Sports Guide

Sword play

By Dawn NgEvents - 21 April 2010 10:31 AM | Updated 12 August 2010

Sword play


Long before guns were invented, swords were the main weapons of choice when it came to dueling. From King Arthur to the three musketeers, each of these legendary heroes was skilled in the art of swordsmanship.


So if you fancy learning going back in time and picking up some mean sword fighting skills, then historical European swordsmanship will not disappoint.


What is historical European swordsmanship?

Much like its Asian counterparts, historical European martial arts comprises the fighting techniques of the Western world, particularly during the Middle Ages and the Renaissance period. Historical European swordsmanship is one of the disciplines that falls under this broad umbrella and covers the re-interpretation of the martial arts recorded in times when they were still in use and necessary in daily life.


I want to be a historical European swordfighter

Before you start dreaming of engaging your enemies in an elaborate sword fight, it is important to note that these classes are not purely competitive but focus more on learning this historical art

Beginners typically start with body mechanics and movement, before moving on to defence techniques against weapons like daggers and longswords. Apart from weapon use, these classes also allow you a better understanding of your body and help build your confidence in handling difficult situations.

Safety is always a concern as swords can be dangerous if not handled properly. Beginners usually practice with wooden swords to allow them a feel of the weapon and how to handle it. As steel swords are expensive, wooden swords provided by the school allow students to save on a costly investment before they are certain they want to continue with the sport.


What skills do I need?

While historical European swordsmanship may seem similar to fencing, the techniques and body mechanics employed are completely different. You do not need prior experience in any sport to begin learning historical European martial arts, assures Christopher Blakey, instructor at the Pan-Historical European Martial Arts Society

“Some of the best historical European marital arts practitioners I've met are people who at first had trouble putting one foot in front of another,” says Chris. “All people learn at their own pace but a person who is willing to put in the effort to understand the underlying principles will certainly reap rewards in self confidence, balance and fitness.”

Mastering a martial art form takes time and depends on your innate capability as well as dedication and passion for the sport. Some people pick up the skills within a few months, while others take years to become just as good with the sword, relates Chris.

However, it usually takes most students an average of two years to master all of the basic techniques and it is typically after this point where the learning journey of historical European martial arts really takes off.


Where do I sign up?

If you think this ancient martial art form is something you’d like to pursue, do contact the trainers at the Pan-Historical European Martial Arts Society. Historical European swordsmanship classes for beginners are held every Sunday at the Eurasian Community House, 139 Ceylon Rd.

For more information, log on to