Sword Play/ Fencing

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Fencing and Weapons Training

Fencing/ Weapons Training Classes

                                        

Our Fencing and Weapons training classes offer a variety of hands on methods where one can test their abilities in ‘real time’. Fencing is the art of Swordplay where the object is to touch and not be touched. It has existed for thousands of years and has developed various styles and methods in many lands around the world. When humans first began using tools, clubs, staffs, knives and spears were the initial ones used to protect oneself and deal with the realities of primitive life.  Later, longer knives became short swords. Eventually swords of various shapes, constructions and features arose and the sword became the main personal protection device in Asia and Europe. It ruled for thousands of years until the use of guns and gun powder became widespread. Bullets could be used from greater distances creating easier gaining of meat in hunting and elimination of the enemy in warfare.

Renaissance Sword Play

Renaissance Sword Play

 

Childrens’ Sword Sparring

We focus on two styles of Fencing. One is Olympic style fencing which is the modern competition version which is popular all over the world and is featured as one of the events of the continuing Olympic Games. It was one of the first 12 events that was part of the Olympics’ reintroduction to the world back in 1896. It is broken down into three weapons: Foil, Sabre, and Epee. The Epee is the direct descendant of the European dueling swords while the Sabre is the descendant of the swords used by cultures who focused on sword play while on horseback. Foil derived from the European court swords which were smaller, lighter and augmented military and non- military formal clothing the best.  Foils also enabled women and children to learn at an earlier age since they didn’t need to use the larger, heavier weaponry until they had gained some measure of skill.

A Kids Fencing Class

A Kids Fencing Class

 

Kids Foil Fencing Class

Our students begin with Foil because we feel that it fosters greater grace, precision, nimbleness, agility and point control. Once the fundamentals of Foil are obtained the student may seek to move on to Epee, which utilizes many similar skills without target restrictions, or they can move into Sabre and add cutting and chopping techniques to their knowledge base. The purpose of the training is to understand the similarities and differences between the weapons and to be able to use the offensive and defensive techniques and strategies of the different weapons according to current international rules. Bouting indicates how much of the fast, graceful movements the students have internalized and can perform appropriately. Those who wish to move further back in time with their swordplay may also privately study Medieval and Renaissance style swordplay using various types of rapiers, daggers, and European broadswords.

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The other branch of swordplay that is taught is from Asia. It is generally called Chinese Combat Weapons. It includes hand work, footwork, timing, feinting, smooth and broken tempo training, and combat strategy. Options begin with either Chinese Straight Sword, Broadsword or Chinese Saber. The Straight sword is considered the King of Weapons in Chinese culture and teaches refined skill, finesse, speed, accuracy, and edge control. The Chinese Broadsword is a more direct and overwhelming weapon featuring more chopping, slashing and cleaving techniques. Technique moves in circular as well as linear directions and are more concerned with defeating the opponent with a dueling mentality as compared to the sport mentality of the Olympic weapons. Later, elements of Japanese and Filipino swordplay may be added to the mix to create a powerful and multi-faceted form of self –discipline and/or combat skill.

Instruction is either on a group or private instructional basis for these or any of the weapons that we teach. Although the core of the training is self- protective we also explore energetic and philosophical applications which may be transferred into one’s daily life.

 

Other weapons options include, but are not limited to, Staff (either 4 to 8 foot sticks for longer distance defense and offense), Spear (a Staff with a point on the end for piercing techniques), Kwan Dao (which is a spear on one end and a broad sword on the other end), and Deer Hooks (one of various exotic Bagua Zhang weapons that feature curved edges for capturing the opponents weapon or limbs as well as cutting or piercing edges in the short to mid-range distances).

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