South Coast Swords currently offers 3 classes per week for the adult program and 1 class per week for the youth program. Older teens may participate in the adult program with instructor permission:
Tuesday 8-11 pm
Thursday 8-11 pm
Sunday 1:30-2:30 pm (Youth Program 7-17 years old)
Sunday 2:30-5 pm
Our classes combine physical fitness with instruction in both the theory and application of our martial arts. During our classes you will learn about various historical techniques and weapon systems, listed below. For the most up-to-date information, please RSVP on Meetup.
Our classes are held at:
South Coast Fencing Center
3518 West Lake Center Drive
Santa Ana, CA 92704
We also offer private lessons for children and adults. For rates and location information, please contact us.
The longsword is our primary weapon in teaching KdF — Kunst des Fechtens [Art of Fighting]. All instruction is based on historical training manuscripts, primarily from the 14th to 16th centuries. South Coast Swords focuses on the manuscripts from the Liechtenauer tradition. Many manuscript scans and translations are available at the HEMA Alliance’s online library at wiktenauer.com.
The longsword is a highly versatile weapon, with changing techniques based on range and opponent armor.
Langes messers, or "long knife" in English, varied in size but usually possessed a simple guard and sometimes featured thumb or hand protection on one side. Its construction bears some similarity to a modern machete. Every order of society, from peasants to nobles, carried knives, and the “long knife” was no exception to the rule. It was exceedingly useful as an everyday tool and could be applied to great effect in historical combat situations.
Used from the mid-16th to late 17th centuries, the weapon we call the “rapier” was a long, straight-bladed cut-and-thrust single-handed sword optimized for the thrust and featuring a guard that afforded good protection to the hand. The rapier was used primarily as a civilian self-defense weapon in duels and against sudden attacks. The rapier could also be used with a companion weapon such as a dagger, shield or cape. Both nobles and the lower classes carried the rapier as their choice of personal self-defense weapon. The rapier also saw some use on the battlefield.
The Singlestick is a historical training tool for soldiers that became an early “sword-sport”. Singlesticks were typically made out of a hardwood, with rattan being more common for modern use. Because singlesticks are much lighter than most swords, lighter protective gear is required, allowing for greater comfort and freedom of movement in learning single-hand sword technique.
The rondel dagger was a common "sidearm" of knights and noblemen alike. It is frequently used in an "ice pick" grip to facilitate the power needed to penetrade leather, padded, and maille armor. Many rondel techniques carry over to modern knife defense, and South Coast frequently integrates modern knife defense with our rondel work.
Wrestling, or "ringen" in German, encompasses the broad art of unarmed martial arts used both in historical Europe and the modern day. It was a common skill: Both nobles and peasants knew how to wrestle from a very young age. At South Coast Swords, we teach unarmed grappling, grappling techniques that employ weapons, and grappling techniques for defense against an armed opponent.
Sword and Buckler
The sword and buckler shield was one of the most popular and longest-running weapon combinations in Europe. The earliest fencing treatise that has been discovered, Ms.I.33, deals exclusively with this weapon combination. The tradition evolved over the years to develop many unique styles from Italy, England, Germany, and Spain. The term 'swashbuckler' comes from this combination of weapons.
Modern Knife Defense
[Description coming soon]
Robin Price leads our Broadword instruction, based primarily on McBane’s 18th century manuscript and regimental use. The Scottish basket-hilted broadsword incorporates excellent protection for the sword hand, allowing for a different use of range and aggressive technique than most weapons. South Coast Swords also teaches broadsword at several Scottish festivals, including the Seaside Highland Games and the annual Scotsfest in Costa Mesa.
Dussacks had a short, thick, single-edged blade measuring between 25 and 38 inches long. A dussack was usually made of wood for training purposes, though there is a single reference to dussack also being made from leather, and at least one metal dussack is known to have survived. The dussack was gently curved and came to a point. The weapon often lacked a hilt; instead, the handgrip was merely a hole cut out of the blade. Without a pommel or upper guard, it looked something like a large hole for gripping scissors. No wooden (or leather) practice dussacks are known to have survived—unsurprising, given the perishable nature of the dussack—and only woodcuts and training manuals from the period document their existence.
These weapons are major features in Opus Amplissimum de Arte Athletica I, Paulus Hector Mair’s compilation of earlier fighting manuals. The short staff in Mair’s book is a wooden rod of about 5 or 6 feet in length, but other sources describe the short staff as being between 6 and 8 feet on average. The short staff was used in both a thrusting and swinging manner and was intrinsic to learning how to use all staff weapons. The long staff in Mair’s book is 13 feet long or longer (pikes tended to be around 14 feet in length), and is primarily used as a thrusting weapon.
Polearms are distinct from staff weapons in that the blade is mounted perpendicular to the staff, and the manner of usage is correspondingly different. The most famous polearms include the halberd and the poleaxe, both of which are functionally similar. The later forms of the halberd can be hard to distinguish from the poleaxe, but in its archetypal form consisted of a wide axe head partnered with a hook on the backside and topped by a long spike. The halberd was used similarly to the bill and guisarme in battle. Though it always included a spike or spear on the end, the component weapons set into the sides of the head of the poleaxe were variable.