If you’d like to study historical fencing, feel free to join us. We currently train on Monday nights in New Haven. All vaccinated adults people welcome!

Time: 6pm-7:30pm, every Monday night. (The sole exception: on the first Monday of each month, we don’t run our beginner class. Instead, we run a sparring night for more experienced fencers. So if you’re a complete beginner, come any Monday except the first of the month!).

Place: Bethesda Lutheran Church, 450 Whitney Avenue, New Haven.  We practice in the big hall on the ground floor (the “Campanius Room”).  (A trap for the unwary: Google maps might give you an address on St Ronan street, but don’t use it; it’s much easier to enter from the parking lot on 450 Whitney avenue)

Covid precautions: All attendees must be vaccinated (proof of vaccination required at first class), and wear either an N95, KN95, or KF94-rated covid mask for indoor training.

Cost: We dearly appreciate a voluntary $10/class donation, simply to help cover equipment and running costs.  If money is a bit tight for you, skip the donation and come for free, no questions asked.

Check here before class: Please make sure you check the News tab before attending class in case of late cancellations, reschedulings, etc. 

Our Class Structure

We structure our classes in three half-hour blocks in order to provide for fencers with different goals, skill levels, and equipment. People should feel free to attend any or all of the class sections, as they desire.

Here’s how it works:

6:00 – 6:30pm: Warm up, basic strikes, body mechanics

At 6pm we start warming up by practicing basic strikes, fencing actions, and body mechanics. For beginners, this is a must! 

6:30 – 7:00pm: Historical Techniques.   

At 6:30 we partner up and practice historical techniques taken directly from the old manuals. 

7:00 – 7:30pm: Dynamic Partner Exercises

At 7pm (or slightly later) we begin more dynamic partner exercises, including fighting drills and sparring games.  From this point in the evening onwards, you will really benefit from having your own mask and gloves, at a minimum.

7:30 – late: Free Play

Here we open up the floor for free sparring.  Depending on numbers, we may play various kinds of organized sparring games.  Most of us practice longsword, but at this stage of the evening other historical weapons are fair game too: rapiers, sabers, smallswords, arming swords, bucklers, dussacks – you name it, as long as you bring a sparring-safe version of it. 

In principle, we spar all the way until 9 pm (which makes for a lot of sparring!)

We have quite a varied membership: some people are primarily here to learn about history, others want a fun way to get fit, and some of us just love free sparring with swords. Our class structure is designed to give everyone a chance to train in a way that suits them.

In practice, we just keep having fun until everyone is too exhausted to continue.

Required gear: Sparring with steel always requires a fencing mask and gloves, and almost always also requires jackets, gorgets, groin protection, and similar, depending on the weapons and the level of intensity. Having said that, people without gear are welcome to hang out and practice in less serious ways: we do have some light “boffer”-style weapons which allow those without gear to play around a bit, just for fun.