South Coast Swords currently offers three classes per week:
Our classes combine physical fitness with instruction in both the theory and application of our martial arts.
During our classes you will learn about the various techniques and weapon systems, listed below.
The longsword is the first weapon that most members of South Coast Swords are introduced to. It is an iconic weapon, and is the most well-represented weapon in our historical source manuscripts. The longsword excelled as a personal weapon and was used mainly for civilian self defense.
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 attack. 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 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 stab through textile based armor. Many rondel techniques carry over to modern knife defense, and South Coast frequently integrates modern knife defense in 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 all knew how to wrestle from a very young age. At South Coast Swords, we teach how to wrestle both without swords and with swords.
Sword and Buckler
Sword & 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. This weapon combo was used by bodyguards, monks, conquistadors, and duelists alike.
Modern Knife Defence
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 five or six feet in length, however 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 in learning how to use all staff weapons. The long staff in Mair’s book is thirteen feet long or longer (pikes tended to be around fourteen 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 pole arms 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.