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We have Tattershall and Schola Saint George practices available weekly. Check the practice schedule to see when and where we'll be doing our thing.

How'd you get started?

Some people think to ask me, "So how'd you get started with this crazy sword stuff?" Most other people just shake their heads and hide the china and the liquor.

Well, now you can get the full scoop on a geek's personal journey to self-discovery...

Sword construction

The classic European sword is characterized by a simple, functional cruciform design which remained constant from Classical times through the 1500s. Only then, when the sword was adapted to the artificial conditions of the civilian duel, did the blade's form see swift and radical design changes. It became a fashion statement, much like the SUV of today -- featuring occasionally useful but largely cosmetic variations in design.

Continue reading about the parts of a sword...

Operating instructions

"Does it come with a manual?"
"No, you just hold the blunt end and put the pointy bit in the other fellow."
-Interesting Times, Terry Pratchett

As with any skill or art, there are many ways of studying fencing. Here is mine:

  • Stance
  • Control
  • Time
  • Techniques

Though the flash and clash of blades is by far the sexiest aspect of swordplay, true and skillful fencing is based on awareness of both your body and that of your opponent's (in relation to yours). When you are aware of these things, you can begin to control the fight. Proper distance and placement allows for the proper timing of offensive and defensive actions. And so we finally come to the techniques of bladework and wrestling...

Given a fine sword and time, you can master a certain strike at such an angle with such speed and landing the blow in such a way. Pells, tatami mats, and other such hapless targets shall quake with fear at your approach. Live opponents with goals contrary to yours are another matter. What good is your strike if it swiftly descends a second too late? Or falls short of its target? Or strikes the opponent on his weapon, helmet, or armored limb?

The choice of weapons and particular techniques of their use are certainly important. However, they are in some ways the last thing with which a fencer should concern himself.

That said, every style of fighting conveys the broadest principles and most specific techniques in a different way, with different emphases. There are many obvious similarities and also many subtle differences. Here follows a list of topics I'm working on:

Here is a rough draft of a progression of drills for basic Italian rapier fencing.

Resources