Getting gifts for anyone can be quite the challenge. Sometimes you have so many choices you can’t possibly pick out just one. Yet other times, you just can’t possibly think of a gift that would be juuuust right. Now, in case that your chosen giftee is a sword enthusiast, I might have a few ideas for you… We’ll start at the untenably expensive and move down from there. Ready?
1.) A castle
So you thought I was kidding when I said untenably expensive, eh? Well, worry not! We’ll start with gifts that are valued in the millions!
Though… sometimes, fewer millions than you’d expect. Plus, just imagine having a fencing hall in a castle of your own… And being able to hold events there. And having all your HEMA friends over whenever you feel like it… *sigh…* Check these links out for yourself.
2.) A proper harness
Granted, not everyone who’s into swords is into armour as well, but the circles intersect to a pretty large degree. They are so very, very pretty, and museums have such a wonderful array of styles to choose from when you go for a custom one. And just imagine the envious looks you’d get walking down the street in one of those babies… It’s like having a supercar, only better. And to top it off, they cost MUCH less than castles do! The bad news is… They still cost a lot. And a good harness will be made to measure, which always comes with a price. Here’s one armorsmith you can contact.
3.) An antique sword
Yup. You can get those. And they don’t even need to be all that expensive! Remember, sabres were still in use in WW1. In fact, buying a medieval antique sword is a bit inadvisable unless your are very, very knowledgeable on the topic, since you risk getting a fake. But getting a late 19th or 20th century blade isn’t quite as risky, as there are many good resources online to recognize some of those. If you’re even a bit into HEMA, you’ve surely heard of Matt Easton, who runs the Schola Gladiatoria Youtube channel… Well, it just so happens that he also runs an antique swords business!
3.) A sharp sword
And herein we get into the somewhat plausible gift ideas. Make no mistake, they can still be incredibly expensive, depending on what you want to get. For example, an exquisite pattern-welded Viking sword by a renowned maker may cost you several thousand euros… But then you can also get some really high-quality, well regarded blades such as those by Albion or Valiant Armoury for less than 1000 euros, or go with some HEMA manufacturers that also do sharps, such as Regenyei, ElGur or Landsknecht Emporium. Hell, you can even find some absolutely stunning, yet functional fantasy swords that can actually still be called swords! Then, of course, you have the individual makers that do stunning work – Gael Fabre or Fabrice Cognot come to mind for some truly custom pieces.
4.) HEMA gear
The items listed so far might be expensive, but they last more or less forever… Not so with HEMA gear. Masks get dented, paddings get corroded by sweat, jackets and pants tear, swords break. Have no fear, though, for Arming Guild is here to help… by also plugging in some of our own stuff!
The head is super important. Like, you really, REALLY need it. So it makes sense to get a good mask that will keep those pesky concussions away. We won’t bother with false modesty here, because we genuinely believe that Rearguard is by far the best mask for HEMA on the market, with several HEMA-specific additions that make a huge difference… Feel free to check it out here, and check out why this is actually a HEMA specific mask. Below is a review by Schola Gladiatoria, though there have been some improvements made since. And oh yeah – we have a discount on it! But also limited supplies…
Used to be there was only one option for a jacket. That’s changed a bit now, though there still isn’t that much of a choice when it comes to companies making jackets. We do have some now that look very nice, and a few staples. Everyone already knows the SPES ones, but I had the good luck of getting to use another jacket at a Dreynevent which really ended up impressing me: the Arcem HEMA jacket. It comes in a 350N and 800N versions, which both also come in women’s cuts, as well as a ton of other options. One of the discerning features is the collar that goes over the bib of the mask, thus giving extra throat protection and making sure it’s impossible for a sword to slide underneath the bib. The padding level is medium – I have used it in heavy sparring and felt safe, but what’s more important is that the freedom of movement was truly impressive. So definitely worth to check this one out if you’re considering getting someone (or yourself) a new jacket… You may have noticed there’s an omission of a company that makes pretty affordable jackets – that is due to them simply copying designs made by other companies, which we at Arming Guild do not approve of.
Ah yes. In ye olden days, when feders were not yet really a thing and the height of finger protection were lacrosse gloves, we well knew how very, very fragile our fingers are. With the arrival of sparring gloves, that changed. Sure, there are still strikes that get through the protection we have, but trust me. It’s a lot better. Plus, there’s actually choice on the market now! There are the absolutely fantastic, yet still not widely available (and also super expensive) ProGauntlets. The already mentioned Sparring Gloves are also great (though I’d personally avoid the 5-finger models – op.ed.). I’ve also heard good things about DMZ’s Hands of Glory gloves, though I’ve not had a chance to try them.
There’s also the lighter gloves, for weapons that aren’t exactly Hulktacular or already have extra hand protection. Here, the Red Dragon gloves are my favorites so far, and provide a much greater degree of mobility than the heavy gloves, though I wouldn’t dare spar longsword in them. Sabre, rapier, and sidesword are a different game, though!
Not much difference here, even less so than with the jackets. Black Armoury has a pretty decent offering – you can find SPES pants, DoHEMA pants, and DMZ pants. The only other maker that calls for mention here is Bloss, with their Fancy Pants… For all of you that like your fanciness in HEMA.
e) Strength training gear
Here, you can of course go with the regular stuff, such as dumbbels or an olympic barbell, which are absolutely damn awesome. Or…. OR! You could go for something more historical… such as some wonderful, lovely, indian clubs!
f) Miscal… Miscelle… Misc… Screw it, various stuff
There’s more than just having gear and shinies to what we do. The gear also requires some transportation and upkeep… Therefore, it’s very important that we have bags to put our pretties into, as well as keep them nice and rust-free. Bonus! These things don’t cost an arm and a leg! Not even a pinkie! Well, most of them don’t…
HEMAists tend to be book lovers. Especially when it comes to books written about best ways to brutally end your enemies with your weapon of choice. Here, I would warmly recommend books by Fallen Rook Publishing. If you’re buying for a longsword lubber, the German Longsword Study Guide is a fantastic choice, and a wonderful resource. Of course, knowing which authors to get is also great here, but that shouldn’t be too difficult to find out from a HEMAist. Just ask them about what author they’re interested in, then sit back and get comfortable, because you’re gonna be there a while..
6.) Tids and bits
Need something a bit smaller? That’s fine as well! How about a hugely motivational T-shirt? Or, to keep in spirits of the time, a proper face mask so the nerddom that would usually be seen on your giftee’s face isn’t lost? Or something nice to drink coffee from? If you wanna be fancy and subtle about it, you can also get some pretty nice HEMA-related jewelry…
There! Hopefully you will be able to find something in there that’ll fit your gifting needs! And, should you decide to get that castle… Let us know, eh? We’d love to come visit…