Basically my point of view boils down to: if you want to do a European martial art, do HEMA. If you want to reenact without actually having to reenact and want to bash someone with a sword, have fun and participate in the SCA. If you want to do both, do both and be aware of the groups as distinct. The two groups can certainly inform each other on what works and what doesn’t, but as it stands, I think the SCA (at large) and HEMA are largely incompatible.
But I want my cake and I want to eat it too! I love the SCA. I love the camping and the romance and the revelry and the re-creation (not reenactment - we get touchy about this and LARPing just like you do). Before the SCA I was largely a sedentary Hutt with more concern for my World of Warcraft character than myself. I had liked sword fighting but never really had the chance to fight people who legitimately knew what they were doing and didn’t want to play pew-pew-I-has-a-lightsaber.
And for a couple of years I was satisfied with the limited scope of historically relevant techniques (hereafter referred to as period techniques) because I was still tremendously unskilled, unmotivated, and frankly unable to do them. But now, after escaping the terror of lonely adolescence and a borderline addiction to online gaming and experiencing the thrill of fighting I found myself with a thirst needing slaking. There’s only so many times you can square off against a person and do a quick disengage and kill them with a thrust before you want something more.
From that revelation and desire for something more I found the period techniques and masters. George Silver and Capo Ferro and even Fabris (though I think he’s a teensy bit overrated). I’m not satisfied with one way of fighting or even one style of fighting. Why limit myself to something as narrow as only doing Italian rapier when German Longsword fighting and English broadsword are so damn interesting?!
But I love the re-creation. Camping with all my closest friends, fighting beside them in the massive wars we have, and even sitting through a hilarious court. I wouldn’t trade them for anything. However, you are correct that we have no claim to doing everything perfectly historical. Certainly not the fighting. But there’s hope for change and as I’ve always said you’ve got to keep your mind open to everyone’s ideas before deciding what’s right for yourself.
I want my cake and I want to eat it too. And if HEMA doesn’t have recreation and the SCA doesn’t have perfectly historical fighting then damnit it’s time to bring the actual, historical fighting to the SCA.