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Beginning Gear Requirements

Beginners should wear loose fitting clothing and light shoes suitable for exercising on a solid floor. We have everything else that you need such as swords and masks. You will need to acquire your own knee and elbow protection, personal protection (cups and breast protectors), and leather gloves within the first few weeks of practice.  Our practice weapons include sticks, staves, practice daggers, wooden practice swords (called wasters), synthetic practice swords.  Advanced practice requires blunt steel weapons and more protective gear of your own.  If your interest in western martial arts grows you will eventually want to own your own gear anyway and there are several suitable vendors who provide these items.  

To summarize to start up:

  • wear loose fitting clothng

  • Light runners

  • personal protection ( a cup!)

then get:

  • hard elbow protectors

  • knee protectors similar to those used in mountain biking

  • neck protection

After that:

  • Your own sword (metal)

  • A Mask

  • A jacket

  • shin and arm protection


  • Trousers

  • Anything else you want

Gear Requirements for a typical practice

Once you are no longer a beginner add the following to your beginning gear:

  • a HEMA mask

  • neck protection

  • HEMA gauntlets

  • a metal sword

Earnest Sparring Gear requirements

Add to regular practice gear:

  • upgrade to heavy gloves

  • HEMA jacket

  • shin protection

  • forearm protection for slightly built people

  • HEMA or puncture resistent trousers

Wrestling Gear requirements​

Add to beginning gear:

  • a mouth guard 

  • wrestling head gear for ear protection

Recommendations and Links regarding gear

If you have not already done so read "Safety in Swordfighting"

HEMA  equipment is rapidly developing and changing.  Eventually I suspect that there will evolve standards for gear.  For now, use the following links to guide your choices for gear.  There are other companies providing gear that is as good as these examples.  Try to avoid companies that produce gear specific to medieval re-cration .  Often that gear looks cool but does not quite do the job. That being said, there are exceptional re-creation companies out there and some successfully cater to living history, re-creation, and HEMA communities.   Beware of low cost poorly made gear.  The following suggestions represent a standard of quality that you need to be safe when practicing.  Other companies are out there that provide HEMA specific gear.  Just check them out with quality in mind.

HEMA masks

Back of Head Protection

HEMA jackets

HEMA trousers​

Neck Protection

Medium Weight Gloves

Heavy gloves


Forearms (often combined with elbows)

Knees and shins

Any motocross or mountain biking knee and shin protection

Shoes and socks

Any Vivo Barefoot exercise shoe, Lems, Five Fingers and other runners with low heel and not a lot of sole material.

Personal Protection

Both of these items have velcro patches on the legs to hold up hockey leggings.  These have to be removed.

Breast protector

Wrestling head gear

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