Tournament Season? Tournament Countries? Where and when does HEMA happen

I’ve always had in my mind that the summer is the busy time for HEMA. Even though we, as a community, run events year round it always felt like there was a tournament “season” centered around the summer. And to my surprise when talking to someone else they mentioned how the summer was a slow patch for tournaments. Something completely contrary to my experience.

And like any good empiricist, I looked for data to confirm either way.

HEMA Season

First question, is there a HEMA tournament season? When facing a question like this I turn to the largest database of HEMA tournaments, HEMA Ratings. And, being the gracious supporters of analytics they are, I was provided a list of all events in their database sorted by date.

So I was wrong. In summer there’s actually a lull in tournaments. If there is any sort of tournament season it would actually be in the fall. 

But wait! Maybe it’s a North American thing.

Nope, still wrong. But interestingly enough the October to December stretch is much less busy than it is in the overall world data. 

But while we’re here…

Of course once I get my hands on a data set curiosity takes over.

We have a rough idea of when events are being hosted, but where are they being hosted? 

The United States comes out as having by far the most events per year. Over twice that of the next largest! Enough so that let’s have another look at that graph, zoomed in a bit so we can see what other countries are doing a bit better.

Not all countries are equal

Of course this isn’t a completely fair comparison. Though the United States has by far the most competitions going on, it is also a much bigger place than any of the European countries individually. If we now look at the number of HEMA events per population…

We can see the United States jump right to the lower half of the rankings. Unsurprisingly we can see countries like Slovakia, Sweden, and Finland up near the top. Quite surprisingly we see Ireland dominate. And Brazil, with its 3 recorded HEMA tournaments and massive population, is bringing up the rear.

And one last question, what happens when we look at it by land area? Something all the dwarf sized European countries should enjoy.

No surprise, the countries that were on top stay on top. I was half expecting Taiwan to win, but it turns out it’s actually bigger than I thought. And to my delight Canada isn’t last! We just need a HEMA group in a place like Luxembourg or Singapore to organize a single event that will catapult them to the top of these ratings.

Wrapping Up

Naturally this data has a significant bias, in that it only reflects events which have submitted themselves to HEMA ratings. Certain countries have more formal tournaments and more detailed records, and will thus get a larger share of their events captured. Likewise if the competition structure tends towards many smaller events you might not get them captured at all.

Which may be what lead me to my original thoughts about tournament season. It isn’t that the summer is significantly busier with formal tournaments, but there are a lot of demonstrations and other activities. Making it a busy time of year for other reasons.

Stuff for Nerds

I chose the period of 2017 & 2018 because if you go too early the HEMA Ratings data on events gets sparser and sparser. And if you go too close to the present you will be missing data for events which have happened but haven’t yet been submitted and/or processed. This offers a simple 24 month snapshot, and will be interesting to compare against 2019.

Units for the two un-axied* graphs are Events per Million People and Events per Million Square Km.

*might not be a proper word, but I like the way it sounds.

To get the population and area data I typed it into google and used what it gave me. 

Data I was working with:

