Unlike the living traditions found in martial sports like fencing, or eastern martial arts; many HEMA styles lost the battle about changing fashions and superior firepower.  Often the only surviving elements are romantic notions of swordplay from books and films (Three Musketeers) , fantasy literature (Lord of the Rings), role-playing games (Dungeons and Dragons, Computer RPGs), cultural identity (Scotland and William Wallace) or martial sports (Boxing, Fencing, Singlestick).

All these elements trigger a desire to restore these lost arts, and the research and restoration of lost skills can be a motivation in itself.

Australian HEMA schools are often run by those who have a serious desire to reconstruct and promote something that is lost from European history. An activity that promotes fitness, gives some academic challenges or to be blunt just looks like a great deal of fun.