My name is Norman C. Lao and I am a new member to this forum and to the HEMA Alliance. I wanted to start this thread just to connect with all of you and to share my experiences about why I began this journey and to hear from you all as well as to what inspired you to join your club or organization.
How I became interested in HEMA: In April this spring, I attended the Renaissance Pleasure Faire in Irwindale, California and sampled their beginner fencing tutorials in the “interactive” pavilion at the faire. I instantly became enamored with it from both athletic and historical perspectives.
To be honest, this beginner's level fencing was my gateway into HEMA because I wanted something a little more robust than collegiate or olympic style fencing. I also remembered in a film that I watched recently called “Reclaiming the Blade” - there was mention of a movement out there where student practitioners were “translating historical texts to discover ancient techniques and to preserve the rich martial heritage of the past.” That seemed incredibly interesting to me as a direction to follow as I sought out the right group to join and begin my education in this martial art. My friend Brendon Goodyear suggested KRON (both the LA and Fullerton Chapters) because they were my best and regionally closest options (as I live in Orange County, CA.)
I have to say, I was a little intimidated at first - walking into my very first class; not knowing what to expect or if the group would be to my social tastes.
I cannot stress more how that ONE class made such a POSITIVE IMPACT on me. Jonathan Mayshar of KRON/South Coast Swords was actually my instructor during my first session and really illustrated a great deal of what I could expect from joining South Coast Swords; from the gravitas of the martial art itself, to the respect and depth of RJ’s (McKeehan) and Jonathan’s teaching…but most importantly to me - the friendliness and welcoming attitude of the club itself.
Ever since late May, when I truly thrust myself into HEMA and South Coast Swords, my overall experience has been overwhelmingly positive, enlightening and educational.
I hope that many of you have had similar experiences and I would love for you to share your stories as well.
Discuss how to start or run a HEMA club. Also look for HEMA Alliance charter groups or affiliated groups in your area.
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