Name Year Month Country City
Capitol Clash: Washington DC HEMA Open 2017 2017 1 United States National Harbor
Helsinki Longsword Open 2017 2017 1 Finland Helsinki
Siberian Cup 2017  2017 1 Russia Novosibirsk
Midwinter Armizare Open 2017 1 United States Chicago
DEMAS Long Sword Tournament 2017 2017 1 United States Santa Clara
Encuentro 2017 2017 2 Mexico Metepec
CAMO V 2017 2 Chile Santiago
Winter’s End 2017 2017 2 United States Newberg
SoCal Swordfight 2017 2017 2 United States Huntington Beach
Blade Master 2017 2017 2 Russia Chelyabinsk
Winter En-Guard 2017 2017 2 Ireland Feakle
Durchschlag 2017 2017 2 Poland Łódź
Fecht TN 2017 2017 2 Slovakia Trencín
Swedish Championships (qualifiers) 2017 2017 2 Sweden Gothenburg
AIMA Roma 2017 2017 3 Italy Rome
Flowerpoint 2017 2017 3 United States Kutztown
3rd Annual Tosetti Institute HEMA Tournament 2017 3 United States Redwood City
Arnold Fencing Classic 2017 2017 3 United States Columbus
V Budapest MHS nylon és feder Kardvívó torna 2017 3 Hungary Budapest
Cup of Enisey 2017 2017 3 Russia Krasnoyarsk
Queen’s Gambit 2017 2017 3 United States Charlotte
Vasaslaget 2017 2017 3 Sweden Uppsala
Purpleheart Open 2017 2017 3 United States Houston
Duelling Classic 2017 2017 3 Russia Moscow
Montpellier HEMA Tournament 2017 2017 3 France Montpellier
Savannah Historic Longsword Open 2017 2017 4 United States Savannah
North West Tournament 2017 2017 4 Italy Cortazzone
Open Championship of Ural Federal District 2017 2017 4 Russia Chelyabinsk
Level One: Military Sabre 2017 2017 4 Russia Saint Petersburg
Fecht BA 2017 2017 4 Slovakia Bratislava
Scania Open 2017 2017 4 Sweden Malmö
Broken Point 2017 2017 4 United States Pittsburgh
Big Moscow Tournament 2017 2017 4 Russia Moscow
Festival of the Sword ’17 2017 4 Australia Melbourne
Frühlingsfechten 2017 2017 4 Germany Dortmund
Blademasters Cup 2017 2017 4 Ireland Cork
Scherma Medievale nella Città Ideale 2017 2017 4 Italy Urbino
Study in Steel 2017 2017 4 United States Greenville
HEMAY 2017 2017 4 Hungary Győr
Fior Di Szatmár 2017 2017 5 Romania Satu Mare
Jihlavský HEMA turnaj 2017 2017 5 Czech Republic Jihlava
Icebreaker Open 2017 2017 5 United States Minneapolis
Rocky Mountain Krieg 2017 2017 5 United States Denver
Michigan Medieval Combat Association 10 Year Anniversary Tournament 2017 5 United States Livonia
Norway Open 2017 2017 5 Norway Oslo
Österreichische Meisterschaft 2017 2017 5 Austria Salzburg
EHMS salikisa 2017 2017 5 Finland Helsinki
Paris HEMA Open 2017 2017 5 France Paris
The May Melee 2017 2017 5 United Kingdom Newnham
Fechtschule New York 2017 2017 6 United States Margaretville
HEMAC HEMAthlon 2017 2017 6 Greece Athens
Sweden Open 2017 2017 6 Sweden Kristinehamn
Villeneuve Hema Tournament 2017 2017 6 France Villeneuve-Loubet
Fecht Yeah 2017 2017 6 United States New York
International Lowlands HEMA Gathering 2017 2017 6 Netherlands Amsterdam
Red Dragon Tourney 2017 2017 6 United Kingdom Conwy
Féile na Gaiscígh 2017 2017 6 Ireland Dublin
Swedish Championships (finals) 2017 2017 7 Sweden Borås
Longpoint 2017 2017 7 United States Baltimore
