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A Tournament for Historical Swordsmanship

January 26, 2013

Capital HEMA Open 2013    Capital HEMA Open medalists

Capital HEMA Open 2013 Judges, Competitors, and our Medalists. 2013 Longsword Champion: Matthew Walsh, Silver medal: Daniel Stuart, Bronze Medal: Ben Jarashow

The Virginia Academy of Fencing is proud to host the Capital HEMA Open! HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) is a growing field of martial arts that encompasses many historical fighting traditions, and we will be hosting two competitions with this event: Longsword and Rapier. *UPDATE*: The Rapier tournament has been cancelled.

WHO CAN PARTICIPATE: This event is open to participants of all experience levels aged 18 and up. Participants must sign a safety waiver.

EQUIPMENT: All participants MUST have the following:
  • Long athletic pants with no bare skin exposed (HEMA knickers with long socks are acceptable)
  • Non-marking athletic shoes
  • Minimum of a three weapons fencing mask or better (back of the head protection is not required but strongly recommended)
  • Rigid elbow and knee protection
  • Throat guard
  • Minimum of a 3 weapon fencing jacket (padded torso protection is highly encouraged)
  • Men must wear an athletic cup

Longsword fencers are required to have the following additional protection:

  • Forearm guards
  • Heavy hand protection (Lacrosse gloves are the bare minimum)
  • Note that participants will be using the provided synthetic longsword simulators at the tournament, and will not be using their own swords.

Rapier fencers are required to have the following additional protection:

  • A pair of gloves (such as standard fencing gloves)
  • A standard steel historical fencing rapier with a minimum blade length of 35" and no longer than 45" (measured from the guard). Swords MUST be designed for rapier fencing. No modern sport fencing weapons will be allowed.

Additional safety equipment (such as plastic chest guards, shin guards, padded shirts for underneath the jacket, etc) are optional but encouraged. For more detailed information, please visit our website.

RULES: Click here for the LONGSWORD rules. Click here for the RAPIER rules.

LOCATION: Virginia Academy of Fencing, 5401-B Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA 22151 (just outside of Washington DC) There is plenty of parking, and showers/changing rooms are on site. Please visit our website of a list of local hotels and restaurants.

SCHEDULE: There will be two events- Longsword: Saturday, January 26, starting at 3:30 pm, and Rapier: Sunday, January 27, starting at 3:30pm.

REGISTRATION: Registration $50 per event. ALL SALES ARE FINAL: NO REFUNDS. To register for the Saturday Longsword tournament, please click here: To register for the Sunday Rapier tournament, please click here: (NOTE: We are using a registration system that is set up primarily for sport fencing. As such, it does not have a "Longsword" or "Rapier" option when registering. The only option will say "Mixed Foil", but rest assured, that is the correct option!)

CONTACT INFORMATION: E-mail Bill Grandy at or call VAF at (703) 321-4922.