HEMA Strong

Courage and strength make your enemies hesitate

Getting Back On Track

“I’ve gotten off track. Was working out 6 days a week…here I am 4 months later and I don’t even know how to get back on track. How do I get back on track?”

I’m overwhelmed with the number of times I’ve seen that question asked. Go to any Facebook group that’s fitness oriented, and it’s a theme.

Why do people go off track, and then struggle with getting back on track with their fitness, be it nutrition, exercise, or both?
Continue reading

The Myth of Cross-Training: The Art & The Science

“There is but one art of the sword…” Ms. 3227a

And just as there is one art of the sword, there is only one science of the body. That science and its underlying principles dictate how we can effectively train our bodies to excel at our art.

Why is cross-training a myth?

Cross-training’s general connotation is that training for any of the fitness domains is an “option” rather than a necessity for improvement of your martial art.

Is it a different connotation for you? No worries, then this article isn’t for you. 🙂

With that said, regardless of your reasons for being part of HEMA or any other martial art, you are learning a physical skill. And those who master their art, as well as their bodies, will have the best results, the best return on investment of their precious time.
Continue reading

5 Impeccable Practice Principles

Recently I attended the Raleigh Open Longsword Tournament, hosted by Triangle Sword Guild. I had a blast. The format allowed everyone to get in many fights with a large amount of people, which I loved.

I was pretty satisfied with my performance except for one problem I repeatedly encountered:

I kept missing targets…

My thrust missed it’s mark, my cuts did not land where I intended, I failed attempts to grapple. One after another, many of my attempts fell short.

This is what happens when I miss a thrust. Photo Credit to Veronique McMillan

Continue reading

Competition Mindset


I’m in a room with a couple dozen fighters and staff. On the other side of the double doors are more than 100 people eager to watch the finals of Longpoint 2017. Someone calls my name and I stage just on the other side of those doors, moments away from all those eyes.

What if I don’t do well?

My heart rate jumps up in anticipation of the fight. I look out, I step out, I look down.

Do I even deserve to be here?

I stand across the mat from my opponent. They announce us, but I barely hear it. I can’t make eye contact.

He trained more than me.

Negative thoughts race through my head, anxiety that I can’t uphold the standard of someone who has gotten this far, that everyone knows I shouldn’t even be on the mat, that if I don’t get these two points all the ones before are meaningless. I worry so much about doing well that when the fight starts I forget to DO.

I promptly get thrown. Continue reading

Hey, if your Vom Tag is drifting, you should probably be lifting.

Go the distance!

So in the end, all the strength and explosiveness does us no good if we can’t stay in the game long enough to put use to it. The exact type of conditioning you need to achieve this, depends on what it is you are competing in, or what your daily life demands.

Football / Hockey / Rugby, are examples of high explosive force, low duration endurance sports. Short plays, lots of action.

Baseball / Soccer are examples of long duration sports, that require spurts of explosive force.

MMA, and other combat sports are a unique mixture of these effects. Your striking power, power to win a fight comes from explosive force development, however you need great stamina it stay in a fight long enough to win it.

So lets talk about how we condition. We need to understand energy systems first.

Continue reading

Biomechanics of lifting. Also known as why is this so hard?

First thing we need to consider in biomechanics is our own ratios of limb to torso length. This breaks down into a few basic categories:

  • Long Femur/Short Back/Long Arms
  • Long Femur/Short Back/Short Arms
  • Short Femur/Short Back/Long Arms
  • Short Femur/Long Back/Short Arms
  • Short Femur/Long Back/Long Arms

These will effect how we lift. Longer femur lifters will always struggle with things like squats, and conventional deadlifts. Regardless of their actual height. Shorter femur lifters will find these positions easy to be in. Taking a wider stance normally compensates for this.. Just as a long arm lifter will take a wider grip in the bench press. The idea is always to get the bar as close to your body as possible. Reduce total range of motion.
Continue reading

Move fast hit hard!

Original Article: https://www.strongerthanyesterday.org/single-post/2017/09/26/Move-Fast-Hit-Hard

   Power. It is the holy grail of martial arts, and sports development. You can be strong, but lack power, you can be fast, but lack power. Power is after all the ability to create maximum force in minimum time. A boxer needs to have powerful punches, a swordsman needs powerful cuts, a quarterback needs a powerful throw, hockey player’s powerful shots. Everyone needs powerful legs. The question is not need though; it is how to achieve this power. Well let’s get to it.

Continue reading

How To Get Jacked!

   A common goal among any gym goers is to build more muscle, it could be to support a performance goal, simply look better, or they are pursuing the path of bodybuilding. Muscle growth is an important factor in weight loss, and sport performance.  More muscle means more power. So lets get into, how do we optimize our muscle growth.

Continue reading

The Beasts Inside

  In martial arts we deal with many types. Especially in such a new movement like HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts). Everything from the fanboy, to the grizzled veteran of combat pursuits and everyone in between. This means we get people at all levels of base capacity and skill, fitness levels, and overall potential. Our challenge as instructors and the leaders of the community is to help all these people develop into the fighter they want to be. That could be a tournament champion or just a part-timer who shows up when they can, maybe someone who loves the art but hates competitions, all types. This article is going to focus on one thing though, and this holds true for all sports and physical pursuits, but as HEMA is my greatest familiarity, I will write it in context to that. That one thing, one truth, is the difference between the raven (the sport skill development, the art of the sport) and the wolf (the body used to perform the sport, the athleticism of the body)

Continue reading

« Older posts

© 2017 HEMA Strong

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