Swords of Chivalry (also known as San Diego Longsword) is a Western Martial Arts (WMA), or Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) interpretative training class, coordinated by the Chivalry Today Educational Program.
The study and practice of historical European sword combat (sometimes called historical fencing, or just plain “sword fighting”) is a growing field of sport and recreation – an entertaining way to discover a fascinating part of medieval and Renaissance history; get some great physical exercise; and a wonderful place to make some new friends. There are a growing number of HEMA study groups, practical (training) conferences, and competitive tournaments all across the United States (as well as many in Europe, South America, and Australia) that are working to revive this historical art.
The Swords Of Chivalry HEMA program is a series of weekly workshops designed to give students of all ages an opportunity to discover, and eventually master, the surprisingly complex practice of medieval sword fighting. Swords Of Chivalry sessions place a high focus on control and precision, not raw strength and brute force. As the historical masters pointed out, "If every duel was won by the strongest fighter, then there would be no need to learn the artful use of the sword." We practice in very minimal protective gear (no hockey pads or thick plastic armor required) and place a strong emphasis on creating a safe and supportive environment for students of every size and background to learn "the art," not just the biggest and most aggressive.
Drawn directly from historical source material – the fight-books or “manuals of defense” from the 14th and 15th centuries – Swords of Chivalry HEMA program lets you experience the skills of a real medieval knight training for battle, duel, and tournament. The Swords Of Chivalry/San Diego Longsword program is a proud member of the national network of HEMA Alliance affiliated training programs, and is a member of the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association.
Swords Of Chivalry HEMA groups meet weekly at the Lionheart Fencing Academy in El Cajon, and the Team Touché Fencing Center in San Diego. Classes for teens and adults are available at both locations. Please contact the front desk at either facility to reserve a spot at an upcoming Swords Of Chivalry meeting. Introductory classes are free of charge!
Swords Of Chivalry HEMA sessions provide a serious opportunity to experience, and eventually master a complex, adaptable fighting art. When you join our HEMA program, you'll enjoy the mental challenge of learning this historical martial art, as well as the physical challenge of putting the art into practice along with fellow students through an increasingly complex series of lessons, exercises, and (eventually) free-play sessions. Among the practitioners in our weekly sessions, we welcome:
Like those knights-in-training of old, the focus of Swords of Chivalry is not just on physical skill, but also on the values of self-discipline, respect, trust, sportsmanship, and honor – the values of the code of chivalry! Each session of Swords of Chivalry is conducted in a safe, supportive environment under the supervision of Scott Farrell (director of the Chivalry Today Educational Program) and his staff of instructors.
Come join us for Swords of Chivalry medieval sword-combat training – whether you want to learn to cross swords and spar with fellow students, or just get a low-impact workout through the range-of-motion physical techniques of the art of defense (it’s like yoga with a sword). Classes for adults and youth/teens (10 and up) are held weekly!
New students are accepted during the first class meeting of each month. Give us a call or shoot us an email to let us know you're coming! Please arrive about 10 minutes prior to the start of class and we'll take care of paperwork and payment at that time.
If our first class meeting of the month falls on a holiday week or weekend please contact the location of your choice or check our class calendar to ensure that we will be there.
Closed toed shoes and comfortable athletic clothing.
Your smile and your wits! We have all the loaner equipment necessary to get you started. Your first lesson will not include any contact exercises but if you have any protective gear or equipment that you think may be appropriate - such as a fencing mask, gorget, or sword - feel free to bring it along and we can evaluate if it will be appropriate for contact exercises in your coming sessions.
Beginning students start sparring as soon as it is safe and beneficial to their sword practice. It typically takes students 8-10 sessions to learn the tools necessary to begin slow speed sparring. We have found throughout years of teaching that allowing students to spar prematurely is detrimental to training (I.e. it creates bad habits) and potentially very dangerous to both the student and instructor regardless of training in other martial arts or sports. Our goal is for our students to safely enjoy their understanding and application of the historical art. If you have previous experience as a practitioner of Lichtenauer or Fiore please contact us ahead of time and we will set up a meeting for you with our head instructor.
There is absolutely no requirement to participate in “free play” activities (aka sparring). Most of our classes involve a contact drill but in these exercises the speed will be reduced and/or the type of movements will be restricted in order to place student focus on mastering a specific technique. Please be advised that in the Sunday class, the first class of the month is dedicated to open floor sparring and new student orientation. There may not be an alternative lesson available but you can always ask another student if they would like to work on a drill or do slow work for a few minutes, or make use of the mirrors and floor space to do solo drills and practice.