South Coast Swords is one of the top HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) schools on the west coast of the United States. Located in Orange County, California, South Coast Swords specializes in instructing students of all levels in the use of a variety of medieval and renaissance weaponry, primarily from the Liechtenauer tradition.

The longsword is the primary weapon of the Liechtenauer system, and is therefore the primary weapon of instruction at SCS. Many other weapons systems are taught, including: dagger, staff, spear, sword and shield, rapier, langes messer (German heavy machete), poleaxe, cane fighting, medieval wrestling, and more.


South Coast Fencing Center
3518 West Lake Center Drive
Santa Ana, CA 92704


8 pm - 10:30 pm Tuesdays
8 pm - 10:30 pm Thursdays
1:30 pm - 2:30 pm Sundays (Youth)
2:30 pm - 5 pm Sundays


Martial Arts



Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) includes both living and recreated martial arts traditions that were born or defined in Europe. The martial arts that died out have been recreated using martial arts manuals that were written in the Middle Ages and onwards and which have been preserved in detailed manuscripts from the late medieval period (you can study these sources online at Wiktenauer).

HEMA involves both the study and practice of historical European fighting techniques. As a community, we are reviving the martial arts of old European masters.

In Eastern martial traditions, there are direct lineages of masters - present day masters learned from a master who learned from a master, etc. In Europe, many martial traditions disappeared or evolved into purely sporting forms: sport fencing, boxing, wrestling.

Many European masters left behind manuals, sometimes coded in poetry. The HEMA community has been discovering, translating, and interpreting these manuals to reconstruct these martial arts, so that what you are learning at South Coast Swords isn't simply our interpretation from some old books alone, but the accumulated interpretation of historians, linguists, scholars, martial artists and combat veterans who share a passion for Historical European Martial Arts.

To learn more about HEMA, visit the HEMA Alliance.

South Coast Swords regularly works with leading instructors worldwide to further our knowledge. Among the most influential are Jake Norwood of XKDF, Lee Smith of Blood and Iron in British Columbia, Steaphen Fick of Davenriche in Santa Clara, CA, Mishael Lopes-Cardozo of AMEK in the Netherlands, and Anders Linnard and Axel Pettersson of GHFS in Gothenburg, Sweden.