A different target for College Sports Day

Image: Okehampton College Sports Day 2018For the non-runners, jumpers and throwers, West Devon Swords was able to offer an alternative sporting experience for Okehampton College pupils at the annual sports day in July.

A split session of archery and Go Fence foil provided competition of a different sort alongside the usual athletics programme. …

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The evolution of sporting weapons

Rapier and daggerBy Robin Catling: 

Although the use of heavy metal armour during the Middle Ages made swordsmanship virtually obsolete, the development of firearms in the 15th century then made armour obsolete. As the weapon of last resort, close­ quarters combat and the means for settling disputes among gentlemen, skill with the sword resumed its importance. …

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HEMA: Safe conduct of classes

Catling and Pritchard practising sword and bucler at May Melee 2014Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) is the serious study and live application of combat techniques from the early Medieval period, through the Renaissance, to the late Nineteenth century.

HEMA is not a fantasy activity like LARP (Live Action Role-playing), it is not historical re-enactment, nor is it choreographed stage fighting. It should be treated the same as other martial arts such as boxing, karate, ju-jitsu and the like. This means a constant and strict regard for the risk of injury, with appropriate steps (instruction, donning protective gear) to mitigate and minimise such risk. …

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HEMA – is it safe?

Messengers class training longswordStudying historical combat techniques with heavy weapons is rewarding and fun, but, like most other martial arts, inherently risky. We all have proper jobs to go back to, families to look after, bills to pay; things that are difficult enough without the added burden of trips to A&E, bandages, splints, crutches and the long-lasting effects of concussion (genuinely no laughing matter). We are not 24/7 Medieval or Renaissance warriors. This is a hobby more than a lifestyle choice. …

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In praise of plastic

WDS at Dartington Community Dayby Robin Catling.

From Pirates of the Caribbean, to Star Wars and even Transformers, it seems every other movie poster features a character with a sword; there’s been a slew of TV and online ads featuring Olympic fencers in action, TV shows such as Arrow and the Musketeers keep the skill and the romance of the sword alive. It’s no wonder even the smallest children want to give it a try. …

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Beginners’ Sabre Short-course June 2017

International sabre fencingOwing to demand, we continue with a beginners’ short-course in sabre.

  • 4 weeks from June 27 to July 18, week nights Tuesday
  • Juniors from 6:30 til 7.30 – £25
  • Adults from 7:30 til 8:30 – £30
  • Venue:
    Parklands Leisure Centre,
    Simmons Park,
    Okehampton EX20 1EP
  • Regular OCRA Juniors session continues Tuesdays 5-6.30pm


To register:
call: 07956 409818

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