How many hours a week can I train?
When you pay the tuition for classes, that payment includes a number of hours per month. You can choose to attend one hour per week, two hours per week, three hours per week, four hours per week, or unlimited hours per week. If you know you won't be able to make a class one night, you are able to attend a class on a different night so that your training can fit into your schedule.
Are students expected to provide their own equipment such as manuals and/or practice swords?
You do not need to provide your own equipment. When you start classes, the school has loaner equipment that you can use. You do not need a copy of the treatise that we study from, but if you would like one you can purchase a copy from the school.
Where do I get a practice sword?
You can get a practice sword from the school. We use a modified shanai for our practice. If you have a shanai, you can purchase the quillons only. The reason we use the modified shanai and not just a shanai, is that the quillons (cross guard) are necessary to the techniques utilized in the European tradition of sword fencing. We use the shanai because it is made of strips of bamboo and is safer in the learning process then either wood or steel.
How much does a sword cost?
The modified shanai (Euranai) is $49.00 for the completed sword. If you have a shanai already and only need the quillons, the cost of the quillon set is $15.00. A wooden sword (waster) can cost from $70 -$80. Steel swords start at $130 for a "practical series" longsword and rapier from Hanwai. We do not use stainless steel swords, and all swords must be historically accurate. There are different manufactures of wasters and steel swords, and you can choose the style that fits you best.
How long before I can use a real sword?
In the longsword class, you will need to complete the introduction class before you are able to start using a steel sword. In the intermediate class, you can drill with the steel sword but you are not allowed to fence with steel until you have the appropriate safety gear.
What safety equipment do you use?
Safety is paramount in our school. We require certain minimum requirements for the safety of our students. When practicing drills students are required to wear a FIE rated 3 weapons fencing mask and either a fencing jacket or padded gambeson. Men and women are encouraged to wear a plastron to protect the chest and men are highly encouraged to wear a cup. Leather gauntlets with high cuffs for the rapier class and longsword class drills. Students are encouraged to have either hockey gloves or lacrosse gloves for free play with the longsword.
How old do you have to be to take classes?
Students in our school can start taking classes at the age of 9. We start children at this age because by this time they have the strength to hold a practice sword up, and they have the focus necessary to learn the self control that is a fundamental of the school teachings.
Am I too old to start studying martial arts?
We have a variety of people from all walks of life and all ages in our school. The oldest student we have in our school is 77 years old.
Do women do this?
This is not restricted to men only. We have women taking classes, too. We have female doctors taking classes, high school girls and younger girls. Gender is not a barrier to learning the heritage of European martial arts.
I don't think I can hit people; can I take your classes?
There is a psychological element to learning martial arts that many people don't think about. People, women mostly, are taught from a very young age that they cannot hit others, even in the process of defending themselves. Understanding the psychological reasons behind people's hesitancy to hit others allows us to better train students. In our school we are not trying to hurt others, instead we are learning how to keep those others from hurting us.
How heavy is a sword?
Popular myth will tell you that a sword is very heavy. This is not true. A longsword only weighs in at about 3.5 pounds, and a rapier is only around 2.5 - 2.75 pounds. If a sword weighed 15 – 20 pounds as popular belief says, then why would you risk you life by using it. If you are in a battle that lasts for two to four hours, and your equipment is too heavy to use, then you will not be able to defend yourself. These are tools, and they are meant for a specific job. They are not just pretty, that is only a matter of choice.
When can I join the introduction class?
The introduction class is on a revolving basis. We are continually cycling through the class. When you join the class, you will start with everyone else and cycle through the class to the point that you began at, this way people do not need to wait for months to start the class.
What should I bring to my first class?
When you come to your first class, you do not need to bring anything. All you will need is tennis shoes and loose fitting clothing that is easy to move in. We have loaner equipment that you can use.
Do I need to fill out any forms or anything?
When you visit the school and try out our classes you will receive a registration form at the end of the class. We hope that you have a good time in the class and will want to continue the classes. Take the registration form home, and you can return it when you come back to your next class.