400 Years Tournament 2017 7 Australia Melbourne
Astolat HEMA Open 2017 2017 7 United Kingdom Guildford
Sword Fight III 2017 7 Australia Burleigh Heads
Dutch Lions Cub #2 2017 2017 7 Netherlands Nieuwegein
Fairfax Mini Renaissance Faire 2017 2017 7 United States Fairfax
Simply Synthetic 2017 8 Ireland Feakle
Combat Con 2017 2017 8 United States Las Vegas
FightCamp 2017 2017 8 United Kingdom Coventry
VI Budapest MHS nylon és feder Kardvívó torna 2017 8 Hungary Budapest
Belfast Bladeworks 2017 2017 8 United Kingdom Belfast
Dutch Lions Cup 2017 2017 8 Netherlands Utrecht
Battle of the Bridge 2017 2017 9 Sweden Örebro
Swordplay Australia 2017 2017 9 Australia Brisbane
Krump Pow 3 2017 9 United States Appleton
PGF Salut birthday tournament 2017 2017 9 Poland Poznań
Wessex League: Bristol Chapter 2017 2017 9 United Kingdom Bristol
Torneo di bara 2017 2017 9 Austria Vienna
Swiss Gathering 2017 2017 9 Switzerland Schönbühl
Sandstorm 2017 2017 9 United States Phoenix
World Broadsword Championship 2017 2017 9 Australia Sydney
TaurHEMAchia 2017 2017 9 Italy Turin
Iron Gate Exhibition 2017 2017 9 United States Danvers
W3 2017 2017 10 Poland Warsaw
Edgebana 2017 2017 10 United Kingdom Dundee
1º Torneio Regional de Esgrima Histórica Riversouth 2017 10 Brazil Curitiba
Optimus Bucharest HEMA Open Longsword Tournament 2017 2017 10 Romania Mogosoaia
Galway Longsword Open – 26 Commandments 2017 2017 10 Ireland Galway
HEFFAC 2017 2017 10 Netherlands Oegstgeest
FechtsChile 2017 2017 10 Chile Santiago
Tyrnhaw 2017 2017 10 Slovakia Trnava
QuadroHEMiA 4 2017 10 United Kingdom Lincoln
Ascent Sabre Tournament 2017 2017 10 Russia Saint Petersburg
Longpoint South 2017 2017 10 United States Orlando
War in the West 2017 2017 10 Australia Perth
Salzburger Landesmeisterschaft 2017 2017 10 Austria Salzburg
Wessex League: Reading Chapter 2017 2017 10 United Kingdom Reading
Swordfish 2017 2017 11 Sweden Gothenburg
4. offenes Fechtturnier in Kassel 2017 11 Germany Kassel
Tempest Longsword Open Tournament 2017 2017 11 Ireland Feakle
SERFO 2017 2017 11 United States Atlanta
HEMA tournament Prague 2017 11 Czech Republic Prague
Rose City Classic: 2017 2017 11 United States Oak Grove
Duels at High Noon 2017 2017 11 United States Tucson
Johann Georg Pascha Turnier 2017 2017 11 Germany Leipzig
Ligowy Turniej Szabli i Rapiera 2017 2017 11 Poland Wieliczka
Broadwater Bucklerthon 2017 2017 11 United Kingdom Godalming
Blue Box Longsword Open 2017 2017 11 United States Columbus
Niederösterreichische Landesmeisterschaft “Langes Schwert” 2017 2017 11 Austria Bad Vöslau
I Torneo Vila de Redondela 2017 2017 11 Spain Pontevedra
Helsinki Bolognese Open 2017 2017 11 Finland Helsinki
Wessex League: Bath Chapter 2017 2017 11 United Kingdom Bath
Long Island Point 2017 2017 12 United States New York
Tasmanian Swordplay Symposium 2017 2017 12 Australia Hobart
Pardubický-meč 2017 2017 12 Czech Republic Pardubice
Falcons Cup 2017 2017 12 Poland Oborniki
Wessex League: London Chapter 2017 2017 12 United Kingdom London
HVN Singlestick Charity Tournament 2017 2017 12 Netherlands Oestgeest
