Fencing in Eplaheimr happens in Limerick and Athlone. Historical Fencing is a form of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), where we recreate the Medieval and Renaissance art of fighting with swords, working from the actual fighting manuals of the period. It is the forerunner of the modern sport of fencing. We train in historical combat techniques, and do free fencing wearing protective equipment, both at practice and also in tournament at SCA events.
What sort of fencing do the SCA do?
The most common style we fight in Eplaheimr is historical fencing with rapiers, and it is fought with recreation rapiers that are blunt and manufactured to rigorous safety standards. Only certain makers of rapiers are approved as safe by the SCA. This style of fencing is fast and allows for a great deal of fun and flair. The techniques we use are taken from the actual fighting manuals of the period.
How different from modern fencing is it?
Well, you will notice differences like the use of hands (with heavy gloves!) during the fight, the use of heavier swords and a different approach to protective equipment, both at practice and also in tournaments. Rapier combat uses an honour system to call blows but in rapier combat any push of the tip is considered a good blow. One may use small shields, cloaks, daggers (special safe fencing daggers), two rapiers, candlesticks or anything that you can demonstrate you are safe to fight with. You can learn more on the Insulae Draconis website.
Do I have to be a man to learn historical fencing or fight in the SCA?
Absolutely not, we welcome anyone who is interested in learning or fighting to come along. There is an age restriction — you must be over 14 and have a parent or guardian sign a waiver for you. There are currently fencing classes given in Limerick and in Athlone IT. You do not need to be a student in Athlone IT to attend there. You will need to contact the Fencing Marshal (as below) to attend either class.
What equipment do I need?
If you just want to get a feel for it you don’t have to invest in anything straight away. There are some loaner equipment pieces for the beginner, but we do encourage you to source heavy gloves, to fully cover your arms (leaving no wrist exposed) and your legs (leaving no ankle exposed). Bring along good footwear, heavy trousers, and four layers of long sleeved T-shirts. Over time you will need to pick up a fencing jacket or equivalent (it will have to pass a punch test), a good mask, gloves, and a gorget (neck protector). We can help advise you on appropriate and affordable equipment and even help you make what parts you can.
For more information on rapier combat contact the Barony's Fencing/Rapier Marshal & Knight Marshal, Lord Eplaheimr-Jin Unegen (Yann Coussot). Email Fencing Marshal.