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The Sacramento Historical Fencing Academy

Historic Sources, Iconic Weapons, Modern Training

Certain weapons are just Iconic. Swords are the archetypal weapons in fantasy classics. They capture the imagination in ways that stay with us for a lifetime. Perhaps it was a scene of a valiant hero, such as Aragorn in the Lord of the Rings, wielding a sword in both hands while he fought to defend his friends; or maybe it was an incredible exchanges of words and blades while the Dread Pirate Roberts fought Inigo Montoya with his rapier in The Princess Bride; and who hasn’t dreamed of wielding a glowing sword made of light while facing down an enemy dressed all in black?

The Longsword of Aragorn may have only existed in our imagination, but it is based upon weapons that did exist and were used in personal combat and war. The Rapier was the predominate weapon of the Enlightenment and revolutionized the way that people fought. Even that sword made of light uses principles that come from real combat and defense. At the Sacramento Historical Fencing Academy you can learn to use these swords and more. But what we teach isn’t Fantasy, its Martial Art, Science, and even Philosophy.

These Teachings come to us from a tradition that was believed to be lost to time. Fighting, as it was done in Europe during the Middle Ages, Renaissance and the Enlightenment, slowly died out, or evolved into sporting forms such as boxing, wrestling, or Olympic fencing. However, before they were lost, ancient masters wrote down the principals, techniques, and tactics of their art in manuscripts and books that have survived to this day. Through hard work, study, and practice we have been able to understand these lost arts.

What we have found is that the fantasies which draws us to these historic and iconic weapons don’t do them justice. The martial arts and sciences of Europe were much more then mindless bashing; and instead present a nuanced, technical, and effective system of offense and defense.

You can learn these Historical Fencing Methods as they were intended, in a safe and controlled environment. Become a sword fighter and train in one of three martial arts: Kunst des Fechtens (The German Art of Combat), La Verdadera Destreza (The Spanish True Skill at Arms), Scienza d’Arme (The Italian Science of Weapons ), or choose an Elegant Weapon for a More Civilized Age with The Philosophy of Battle (LEDSaber Combat).

Schedule icon

11/20/2022 - 11/26/2022


11:00am - 12:00pm

KDF: Tactics

Geoffrey Harrington
11:00am - 12:00pm

Youth Historical Fencing (11 to 13)

Ronin Richards Book
12:00pm - 1:00pm

Introduction to Historical Fencing

Ted Elsner
Oberhau Passing Step
1/5 Book
12:00pm - 1:00pm

Longsword: Essentials

Alexander Snook, Jenn Blum 2/20 Book
1:00pm - 2:00pm

Longsword: Techniques

Ted Elsner, Arthur Henry
2:00pm - 3:00pm

Recreational LED Saber

Douglas “Nytshaed” Leonard Book
2:30pm - 3:30pm

KdF: Meyer Rapier by the book

Ted Elsner, Alexander Snook
4:00pm - 6:00pm

Intro to Highland Broadsword Study Group

5:00pm - 7:00pm

TSL LEDSaber meetup

Douglas “Nytshaed” Leonard Book


1:00pm - 5:00pm

Open Mat and Private Training Available by Appointment

5:00pm - 6:00pm

Functional Fitness for Fighters

Serafin Kulp Book
6:00pm - 7:00pm

KdF Dagger and Grappling

Alexander Snook 1/20 Canceled
7:00pm - 9:00pm

Recreational Rapier

Douglas “Nytshaed” Leonard Book








1:00pm - 5:00pm

Open Mat and Private Training Available by Appointment

5:00pm - 6:00pm

Functional Fitness for Fighters

Serafin Kulp Book
6:00pm - 7:00pm

Youth LED Saber

Ronin Richards Book
7:00pm - 9:00pm

Recreational LED Saber and Open Mat

Douglas “Nytshaed” Leonard Book


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Also known as Historical European Martial Arts, HEMA is a rapidly growing combat sport in the United States. By itself it is not a Martial Arts System but instead a broad umbrella term that includes a variety of fighting arts from a period of several centuries. The earliest HEMA resources date to the 13th century, and the most recent from the 19th century.

To be considered HEMA an art needs some kind of surviving documentation. Without a surviving text or manuscript to work from anything done is pure speculation. For this reason there are no Roman or Viking arts included in HEMA. It also explains why Germany, as the center of publishing during the Renaissance with the invention of the movable type printing press, is so widely represented in the Historical European Martial Arts.

However just because HEMA comes from Europe, it doesn’t mean you need to.

Historical Fencing 

How then is Historical Fencing different from HEMA? Well, it really isn’t. However at the Sacramento Historical Fencing Academy we don’t just train HEMA. Instead we focus on a variety of fencing systems that are rooted in the past, although not necessarily in our past. After all, the Philosophy of Battle with the LEDSaber comes from a time long long ago, and a galaxy that is far, far away.

However it is fair to say that the rest of the arts we teach, Kunst des Fechtens, La Verdadera Destreza, and Scienza d’Arme are HEMA. In fact they come directly from some of the most famous names in Historical European Martial Arts, Joachim Meyer, Jeronimo Sanchez de Carranza, and Salvator Fabris. Joachim Meyer’s manual on Kunst des Fechtens is one of the most complete works ever recorded on the subject and includes material on the Lange schwert (Longsword), Dussack (Cutlass), Rappier (Sidesword), Dolch (Dagger), Ringen (Wrestling), and Stangen (Staff). Jeronimo Sanchez de Carranza began a tradition that lasted over 200 years and includes material on the single handed sword and two handed Montante. Salvator Fabris meanwhile produced a work that revolutionized the way Europeans fought with the Rapier. His Italian methods became so popular that they would supplant the traditional German teachings championed by Meyer.

A Growing Pastime 

A decade ago, very few people had heard of HEMA. When the founders of the Sacramento Historical Fencing Academy began people thought they were either doing Olympic Fencing or part of the SCA. Now, thanks to stories by the New York Times and tournaments shown on ESPN, the awareness of Historical Fencing is growing.

Popular media such as Game of Thrones, The Witcher, and the new Star Wars movies has further helped drive this growth. Indeed one style of Historical Fencing that we train, the Combat Saber Philosophy of Battle, has been recognized by the French Fencing Federation as an official sport. But that doesn’t mean that Kunst des Fechtens and Scienza d’Arme are left out, they have been recognized as a legitimate form of fencing by a number of modern fencing organizations throughout Europe and the United States.

This move to combat sport status has also helped in the growth of HEMA. Having an environment to test the skills you train against a non-compliant opponent has helped place Historical Fencing in a unique situation. More than a traditional martial art or pure combat sport, Historical Fencing gets to enjoy the best of both worlds.

HEMA is seeing full time fencing and martial arts schools popping up throughout the United States and the world and the Sacramento Historical Fencing Academy is excited to be a part of that trend.


Instructors icon

So you want to learn to use a sword?

So you want to learn to use a sword?

Swords are iconic, sword fighting is fun. At the Sacramento Historical Fencing Academy there is nothing we love more than sharing this art with other people. We offer training in a variety of historical fencing arts and would like to invite you to come out and take a free class with us. Just let us know what type of sword you'd like to learn to use!

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