The IHA Christmas Cup 2017 12 United Kingdom Dundee
Brisia 2017 – HEMA Pro Challenge 2017 12 Italy Brescia
Swordplay Serbia 2017 2017 12 Serbia Belgrade
WinterFecht 2017 2017 12 Slovakia Bratislava
Clash of Steel 2018 2018 1 Taiwan New Taipei City
DC HEMA Open 2018 2018 1 United States Washington
The Quickening 2018 2018 1 Ireland Feakle
Helsinki Longsword Open 2018 2018 1 Finland Helsinki
VII Torneo de Naron 2018 2018 1 Spain Naron
Australia Day Tournament 2018 2018 1 Australia Adelaide
Silicon Valley Sword Fight 2018 2018 1 United States Santa Clara
Blade Master 2018 2018 2 Russia Chelyabinsk
Encuentro de Artes Marciales Europeas 2018 2018 2 Mexico Toluca
Queen’s Gambit 2018 2018 2 United States Charlotte
CAMO VI 2018 2 Chile Santiago
Hema Ianua 2018 2018 2 Italy Genova
HEMAtom 2018 2018 2 Croatia Zagreb
Féile na Gaiscígh 2018 2018 2 Ireland Dublin
SoCal Swordfight 2018 2018 2 United States Huntington Beach
Trenciansky Vorschlag 2018 2018 2 Slovakia Trenčín
Ram Point 2018 2018 2 United States Richmond
QuadroHEMiA 4.5 2018 2 United Kingdom Lincoln
VXT 2018 – Clermont-Ferrand 2018 2 France Clermont-Ferrand
English Sidesword Open 2018 2018 2 United Kingdom Godalming
Arnold Fencing Classic 2018 2018 3 United States Columbus
Durchschlag 2018 2018 3 Poland Łódź
AIMA Roma 2018 2018 3 Italy Rome
Axel Pettersson Challenge Tournament 2018 2018 3 Australia Adelaide
VII. Budapesti MHS párnázott kard és feder torna 2018 3 Hungary Budapest
Vasaslaget 2018 2018 3 Sweden Uppsala
FlowerPoint 2018 2018 3 United States Kutztown
Arizona HEMA League 2018 Event 1 2018 3 United States Phoenix
Prima Spada HEMA Rapier Tournament 2018 3 Australia Brisbane
Schwertkampf 2018 2018 3 Mexico Atizapan de Zaragoza
Montpellier Hema Tournament 2018 2018 3 France Montpellier
Spring Golden Forests Championship 2018 2018 3 Russia Moscow
Spring Open Duel Fencing Championship of the Ural Federal District 2018 2018 4 Russia Chelyabinsk
Fiore Open 2018 2018 4 Australia Melbourne
1º Torneio Sul-brasileiro de Artes Marciais Históricas Europeias 2018 4 Brazil Curitiba
Purpleheart Open 2018 2018 4 United States Houston
Swordtrip – the Gathering 2018 2018 4 Germany Munich
Torneo Abierto 2018 2018 4 Chile Santiago
Bratislavský Fecht 4 2018 4 Slovakia Bratislava
Broken Point 2018 2018 4 United States Pittsburgh
Study in Steel 2018 2018 4 United States Greenville
Frühlingsfechten 2018 2018 4 Germany Dortmund
Blademasters Cup 2018 2018 4 Ireland Cork
Scherma Medievale nella Città Ideale 2018 2018 4 Italy Urbino
Icebreaker Open 2018 2018 4 United States Minneapolis
Big Moscow Tournament 2018 4 Russia Moscow
Fior di Szatmár 2018 2018 5 Romania Ardud
Capoferro Open 2018 2018 5 Australia Melbourne
Torneo Pontevedra 2018 5 Spain Pontevedra
Athens HEMA Open 2018 2018 5 Greece Athens
Montréal Sword Meisters 2018 2018 5 Canada Montréal
Victoria Highland Games Open 2018 2018 5 Canada Victoria
Level One Dueling Sabre and Longsword 2018 2018 5 Russia Saint Petersburg
The May Melee 2018 2018 5 United Kingdom Newnham
ÖFHF Austrian Championships 2018 2018 5 Austria Graz
