Styles of swordsmanship

At Black Boar Swordsmanship School there are several  weapon styles studied:

Courtsword - Liancour / Hope / Girard

One of the classic duelling weapons of history is the court or smallsword. The primary sources for Black Boar are the earlier works of the French school and those of Scotland of the same period.

Equipment required

  • A fully blunt and tipped smallsword simulator
  • A fencing jacket
  • A 1600N fencing mask
  • A leather glove
  • Additional body protection such as a chest guard or plastron is recommended but not required.

Sabre - The Leith School

The military sabre of the mid to late 19th century is a core weapon for study at Black Boar. The style studied is that of the School Instructor, called the Leith School, which is based on a mix of period sources, notably Alfred Hutton and Richard Burton's works, but also the instructor's own views on fencing.

Equipment required

  • A blunted sabre of military style, a Henwei 'Hutton' Sabre or a Knights Shop nylon backsword.
  • A fencing jacket
  • A 1600N fencing mask
  • A leather glove
  • Protection for the forearm and elbow
  • Additional body protection such as a plastron or padded body protector is recommended but not required.

Antagonostics - Andre

"Antagonistics" is the catch-all name for the art of self-defence in the 19th Century, comprising elements of Pugilism (boxing), French Boxing (kicking), Grappling (wrestling, jiujitsu, "dirty tricks"), Physical Culture (fitness), Stick (walking canes, umbrellas) and Weapons (knife, truncheon, swordstick). Each aspect will be taught primarily according to the theory and techniques of Emile Andre, a noted French fencing master, who combined these Arts into a simple, yet effective, system of practical self-defence that any Gentleman who has knowledge of the sword arts can learn and apply easily.

Equipment required

  • Focus pads and gloves
  • A wooden walking stick of approx 3 feet length
  • A fencing jacket with body padding or a padded jacket
  • A 1600N fencing mask
  • Sturdy gloves, such as cricket gloves
  • Forearm protection
Most equipment for punching and kicking will be supplied by the school.

Getting started

Black Boar has a  stock of equipment that can be leant to new students, so that initially all you will need is sensible trainers and a white t-shirt (see uniform below).

However, students are expected over time to acquire their own kit. Frankly you will probably want to do this anyway, as sharing a mask or jacket can get a bit 'humid' by the end of two hours. This should not be too financially onerous if bought over time and the school is able to get discounts on certain items.

We strongly suggest your first purchase is a pair of leather gloves: a simple pair of rose gardening gloves will suffice to start with. The second item is a good mask. We insist on a full 1600N mask, as we have found they are of a superior construction to the 350 masks.

When buying a sword you will probably initially want to liaise with the school instructors to ensure that what you buy is suitable for swordplay. As a rule of thumb buy nothing from the Royal Mile in Edinburgh or any other Tartan Tat shops, they will almost always be semi sharp and made of utterly inappropriate materials. And cost far too much! Again with certain suppliers the school can arrange a discount on bulk orders.

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