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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.
Shown here: Program coaches Scott Farrell (left) and Kyle Lazzarevich demonstrate the medieval art of fencing with the German longsword at the 2015 Tournament of the Phoenix in Poway, Calif.
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 San Diego Longsword 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.
Drawn directly from historical source material – the fight-books or “manuals of defense” from the 14th and 15th centuries – San Diego Longsword HEMA program lets you experience the skills of a real medieval knight training for battle, duel, and tournament.
San Diego Longsword 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.
Covid-19 Safety Procedures:
Join San Diego Longsword for a taster lesson in learning the art of fighting with the longsword.
Not quite up to armwrestling The Mountain or grappling with Conan the Barbarian? No worries! While the Hollywood image of Henry Cavill wielding a 10 pound chunk of steel is certainly a crowd pleaser – we sure like it- the historical art of fighting with the longsword is surprisingly complex and subtle. The great master of this art stated that the successful swords-person “fights strength with weakness and weakness with strength”.
Join us for a Saturday night of exploring some of the surprisingly zen-like teachings of the 14th century German fighting master, Johannes Liechtenauer. We’ll address a few common misconceptions about the historical use of the longsword and teach participants a few moves that will put them a step ahead of the common fighter.
The class also includes a demonstration of advanced longsword fighting, a hands on display of medieval replica armor, and the opportunity for a Q&A with our head instructor, Scott Farrell, and his assistant coach, Loreen.
This is a great way to get a taste of what historical fencing is all about and fulfill that New Years resolution to try something new!
Ages 13+ (minors must be accompanied by a participating parent or guardian).
Longsword 101 Course:
This four-week introductory course prepares new students for entry into the beginning class. Each class builds upon the previous one, so it is vital that students are commited to attending each week.
This course is for students who have mastered the basic concepts and skills taught in longsword 101.
Course is for intermediate students who have mastered the techniques in the Longsword Foundations class. In this class students may be introduced to new weapons such as spear, messer, and sword & buckler.
In order to be admitted into the advanced longsword class, students must actively apply themselves to the art beyond the structured courses listed above.
Prerequisites for armored combat classes/practices:
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!
Closed toed shoes and comfortable athletic clothing.
For the beginning class, you'll just need 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.
For those wishing to join the intermediate class, students must, at least own their own back of the head protection that can be applied/removed easily and quickly to a club loaner mask. It is expected that intermediate students will begin to acquire their own equipment as they progress in their learning. A detailed list of which supplies are needed for specific activities will be made available to students attending our classes.
Check out our recommended gear page.
By no means are students required to buy anything or everything off of this page. Equipment choice is a highly personal decision. However, the products listed are one's that we personally use and like and all of them meet the Chivalry Today safety standards.
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.
Currently, our regularly scheduled adult classes focus exclusively on use of the longsword. However, on occasion other weapons such as the sword and buckler, spear, pole axe, messer, and dagger are introduced in a lesson to reinforce the core concepts of the German tradition of fighting.
Intermittently, we hold special eight week technique intensive workshops that feature an alternative weapon to the longsword.
On occasion, we host an armored work shop for our students. All students who have completed the 8 week introductory sessions are welcome and encouraged to attend the technical lessons during this workshop. However, due to the costly nature of armor and the necessity of custom fitting for a safe and effective harness, only students who have invested in their own armor or fit the loaner armor we have available may participate in the practical lessons. Loaner armor is extremely limited and priority is given to advanced students who regularly attend longsword and armor workshops. Regardless of the lesson type, all are encouraged to observe and learn.