Where can I find lessons for sword-and-shield fighting in SE PA/NJ
January 1, 2013 9:07 AM   Subscribe

Anybody know of sword-and-board instructors or lessons in the southeast PA/NJ area?

Ladyfriend and I are interested in learning to fight sword-and-board. Not fencing (I don't care for rapiers and I'm looking for something more physical). If anybody knows about options this specific, what we're really looking for is short swords and bucklers to better suit us; we're both under 120 lbs and have more the builds of distance runners than musclebound warriors. I've seen a few things online, but not much really looked promising. We're willing to drive a fair distance, but I'm really interested in anything people have personal experience with. If we can't find something I guess there's always Nerf swords and whatever you make a shield out of, but professional instruction would be better, and I kinda think this would be a fun bonding experience too.
posted by Strudel to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (4 answers total)
I can't vouch for them, but the Medieval European Martial Arts Guild has a location in the NJ/Philadelphia area. The instructor at that location specializes in, amongst other things, sword and buckler.
posted by jedicus at 9:22 AM on January 1, 2013

Well it's not exactly what you are looking for but you might want to try Kendo. This video gives you an idea of the sort of skills involved. It is incredibly physical and you get to wear suits of armor and use swords, though the swords are made of wood and aren't padded. My BIL does this and he always complains about the work out he's had. It would also suit a less muscle bound build.
posted by wwax at 10:57 AM on January 1, 2013

Look up your local SCA (society for creative anachronism) chapter at SCA.org. I gurantee you that someone their will be willing to teach anyone interested for a reasonable fee. SCA geeks love, LOVE to pass on the knowledge they have gained and are usually sticklers for accuracy and effectiveness. You can get from actual armored sword techniques (called hardsuiting) that are very physical, demanding and kinda dangerous (as in broken bones/joint damage never heard of anyone getting killed) as they use actual armor and simulate weapons with rattan sticks (kinda like what is used in kendo). To rapier techniques that are closer to fencing but more accurately the forms that fencing evolved from. This is usually easier and cheaper and much less dangerous than hardsuiting. There is a huge SCA event in Pennsylvania called pensic that is THE sca event every year. Yes, it is full of geeks but geeks that are very dedicated to their hobby and usually very welcome to newcomers genuinely interested in their hobby.
posted by bartonlong at 12:25 PM on January 1, 2013

Uh, yeah. SCA is absolutely what you want.

This is the website for the largest and most active local group in NJ. If they're not local to you I'm certain they can direct you to somewhere more local. Contact the officer known as the Seneschal (local chapter president) and they'll get you started.

I've been in the SCA more than 20 years and my husband fights armored combat (he's an SCA Knight, actually). MeMail me if that contact doesn't work for you and I'll connect you with some other resources.
posted by anastasiav at 3:16 PM on January 1, 2013

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