New form of fencing comes to State Games

Posted at 3:21 PM, Mar 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-10 18:36:14-05

For Rick Long, a trip to the Do Space with the family ended up to a new hobby.

"They were doing demos upstairs, my family and I went to see."

Long, picked up long sword, one of a handful of traditional European weapons used in Historical European Martial Arts, or HEMA for short. HEMA is like fencing, but with less rules and more variety. There's different weapons and styles. It started with die hard duelers started transcribing manuscripts from the 13 and 14 hundreds. Those have now ended up in the hands of people like Angel Espinsosa. When he moved to omaha, he started a chapter of HEMA fans, teaching and fencing off in their extra time.

"In the movies you see they're clashing, then they're in the middle of the clashing and they're having a conversation. That never happens!" Long says.

"We bring them together, and we try this out at tournaments. It's really people going, I want to fight that guy because he knows how to do this thing!"

"It's a big sweaty sport, but I am having fun. I am learning to use parts of muscles I never knew I had!"

That swordsy sport is being recognized in a big way too this year. For the first time ever, HEMA events are at the Nebraska State Games this summer. It's something that this group hopes will set the pace on a bigger scale. A long shot maybe, but it's something that has long swordsman Long elated. He's already told his councilman and his neighborhood association.

"My whole community is going to be around me because I am going to the Cornhusker State games!"