from Will Cain III:
1. HEMA-centric BIO. Include club experience, etc.
I found out about HEMA through several websites, including the HEMA
Alliance, ARMA, and the Chicago Swordplay Guild. From there I began
doing some research, and decided I wanted in. I sold the idea to my
local gaming group, and I was fortunate in that the HEMA Alliance
forum members were able to point us to Ben Strickling as a teacher who
lived nearby us. A few weeks later, the Goldsboro Sword Guild was
I can say honestly that I was the driving organizer behind GSG. I
helped the guys find equipment, organized practices, and helped make
sure Ben could get out to see us. I eventually got in touch with Jake
Norwood and his friends, and arranged for them to come down to
Goldsboro for a weekend training session that really was enlightening.
Around the time of this practice, Jake invited me to create the
Audacity blog that features on the Alliance front page. The idea was
to write a series of articles from a beginner's perspective, so that
other beginners could know that the Alliance really is
newcomer-friendly. I love doing Audacity, and so far I feel the
response has been overwhelmingly positive.
Late last year, I moved to California for a new job opportunity, so I
had to leave the GSG behind. But I was able to take up right away with
Kron Martial Arts, a group based in LA. I have enjoyed my time with
Kron immensely, and continue to be involved with it. I helped
volunteer with one of our first big promotional events, where we all
went and displayed our talents at the CSUF pumpkin launch (trebuchets,
swords, it's a match made in heaven), and I've done my best to stay
active in the club despite the large distance between us.
2. Something positive about the Alliance, such as what it's done for you, what it's potential is, etc.
What I feel is the most valuable about the Alliance is it's almost
laissez faire approach to organizing HEMA events, without compromising
our sense of identity. We've been able to welcome SCA members and
other practitioners onto our boards and into our discussions, but have
maintained our distinction that HEMA is HEMA, and that's what we talk
about. It's a great example of how the big-tent approach can allow
it's many members a lot of responsibility without giving up what makes
3. Something that needs to be done to improve the Alliance. Be specific, be critical, be constructive.
I mentioned before that so far, the Alliance has been able to maintain
a sort of HEMA brand identity - SCA is not HEMA, for these reasons a b
and c, etc. This is good, but I feel it can be applied more
consistently or clearly, to help people who are just starting out and
don't know better.
There are sites out there like Bullshido, that serve as a kind of
anarchistic consumer advocacy group. They have no government mandate,
no power to enforce their rulings on anyone. Yet their volunteers
tirelessly investigate dubious claims of martial artists, and if they
feel people are being defrauded, they publicly let folks know. They
also host a feature where students can rate schools they have visited
or trained at, so people have a sense of the options that are out
there. I feel that the HEMA Alliance could benefit from a similar,
informal regulatory body as well, something that can let students
know, "This way lies danger." It already exists in an informal sense,
with some HEMA students warning people away from schools that claim
you can learn the art without sparring, or from ARMA, but I feel
developing a better 'consumer protection' culture within HEMA as a
whole is a very good idea.
4. What will you bring to the table? Reputation? Professional Skills? Organization/leadership experience? What will we be able to rely on you to provide?
1 - the Audacity blog. It's a small thing, though I'm trying to grow
it. While I don't intend to turn it into an official blog for the
Governing Council, it is still an example of the Alliance's commitment
to beginners and helping them understand the art.
2 - enthusiasm. Ask Jonathan Mayshar, Ben Strickling, Jake Norwood or
Jason Taylor - I get excited about things, and I commit lots of time
and energy to them when I can.
3 - I have a very flexible schedule, and I'm on the West Coast,
meaning I can cover a time zone bracket that might be difficult for
east coast members (such as calling organizations out here to arrange
seminars, so forth).
4 - I have experience not only participating in, but running a club.
Admittedly I did so as a complete beginner, but the fact that a
version of the club still exists one full year from the time I started
it speaks well of the effort, and I think I can say that without
5 - writing skills and speaking skills. I'm very good at communicating
with people, and I think that would be an asset for the council.
Jake NorwoodMarylandKDFHEMA Alliance
YouTube Channel: DerAltenFechterDISCLAIMER: The comments in the above post are not the official position of the HEMA Alliance unless signed "President" or otherwise noted.