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Notes on Training


A normal practice has fitness and training components.  Practice begins with fitness.  We build strength, flexibility, coordination and sound bio-mechanics using natural and martial movement.  The bulk of practice focuses on technique and tactics within the five sister skills of wrestling, longsword, dagger, single sword with and without shield and staff weapons. We emphassize fundamentals through solo and paired drills as well as sparring.  

Refer to each section below for current notes and reading material.  


Character development is inherent in martial arts.  Courage, bravery, discipline, and tenacity are developed by facing fears. This martial arts practice requires you to abandon passivity to become a person of action. Simultaneously you must take responsibility for the consequences of your actions.   To do all of thes things you have to face yourself, to see yourself clearly.


Seeing yourself clearly builds humility and integrity.  Humility then leads to reverence, benevolence, and kindness.  Integrity further leads to trustworthiness, loyalty, honesty, and honour.

Sword and Shield

The earliest fighting manuals come from the 1300s and explain how to fight with sword and buckler.  The buckler was a small and easily carried shield.   We practice sword and buckler as well as Viking era sword and shield.  Sword and buckler fighting is often subtle and flowing.  Viking sword and shield is a solid workout!



To become proficient in the basics of a martial art usually takes roughly 5 years on the average.  Sometimes groups offer stepping stones along the way in the form of rank.  Our approach is to provide you with quests to accomplish.  Generally, the following are what we consider to be important in progressing from a beginner to a seasoned member of the group.


Demonstrate Prowess

  • Become Fit 

  • Demonstrate your understanding of the fundamentals in basics, in forms and in sparring

  • Demonstrate your ability to perform basics for each of the disciplines

  • Perform sufficient numbers of quests

Demonstrate Character

  • Demonstrate your understanding of Swordfighters conventions

  • Be a good example for others in both prowess and character

  • Take responsibility for the consequences of your actions

  • Give back to the group 

  • Give back to those who have supported and who continue to support you you

  • Give back to the community at large in some way


Swordfighting like all martial arts is physically demanding. Awareness and agility are required.  You need strength, flexibility and conditioning to support the sometimes intense requirements of bouting. Besides, the body is the container of the soul and its a sin to let anyone harm the container of your soul including yourself.  Fitness is simultaneously a physical and spiritual endeavor and the knights did not neglect this.


Swordsquatch 2017



Longswords are relatively light and agile two handed swords.  They are the first weapon that we teach and they are also the most popular tournament weapon in HEMA.  Through longsword you will learn and apply the martial fundamentals as you become familiar with Italian, German, and English approaches.


Wrestling was considered to be a foundation skill for swordfighting.  Competitive rules based wrestling games existed in almost every European culture. In combat it included strikes, throws, locks, and kicks.  Wrestling techniques blend seamlessly with weapons based combat.  Through wrestling we learn about footwork, economy of power, and sound biomechanics. 

Colleague  Paul Wagner

George Silver

Single Sword

Included in single swords are all manner of swords used with one hand.  Here at Swordfighters we focus first on arming swords.  These are the side arm weapons of the middle ages.  Other single sword weapons include scottish broadsword, rapier, and saber.  Single stick is a wooden  practice weapon for the single sword.  Single sword teaches about timing, position and distance.

Fundamentals are deep and subtle skills.  They are present from the very beginning of practice and they take a long time to master.  Fundamentals include:

  • Stance

  • Lines of Power

  • Effortless Power

  • Speed and quickness

  • Ways to Move

  • Finding the Measure

  • Timing

  • Breathing

  • The Eyes

  • Maximum Effectiveness

Ibn Sina

Iron Ball Practices

Staff Weapons

These are wooden hafted weapons that posses an extra long range. Staff weapons include quarterstaff, spear, halberd and other long weapons.  Staff weapons are ideal for learning the subtleties of range, timing and distance.


Bastard cousins to the sword, daggers and other knives are the most common edged weapon of today.  Often through subterfuge, they surprise and assault.  It is easy to be dangerous with a knife but defending against a knife can require a high degree of skill if you try to face them on equal ground.   Medieval daggers were long thrusting oriented sidearms with specific purposes in combat.   The study of the dagger teaches humility and requires creativity.

Self Defence

Swords for self defence?  Well, no.  But self defence is more about self esteem, environmental awareness, timing and distance, reading your opponent, and the fundamentals of balance and power generation.  In self defence trainng we build all of the above through training specific skill sets in weapons and grappling that have been proven to work against stronger opponents. 

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