HEMA is the acronym for Historical European Martial Arts. HEMA focuses on the study and practice of martial arts that have since evolved beyond recognition, or been replaced over time, such as sword fighting.

Surviving texts and manuscripts from the Medieval, Renaissance, or post-Renaissance eras serve as the primary source material. Typically written in Italian, German, French or Spanish, translations of these texts are becoming increasingly more available.

HEMA is sometimes referred to as WMA, or Western Martial Arts. The term Historical Fencing is also accurate. The three names are frequently used interchangeably, though there can be differences. For example WMA may include arts currently in use, where HEMA and Historical Fencing are specifically geared toward martial arts from particular periods.