Trofeo ARA 2018 2018 5 Italy Rome
OPEN AMHE Toulouse 4 2018 6 France Toulouse
Oslo Penguin Cup 2018 2018 6 Norway Oslo
Žilinský Kumšt I. 2018 6 Slovakia Žilina
Sidesword Open 2018 2018 6 Australia Preston
Dutch Lions Cub #1 2018 2018 6 Netherlands Nieuwegein
HEMAC Hemathlon 2018 2018 6 Greece Athens
MUTINÆNIS – Torneo Nazionale delle Discipline HEMA  2018 6 Italy Modena
Baton Rouge Open 2018 2018 6 United States Baton Rouge
Arizona HEMA League 2018 Event 2 2018 6 United States Tucson
World Broadsword Championship 2018 2018 6 Australia Sydney
Torneo 100Tolos HEMA 2018 6 Spain Coruña
Boar’s Tooth 2018 2018 6 United States Boston
I Torneo Master “Memorial Achille Marozzo” 2018 2018 6 Italy Firenze
Villeneuve Hema Tournament 2018 2018 6 France Villeneuve-Loubet
Fecht Yeah 2018 2018 6 United States New York
Paris HEMA Open 2018 2018 6 France Paris
La Curée de Mélusine II 2018 6 France Poitiers
Black Horns Cup 2018 2018 6 Poland Poznań
All’s Faire HEMA Tournament 2018 6 United States Olympia
Treffen Historischer Fechter Deutschlands 2018 2018 6 Germany Nordhausen
II Torneo del Hierro 2018 6 Spain Santander
Wrathpoint 2018 2018 6 United States Shepherdstown
Swedish Championships 2018 2018 7 Sweden Stockholm
Albion Cup 2018 2018 7 United Kingdom Dorking
Lord Baltimore’s Challenge 2018 7 United States Baltimore
Festival of the Sword ’18 2018 7 Australia Doncaster
Clash of the Towers 2018 7 Ireland Dublin
QuadroHEMiA 5 2018 7 United Kingdom Lincoln
Sword Fight IV 2018 7 Australia Gold Coast
Dutch Lions Cub #2 2018 2018 7 Netherlands Nieuwegein
Cornhusker State Games 2018 2018 7 United States Omaha
Combat Con 2018 2018 8 United States Las Vegas
Points North 2018 2018 8 Canada Ottawa
Helsinki Bolognese Open 2018 2018 8 Finland Helsinki
II. Bicornio HEMA Gathering 2018 8 Hungary Debrecen
FightCamp 2018 2018 8 United Kingdom Coventry
1st HERA Event 2018 8 Australia Adelaide
NeCro 2018 2018 8 Croatia Zagreb
Dutch Lions Cup 2018 2018 8 Netherlands Utrecht
The Horned Crown 2018 2018 9 Ireland Wexford
Clash of Claymores 2018 9 United States Carlisle
Swordplay Australia 2018 2018 9 Australia Brisbane
Battle of the Bridge 2018 2018 9 Sweden Örebro
Wessex League 2018: London Chapter 2018 9 United Kingdom London
The Battle of Buffalo 2018 2018 9 United States Buffalo
Tremonia Fechtschule 2018 2018 9 Germany Dortmund
Nordschlag 2018 2018 9 Canada Edmonton
Geselle Fechten 2018 2018 9 United States Oklahoma City
Mid Atlantic Rookie Tournament: Fighty McFightface 2018 9 United States Kutztown
Edgebana 2018 2018 9 United Kingdom Dundee
Duels at High Noon 2018 2018 9 United States Tucson
Five Rings Fencing Annual KC Sword Tournament 2018 2018 9 United States Olathe
Sword & Buckler Open 2018 2018 9 Australia Melbourne
Iron Gate Exhibition 2018 2018 9 United States Boston
8. Dresdner Fechtschul 2018 9 Germany Dresden
W3 2018 2018 9 Poland Warsaw
Wessex League 2018: Taunton Chapter 2018 9 United Kingdom Taunton
TaurHEMAchia VI Edition 2018 10 Italy Turin
Krump Pow 2018 2018 10 United States Appleton
