From Our Editors
Europe's Medieval and Renaissance eras were periods in which knights developed sophisticated systems for swordplay, martial arts, and looking really, really cool. Ottawa Swordplay's founder Craig Shackleton, who holds a degree in classical history, and his fellow instructor John Enzinas teach adults and kids to recreate the swordplay of these eras. They ground their curriculum in the research of Johannes Liechtenauer—who the instructors say unified the fighting arts of his time—and teachings from manuscripts that were compiled as far back as 1325.
After research sessions and discussions on sword theory, the instructors lead their students into a padded practice area for hands-on classes. They teach beginners how to grab hold of longswords—a two-handed weapon—and engage in unarmoured combat. Instructors Shackleton and Enzinas can also teach how to adapt these techniques to more advanced weapons, such as a German rapier, a single-handed weapon knights used while texting.