Phillyfilter: Where can my boyfriend learn Western-style swordfighting?
February 9, 2014 1:29 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for schools or groups that offer combat training with authentic Western medieval/renaissance weapons and methods in the Philadelphia area (up to 1.5 hours away is fine). He's not interested in katana/Eastern martial arts, stage combat/LARPing, or sport fencing. Unfortunately, anything I've found via Google seems to be out of business. I'd really like to surprise him with some lessons for a Valentine's Day gift. Does anyone have any leads?
posted by ElectricGoat to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You need to find your local SCA (society for creative anachronism) chapter. They are not a LARP group at all (although they do dress up funny). You will find someone who does authentic techniques and truth is the fighter practices they do are pretty authentic in reality. Instead of using actual steel swords they use rattan sticks weighted and shaped to resemble swords. The rest (armor, shields, etc) are pretty much authentic (with some modern materials substitute for cost/weight and ease of finding/working them).
posted by bartonlong at 1:38 PM on February 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts and The Medieval European Martial Arts Guild might be good places to start.

And the SCA is also a great place to start. Even if their style of combat isn't precisely what your boyfriend is looking for, they will almost certainly be able to point him in the right direction.
posted by MrBadExample at 1:59 PM on February 9, 2014

Theatres sometimes run stage combat workshops aimed at the general public. It looks like there's an annual stage combat workshop in Philadelphia, but it was in October and aimed at theatre professionals and maybe students.
posted by hoyland at 2:00 PM on February 9, 2014

Response by poster: The SCA looks great.. I'd be interested in joining this, too. Thanks!

hoyland- he's tried stage combat and it's not what he's looking for, as I said above. Thanks, though.
posted by ElectricGoat at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2014

What you want is fencing. Don't be mislead by the foil: the épée is close to a rapier, and the sabre is the slashing weapon that most people associate with swashbuckling.
posted by PickeringPete at 2:37 PM on February 9, 2014

sabre is more hack and slash and less pokey pokey, if he's ever gotten enough into fencing to know the difference.

However, if he's looking for specifically medieval, SCA is a good bet. I know of Forteza in Chicago, which doesn't help you much. However, because it is a rather small community, somebody there may know of a contact.

Good Luck!
posted by AlexiaSky at 3:12 PM on February 9, 2014

For Philadelphia, your local group would be the Barony of Bhakail. Lady Violet is in charge of helping out people who are new. Best of luck!
posted by korej at 3:22 PM on February 9, 2014 [1 favorite]

The Philadelphia Academy of Fencing would be a good place to take beginner's fencing lessons. I have to warm you though, if he is just looking to play with swords he might be dissapointed when he learns how much of beginning fencing is about footwork. My son's club didn't even use weapns till about the 6th week. It was all footwork and drills to start.
posted by COD at 6:57 PM on February 9, 2014

Philadelphia has a very active SCA group as mentioned above. There 'burbs in the area are also good - we've got fencing practices in Media and Royersford.
posted by MikeKn at 8:10 AM on February 10, 2014

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