Should You be Training with an Extra Heavy Sword?

by Bill Grandy

Many practitioners of sword arts praise the use of training with a much heavier weapon than their normal one. The general argument is that doing so is good for conditioning as well as to train more explosive speed when switching back to the normal weighted sword. Certainly, this attitude can be historically justified: Vegetius wrote of using heavier weapons to train against targets in 4th century Rome, and even on the other half of the hemisphere the Japanese sometimes used a heavier wooden sword called a suborito for strength training. There is a strong case to be made, however, that this method causes more harm than good. In fact, the data shows that a practitioner may be better off doing the exact opposite and train with a weapon that is lighter than their normal one. Continue reading

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BladeFit: Balance and Stability

by Dagi Johnson

BladeFit is a reoccurring article showing quick fitness exercises for Historical European Martial Artists. These exercises can be worked into a fitness routine, used for your pre-class warm-ups, or just inspire you to start moving. Some will be modern-made exercises, while others will be more historically inspired.

Warrior Pose 3
Developing core strength and stability doesn’t have to mean doing a thousand sit ups.

The majority of martial arts actions require proper core movement and strength. The core muscles are used to power a strike with a weapon or to make a hip throw. Here are some quick exercises that will challenge and train your stabilizing muscles, core strength and balance. All you need is your body and your sword, or any other type of weight. In the beginning you might actually find yourself doing these without any weights at all.

Each exercise is a combination of several movements strung together without a break in between. Try to do each part for 30 seconds and then transition right into the next part without a pause. If you find this too easy then look for the section at the end for some suggestions to make it more challenging. Continue reading

BladeFit: The Sword Ladder

by Bill Grandy

BladeFit is a reoccurring article showing quick fitness exercises for Historical European Martial Artists. These exercises can be worked into a fitness routine, used for your pre-class warm-ups, or just inspire you to start moving. Some will be modern-made exercises, while others will be more historically inspired.

Is there ever really such a thing as owning too many swords?
Is there ever really such a thing as owning too many swords?

To start the Sword Ladder, lay out as many swords as you have available onto the floor, parallel to each other, so that you have a “ladder” that you will do exercises with. This is a good warm up for a full sized class where everyone puts down a weapon. You can do this with as little as four or five swords. Alternately, you can use dowel rods or even sticks and branches if you train outdoors.

Once you have your ladder, the first and simplest exercise is to jog through it, making certain to never step on any of the swords. This exercise can be done with a commercially available running ladder, which is certainly a worthwhile purchase. However, having swords on the floor forces people to be much more careful about how they step so that they don’t trip, which is part of the exercise.

Continue reading

BladeFit: The Sword Burpee

by Bill Grandy

BladeFit is a reoccurring article showing quick fitness exercises for Historical European Martial Artists. These exercises can be worked into a fitness routine, used for your pre-class warm-ups, or just inspire you to start moving. Some will be modern-made exercises, while others will be more historically inspired.

The Sword Burpee is a simple variation on the standard burpee. A burpee is performed first by squatting down, placing your hands flat on the ground and kicking the feet back so that you end in a plank position. It is optional whether or not to do a push-up from there. Then you quickly push your feet towards your hands and jump upward with your hands held high. This is an excellent exercise for explosive movement and cardiovascular development. Continue reading