The best starting point would be one of our Weekend Longsword Classes — these are accessible to students of all levels of experience, and do not require special gear.
Some classes, such as Langes Messer, Dueling Workshops, and LED Saber welcome new/beginner students and require no special gear to get started.
We recommend taking at least 4-8 Fundamentals or beginner friendly classes to anyone who has never done Historical European Martial Arts before, even if you have taken classes in foil or epee fencing or other kinds of martial arts.
What to Expect
Our Fundamentals classes focus on the basic use of the medieval longsword. Specifically, we study German longsword in the tradition of Johannes Liechtenauer. This is part of a broader discipline known as Kunst des Fechtens (KDF), or the "Art of Fencing".
These classes give you an overview of what we do and introduce some of the basic movements and terminology you will need to take other classes, and they are a great foundation for any weapons style.
Longsword Fundamentals classes are not just for beginners! Often intermediate and advanced students join the Fundamentals class to reinforce their skills and newer students benefit from working their colleagues.
What to Wear
If you're just starting out, you won't need much, only comfortable athletic clothing and shoes.
As you progress in your training and want to participate in more advanced exercises, you'll be required to obtain the appropriate protective equipment.
For more information about gear check our page about HEMA Equipment.
I've taken some Fundamentals classes. What's next?
The Fundamentals classes are designed to teach you the basic information that is needed to study any of the forms offered by Gemac, and to train the foundational skills common to all of those forms.
To build and refine those skills, you are welcome to take Fundamentals classes for as long as you like and can return to them at any time.
When you are ready and have obtained the required equipment, you can continue studying longsword by joining the Concepts & Techniques longsword class if you wish. You may also choose to pursue a different weapon style, such as langes messer or sword & buckler.
If you're not familiar with the other styles, it's a good idea to get more information before you sign up for class. You can do this by speaking with the instructor of those classes, asking your Fundamentals instructor, or staying after class to watch any classes that are running in the next timeslot (space permitting).