If you want to learn sword fighting from historical sources then Historical European martial arts is the best way to do this. Also known by the abbreviation of HEMA or WMA for Western martial arts, historical fencers study how to fight with swords based on surviving documentation from the time periods when these weapons were primarily used as tools of warfare and self-defense. This is different than contemporary Olympic style fencing with foils and such, as in HEMA the fighters use training weapons such as federschwert (feder) that better replicate the properties of a real sword in weight and shape, allowing for a very realistic simulation of what sword fighting would have been like in past times. HEMA fighters also use more heavily padded protective gear than a foil fencer would, to provide additional protection.
Example of some Historical European martial artists sword fighting
It is very popular for people to study Japanese sword arts such as Kendo if they want to learn how to use a katana, however it is becoming more popular to study European sword martial arts that have been reconstructed from surviving historical records, such as specialty fechtbuch (combat manuals) written many hundreds of years ago by master swordsmen as training tools for their students. These records have survived in private book collections and museums, and over the past several decades have been deciphered by members of the HEMA community to reconstruct these once forgotten sword fighting styles. So if you want to fight with a sword like a medieval knight or a Renaissance musketeer then historical sword based martial arts is the way to learn how to do this. Our website, Historical European Martial Arts Resources, has previously published several articles providing general information about how to learn sword fighting. These articles provide a lot of great information and you should read them.
- How to Learn HEMA
- How to Find Medieval Sword Fighting Classes Near You
- How to Learn HEMA When There is No Local Clubs
- What Gear and Equipment do you Need as a Beginner
- Path of the Long Sword
- Path of the Rapier
- Path of the Smallsword
- Path of the Sabre
- Path of the Sword and Buckler
- Path of the Great Sword