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Our School


From Inception till Today

A.S.E.M.A (The Auckland School of European Martial Arts) was the first group/club or school in New Zealand Dedicated to the study of H.E.M.A while most modern H.E.M.A groups in New Zealand come from a background in the S.C.A, reenactment combat or stage combat we are proud of our history of only ever studying Sword Arts and other historical martial arts systems from across Europe with the intent of recreating them as historically accurate and martially functional as possible.

First created by Colin in 2004 as part of the N.Z.S.E.M.A group A.S.E.M.A was originally the flag ship of the schools, running classes on four different historical arts and week and setting the culture we still train and study by today.
In 2007 our main instructor (NZ Martial Arts Hall of Famer - Colin McKinstry) moved from Auckland to Wellington and started W.S.E.M.A
(Wellington School of European Martial Arts) which is now the parent school and flag ship of N.Z.S.E.M.A. 

For a while A.S.E.M.A floundered and nearly died with several members attempting to run a number of classes with varying levels of success and even greater variation in historical accuracy and functionality.

Our present trainers have been studying, practicing and training in W.M.A and H.E.M.A systems on and off ever since in an attempt to keep A.S.E.M.A alive and have the school live up to the original design and expectation:

Our Schools Aim:
A school dedicated to the constant practice and refinement of interpretations of H.E.M.A and W.M.A systems in an attempt to replicate the original arts in the most functional and accurate way possible.

So what makes us different?

For starters we are a school, we are not a club or a group where people go just to hit each other with roughly sword shaped objects, this means our classes are guided training sessions with a curriculum designed around instructing the art forms we teach from the fundamentals and principals of the arts to the tool box of techniques a practitioner will learn to master as they become more familiar with the art and the mechanics and principals that form its structure.
For every H.E.M.A group like ours that focuses on the interpretation of historical systems in an attempt to recreate them as accurately as possible as functional and deadly martial arts, there are ten or more groups trying to turn H.E.M.A into a modern sport more akin to modern fencing than the historical art.
We politely refer to this approach as sports-H.E.M.A and while it certainly brings value to the H.E.M.A community as a whole we are proud to stand with the minority of groups reconstructing these arts in way that is focused on how they were originally used and the implications of a success or failure of techniques.

Our instructors facilitate training because they are the practitioners who have put the time and effort into researching and interpreting the arts they are passionate about and instruct others through the application of sound adult learning principals.
We strongly believe in the learn by teaching approach and as a learner develops their own experience and knowledge they are given the opportunity to develop their depth of knowledge by helping newer members grow and eventually if they wish co-facilitating sessions on different martial arts across our cultural calendar or during our out of sequence month.

We aim to empower learners and practitioners to become skilled in the arts we teach, study and train but also to promote the study of arts which they feel passionate about and help them work on their own interpretations.
So we don't just aim to teach martial competency or to develop historically accurate interpretations but we aim to develop students who can step up to instruct others, to help H.E.M.A grow and to continue the path toward restoring these arts to their former glory.
We reject the hierarchy approach and believe that learning is  group effort, you will only get out what you put in but you are also never to new or to experienced to ask questions or to change your interpretations or to be inspired by an art you hadn't previously been interested in.


The way we train:
Our head instructor in Auckland is a professional adult educator meaning our sessions are designed and developed in a way to provide a building block approach to learning that develops skills, knowledge and confidence while applying adulting learning theory to encourage engagement through gamification and human centered learning, this means we do not throw you in the deep end and that we cover context that the original masters of the arts expected their students to have already mastered.

Throughout your training with us you will be taken through a series of different learning experiences each designed to develop not only your technique and skill but beyond that to assist in developing your contextual knowledge of the arts, their underlying mechanics and the philosophy, principals or approach which string the art together beyond a series of techniques.

We have started publishing instructional videos for learners and practitioners who are members of our A.S.E.M.A attendees page on facebook.
In the future we hope to create higher quality recordings of these focused on arts within our curriculum which we can release to the public to showcase our interpretations and allow self directed remote learning for students to practice in their own time.



Our Instructors 

Peter - Head Instructor - (Panmure) and Mt Wellington

I've been Studying, practicing and interpreting H.E.M.A systems since 2004 instructing them on and off for nearly as long.
I think the mastery of a single H.E.M.A art or system is a lifelong venture, sadly I'm intrigued by a lot more than one system and make no claim to the title of "master".


I work as a Trainer, facilitator and instructional designer in a corporate learning and development team, so instruction and training facilitation are both a passion and a profession for me.
Instructing and coaching people interested in H.E.M.A and W.M.A was what got me interested in training but in turn I now use the skills and knowledge I've developed as a professional training facilitator and now instructional designed to supplement my delivery and training approach to the martial arts.


Of all the arts there are many which I find fascinating but I love them each for different reasons, the raw functionality of the Liechtenauer tradition, the elegance of French smallsword, the brutality of the defense danse la rue system and the quirkiness of umbrella fencing to name a few. 
I hope that the interpretations and instructions our school provides will go some way to recovering these and many other H.E.M.A arts which have been allowed to die through lack of interest or inclination over the centuries.
Also that these arts and perhaps in some small way my facilitation helps to develop the next generation of H.E.M.A coaches and trainers in the N.Z.S.E.M.A.
As we continue to refine, adapt and develop our interpretations of the arts I aim to use our previous interpretations and those of others as stepping stones to allow those learning from me to gain from the benefit of those mistakes and fast track their development within H.E.M.A and W.M.A


For more information about classes in Panmure or our school in general get in contact with me.

Tony pic1 - Copy_edited.jpg

Tony - Instructor - Glenfield 

I've been studying and practicing H.E.M.A on and off for longer than I can remember, There have been a few gaps but it's always been a hobby an interest and a passion that has drawn me back to it.

My inspiration and main focus of study in Historical European Martial Arts has always been the medieval knightly traditions in particular those stemming from what is now Germany.
Although I have dabbled here in there in other H.E.M.A systems and W.M.A systems and came from a background many years ago in other martial arts.

Most of my study has been of Liechtenauer's Long sword, however I kick started the study of Messer in one of A.S.E.M.A's out of rotation month and also enjoy the study and practice of Medieval War Wrestling, and Dagger fighting.

In my studies I have taken full advantage of the learn by teaching approach incorporated into the schools structure, with the my intention to develop as an instructor, teaching others as a method of further develop a deeper and more detailed understanding of the arts underlying mechanics and the philosophy or principals which guide the techniques employed..

I enjoy diving into the relevant historical material and the mix of explorative experimental archeology and applied Bio-mechanics required in building functional and historically accurate interpretations.
I find the process both truly fascinating and inspiring as a way of recreating and reclaiming something otherwise lost in the past which we can hand down to the next generation.

         For more information about classes in Glenfield get in contact will me.                   


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