2º Torneo Vila de Redondela 2018 2018 10 Spain Redondela
Steel City Open 2018 2018 10 United States Pittsburgh
Autumn Ural Cup 2018 2018 10 Russia Ekaterinburg
Lone Star Open 2018 2018 10 United States Houston
5. offenes Fechtturnier in Kassel 2018 10 Germany Kassel
Salzburger Landesmeisterschaft 2018 2018 10 Austria Salzburg
Heffac 2018 2018 10 Belgium Antwerp
Pfälzer Fehde 2018 2018 10 Germany Neustadt an der Weinstraße
Prima Spada HEMA Sabre Tournament 2018 10 Australia Brisbane
Johann Georg Pascha Turnier 2018 2018 10 Germany Leipzig
Falcons Cup 2018 2018 10 Poland Poznań
Tyrnhaw 2018 2018 10 Slovakia Trnava
Swiss Gathering 2018 2018 10 Switzerland Urtenen-Schönbühl
Wessex League 2018: Cardiff Chapter 2018 10 United Kingdom Cardiff
Arizona HEMA League 2018 Event 3 2018 10 United States Phoenix
Tempest 2018 2018 11 Ireland Feakle
Swordfish 2018 2018 11 Sweden Gothenburg
Primer Torneo de Esgrima Historica de Santurtzi 2018 11 Spain Santurtzi
SERFO 2018 2018 11 United States Atlanta
Digladior HEMA tournaj 2018 2018 11 Czech Republic Prague
Long Island Point 2018 2018 11 United States Uniondale
The 400 Years Tournament 2018 11 Australia Melbourne
1º Torneio de Esgrima Histórica de Valinhos 2018 2018 11 Brazil Valinhos
The Might 2018 2018 11 France Istres
VIII Budapest MHS Kardvívó torna 2018 11 Hungary Budapest
Galway Longsword Open 2018 2018 11 Ireland Galway
LangHEMA 2018 2018 11 Italy Alba
Torneo ARA 17/11/18 2018 11 Italy Rome
Niederösterreichische Landesmeisterschaft NÖLM18 2018 11 Austria St. Pölten
Blue Box Longsword Open 2018 2018 11 United States Columbus
Winter Open Duel Fencing Championship of the Ural Federal District  2018 11 Russia Chelyabinsk
Wessex League 2018: Winchester Chapter 2018 11 United Kingdom Winchester
November Fechtschule 2018 2018 11 Australia Canterbury
IFHEMA Cup 2018 2018 11 Portugal Lisbon
Swordplay Serbia 2018 2018 11 Serbia Belgrade
Tasmanian Swordplay Symposium 2018 2018 12 Australia Hobart
Pardubický meč 2018 2018 12 Czech Republic Pardubice
HVN Singlestick Charity Tournament 2018 2018 12 Netherlands Oegstgeest
Winter Golden Forests Championship 2018 2018 12 Russia Moscow
Polish Championships 2018 2018 12 Poland Wroclaw
FechtTerra 2018 2018 12 Russia Saint Petersburg
Glasgow HEMA Open 2018 2018 12 United Kingdom Glasgow
EHMS Open Doors Tournament 2018 2018 12 Finland Helsinki
Brisia 2018 – Test Gatering for Minsk 2019 2018 12 Italy Brescia
Mid Continental Hema Open – Beta #1 2018 12 United States Denver
About Sean Franklin 61 Articles
Sean has a Bachelor's Degree in Mechatronic Systems Engineering, and is currently employed as a Controls Engineer. He is passionate about developing more analytical ways to view sword fighting, wishing to develop evidence based standards for protective gear and rule sets informed by tournament statistics. His martial arts history includes competitive success, medaling in international competitions for Longsword, Messer, Grappling, Rapier, and Cutting. In addition to competition Sean has been invited to instruct at a number of events across North America and Europe.