New/Starting club resources?

Discuss how to start or run a HEMA club. Also look for HEMA Alliance charter groups or affiliated groups in your area.
Scott M.
Posts: 5
Joined: Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:21 am

New/Starting club resources?

Postby Scott M. » Wed Oct 12, 2016 10:14 am

Are there any "Official" resources, guidelines and/or recommendations for getting new clubs started?

I've seen a number of scattered discussions about specific topics (dealing with Universities, starting equipment, age requirements, etc), but nothing cohesive or really helpful from a "How-To" perspective.

I have plans to relocate for work next spring and I cannot find a HEMA group in that area focusing on the studies I'm interested in. As such, I expect I'll need to start a club to continue studying with others who are also interested/focused on the same, and I want to ensure that all of the necessary bases/"Hard Topics" are covered (Safety requirements, Insurance, etc) and hopefully obtain some guidelines for the "Soft topics" like group management, promotion, finding suitable training/study locations, should the group be filed separately as a business, etc.

Tea Kew
Posts: 92
Joined: Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:27 am
Location: Cambridge, UK

Re: New/Starting club resources?

Postby Tea Kew » Thu Oct 13, 2016 9:57 am

There's no official anything.

However, some articles that may be handy: ... d-7-steps/ ... ema-clubs/

The HEMA World Domination Facebook group can also be fantastically useful as a resource for new teachers/leaders.

If you're in the US, I would personally set up by becoming a HEMAA affiliate for insurance, and then use the HEMAA safety policy etc as a guide to gear requirements.

Finding locations can be difficult. Outdoors isn't the most awful place to start, but ideally a hall of some type is a great resource - year round training becomes easier, and it's more of an 'official' feeling, which is useful. Remember you might need high ceilings. Run every week if you possibly can, regularity is critical to learn effectively and to get people forming the habit of coming along.

I've never particularly bothered with promotion. Be friendly and welcoming, especially to newbies and about other sports/arts - word of mouth from someone who is keen and having fun is a great tool. Make sure you're easily findable online - a group name along the lines of $City HEMA or $City $Weapon Club is really useful here. Put yourself on the club finder maps, etc. A Facebook Page is useful, as long as you keep it fairly active. A website is good, but keep it reasonably up to date. Some people like sites like for advertising. Large scale advertising can be a problem if you're really new: do you actually have a plan for dealing with 20 newbies at once?

That same approach plays into group management. Be friendly and polite. If people offer to help with stuff, let them! Having a formal policy about sexism, racism, homophobia etc is a good idea - you can find decent boilerplate ones around and about - but the key thing boils down to "handle it quickly, firmly, and make it clear it's not acceptable at all". Be open and honest about what you do and don't know, and admit when you're wrong about interpretations or ideas. Make sure people pay dues and so on: avoid putting yourself out of pocket unless you really want to.

From what you've said, it seems like there might be a group in the vague area who do weapons you aren't interested in? Talk to them - even if you aren't going to go along, it's never worth being antagonistic with the other clubs in your region. Maybe some of them also want to do what you want to study, and you can form a study group as part of their existing arrangement. Maybe they know of a venue that they've outgrown and you could use. Maybe you can point potential members at each other, or get together for socials or sparring days. Friendly and open communication is what makes the HEMA community work.

Good luck!

Posts: 3
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 9:52 am

Re: New/Starting club resources?

Postby DocJDA » Wed Dec 21, 2016 2:46 pm

I am just curious if anyone could direct me toward a good, general liability waiver. A few of the places I am looking at renting for my school require one and I don't have a lot of money to drop to have one drafted by an attorney. I've spoken to the handful of EMA schools around me and none of them are particularly helpful.
Free Company of Historic Fencers
Cazenovia, NY, USA

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