HEMA Strong

Courage and strength make your enemies hesitate

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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.

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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.

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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)

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   We should not train like powerlifters! There I said it. Bring on the hate. Power lifting is an amazing sport, full of amazing lifters. However, it is not a type of training that is for everyone. For athletes, moms just wanting to move better, dads wanting to stay healthy, power lifting and its style of training is not the best option. On that note, neither is bodybuilding, or long distance running, or yoga, or anything. The truth is it is somewhere in the middle of all that.

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Strength as our primary goal

In theory, the majority of clients come to us because they feel something needs to change in their life. Weight loss, quality of life, confidence, being healthier, all are things commonly said. Through experience, however, most trainers have learned it goes a lot deeper than that. Humans by nature all want to look better, both in clothes and out. They want to move better, with less pain, and perform better in their sports, or simply daily life. The strength-training model can help with all of these.

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HEMA Butts and Puffy Pants

As soon as HEMA Strong started publishing blog posts, comments started rolling in asking for a guide on how to “make my butt look good in my fencing pants/puffy pants”.

I initially thought “uh, well, I don’t know, that wasn’t what I had in mind”. But then I saw that “HEMA Butts” was a thing: https://hemabutts.tumblr.com/ and remembered that confidence is a part of performance psychology. So if your butt looking great in your fencing pants, puffy or not, makes you confident, then it can indirectly impact your performance when fighting.

Here we are then, a HEMA Strong guide on making your butt look good in your puffy pants.

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Couch To HEMA Strong

A home workout to build basic strength and conditioning for HEMA

Who is this for?

This basic workout framework is for someone who hasn’t ever set foot in a gym and/or hasn’t exercised in awhile, toward the goal of building up some basic strength and conditioning for HEMA.

One of the biggest mistakes that I’ve seen people make is to try to do too much at once, and either end up injured, burned out, or so sore that it impacts their ability to do their best for their HEMA practice and/or daily life.

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“Mini Moc” Feder Review

It’s like a regular Pavel Moc sword, but smaller!

Hey there, it’s time for my first gear review! My first feder was one that’s not very common and not something that I’d seen reviewed before. Since my go-to place for gear reviews is Measure and Weigh. I’ll be borrowing their review format, with one exception: I like the idea of having both an initial impression *AND* a review after a few months.

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I, the tiger, am so swift to run and to wheel
That even the bolt from the sky cannot overtake me.
~Fiore de’i Liberi~

               Whether you’re darting out and in for a quick nachreisen, defending against an attack, or following on with one of your own, the ability to quickly adjust your body position and facing is critical. After a successful attack, you must be able to withdraw successfully. A proper parry deserves a prompt riposte. Everyone understands and recognizes that being faster is an advantage, but how do you achieve it? It’s a little more complex than “just get out of the way.” To accelerate your progress you have to understand what actually makes someone good at “getting out of the way.”

Change of Direction

            Change of direction, as defined by the National Strength and Conditioning Association (NSCA) comprises “The skills and abilities needed to explosively change movement direction, velocities, or mode.” For us, it’s the ability to advance, withdraw, rotate into cuts or defenses, and generally be faster on our feet.
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Why You Should Half Squat

You’ve heard it. You’ve probably heard it a dozen times or more. The scoffs and side-eyed gazes that come when someone only goes down halfway are common in a gym.  You HAVE to squat to parallel EVERY TIME.

That’s not true, especially for most weapons-based HEMA. Let me explain.

When developing your training plan, one of the keys is specificity. That’s how close the exercise you’re doing is to the activity you’re training for. The closer or more specific your exercise is, the more likely it will actually help your combat performance.

So how low do you get when you’re fighting? Most fighters I’ve seen rarely even get as low as a half-squat, for these people a full squat isn’t specific to their style. Pay attention to how you fight, it tells you how to train.

I know. I can see you fuming through the screen.

Of course I’m not suggesting you never squat to parallel. Definitely do it, and often.  Full depth squats are un-paralleled (pun intended) when it comes to giving you the strength foundation you need to fight well. They’ll help you reach your training and health goals faster than almost any other exercise. Plus they make your butt look good in fencing pants.

Those things are not what you’re training for in the weeks before a big competition though. In those 2-4 weeks you should be training to be as good at fencing as you can be. Keep your workouts highly intense, highly specific, and low volume during this pre-competition time frame. This is where half-squats shine.

BE WARNED! You’ll undoubtedly get some odd looks if you’re training at your local gym. That’s because those poor, ignorant souls are so confused why you’re doing the ONE THING everyone knows not to do. Personally, I think curling in the squat rack is a larger sin. If they end up bothering you at all, just go up and tell them that your combat performance coach told you to. 

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