LARPing (Live Action Role Playing): LARPers dress in character, often including padded or foam swords and armor, then re-enact fantasy scenarios—a little like a real-life videogame. Some HEMA practitioners may dress in period clothing (this is personal preference), but HEMA is still a martial art recreated from historical manuscripts. By contrast, LARPers fight in any style they choose and enjoy the experience as a game rather than a martial art or sport.
Fencing: Like HEMA, fencing grew out of historical European sword fighting, but it has since developed as a sport instead of a martial art. While HEMA sparring rulesets treat strikes as life or death injuries and focus on defense during or immediately after attacks, fencing competitors can receive full points for hitting their opponent first even if they are hit themselves a moment later. Rules like this allow fencers to fight in ways that wouldn’t make martial sense in a real sword fight or, therefore, in HEMA. Additionally, fencing is limited to three disciplines, whereas HEMA encompasses dozens or hundreds.