" (1961) and "The Sword in the Age of Chivalry" (1964), Martin Wierschin's publication of "Meister Johann Liechtenauers Kunst des Fechtens" in 1965, and the formation of the Society for Creative Anachronism in 1966. HEMA exploration at the Royal Armouries begins in this time frame as well.
In the 1970s, the HEMA torch was largely carried forward by reenactors, stage combat guys, and classical fencers (as far as I know), and the only primary sources reasonably available were a handful of editions from the turn of the century (Talhoffer, Fiore, Silver, etc.), Martin Wierschin's edition of Ringeck, and James Louis Jackson's "Three Elizabethan Fencing Manuals". (Does Aylward have any actual treatises in it?) The SCA developed their own rapier program in this decade, finally formalizing it in 1979.
Then in the 80s Hils offers "Master Johann Liechtenauer's Kunst des Langen Schwertes", basically an update and expansion of Wierschin that gives Talhoffer more attention than he deserves, and Studer wrote a little booklet on the Solothurner Fechtbuch. These were both in German, so I don't know how much they influenced the English-speaking community. By the late 80s, Patri Pugliese was active photocopying 16th and 17th century treatises from local libraries in Massachusetts and mailing them to all takers for the price of postage. There were proper HEMA groups in this period (groups entirely focused on HEMA, rather than groups that included HEMA in their activities), but I'm not sure which, if any, of them persist to the present.
In the 90s we have the early, steam-powered internet beginning to connect people together through bulletin boards and list servers, as well as offering early online resources like William Wilson's site. Hank Reinhardt founded HACA in 93 (which John Clements took over in 94) and that website became a useful source of online material for a while. Patri was still acting as a distributor and finding more and more print treatises to copy. Christoph Amberger operated the Hammertz Forum magazine from 94 to 99, a major source for new research. A scattering of dubious books on HEMA-related topics were published by guys like Gaugler and Clements, and Chivalry Bookshelf became the first dedicated HEMA publisher in 99; Purpleheart Armories became the first dedicated HEMA gear distributor in the same timeframe. And, of course, the number of new clubs started to multiply and the first large HEMA events were organized (including WMAW).
And the 2000s were characterized by HEMAC (founded in 2001 by Matt Easton) fostering cooperation and growth in Europe, and ARMA (HACA rebranded in 2001) and SFI fostering divisiveness and stagnation in America. It was the era when online forums and email lists tied far flung groups together into a dysfunctional community. The number of groups exploded, and with it the number of big regional and international events began to multiply; this decade also saw the first proper full-time HEMA instructors and schools appear, and the number of HEMA publishers and gear manufacturers multiply. Too many books came out to name (though I do have a bibliography tracking them all), including a variety of quite decent translations and a like number of interpretive works (books and videos) that seemed innovative at the time but were obsolete almost as soon as they hit shelves. And, most importantly of all, Wiktenauer was founded in 2009 and the world was changed forever. This decade also saw a slow shift in weapon technology from wooden wasters to nylon wasters, and the appearance of proper foils (aka feders).
Which brings us to the 2010s, whose overall shape is still hard to see. Lots more groups popping up each year, more small regional and large international events, more diversity in weapons and traditions being studied. The decline of message boards and the rise of social networks in their place has affected HEMA as much as any other online community. HEMAC is still going strong, and the HEMA Alliance and WMAC have both popped up in America attempting to foster the same sort of cooperation over here (through very different methods). National HEMA federations are beginning to organize all over Europe (there was a long lag between the creation of the first federation in UK in 1999 and the creation of any others), and the first international federation was organized in 2014. A proper tournament circuit has begun coalescing, and with it an explosion in dedicated gear manufacturers of all sorts, and a consequent reduction in cost for that gear. And there have been some interesting developments in sharp play, including an increased emphasis on developing effective striking mechanics through test-cutting (pushed by Michael Edelson) and a rise in the still-controversial practice of using sharps in partner activities (advocated by Roland Warzecha, Guy Windsor, and others).
This is all mostly an American-centric history, though. Europeans who've been around for a while would need to chime in to fill in the gaps in the HEMA timeline over there, including what FISAS contributed. And I was never close to the SFI scene, so they may have done things I forgot to mention.
Since the poster also asked about the history of the Alliance, here's what I wrote about that:
- The history of the HEMA Alliance is fairly simple: in 2008 four senior members of ARMA (Jake Norwood, Stewart Feil, Brian Hunt, and Eli Combs) decided that changing that organization from the inside was impossible and resigned as a group, taking their study groups and associates with them. They reached out to other American HEMA instructors and began working on creating the Alliance in 2009 (with Jason Taylor and Jon Mayshar), ultimately launching it in 2010 with Jake Norwood as interim president. It evolved during its creation from a basic anti-ARMA to an org more similar to Hank's original vision for the HACA, an umbrella organization to facilitate cooperation and collective action between disparate HEMA groups (primarily in North America, though a few external groups later joined). The first elections were held, IIRC, in mid 2010. It's grown each successive year since then, and at the present is still going strong.