Frequently Asked Questions

Who can attend?

SDLS classes provide a serious opportunity to experience, and eventually master a complex, adaptable fighting art. When you join our HEMA program, you’ll enjoy the mental challenge of learning this historical martial art, as well as the physical challenge of putting the art into practice along with fellow students through an increasingly complex series of lessons, exercises, and (eventually) free-play sessions. 

Our coursework is designed for adult students. Please see our age requirements page if you have questions about enrolling a teen. 

Is this a LARP thing?

Nope, this is a martial art. All of our techniques are derived from historical fighting manuscripts. However, if you are interested in LARP, reenactment, acting, or a variety of other activities, you will find that our classes can complement and enrich your existing interests. 

We currently have students whose outside hobbies and activities include Quidditch, reenactment (SCA), Brazilian jiu jitsu, costuming, Star Wars, yoga, modern fencing, dance, and much much more! 


Do you teach how to fight with other weapons?

Currently, our regularly scheduled adult classes focus exclusively on use of the longsword. However, on occasion other weapons such as the sword and buckler, spear, pole axe, messer, and dagger are introduced in a lesson as part of a series of lessons to reinforce the core concepts of the German tradition of fighting.

Intermittently, we hold special eight week technique intensive workshops that feature an alternative weapon to the longsword.

On occasion, we host an armored work shop for our students. Students intermediate and up are welcome and encouraged to attend the technical lessons during this workshop. However, due to the costly nature of armor and the necessity of custom fitting for a safe and effective harness, only students who have invested in their own armor or fit the loaner armor we have available may participate in the practical lessons. Loaner armor is extremely limited and priority is given to advanced students who regularly attend longsword and armor workshops. Regardless of the lesson type, all are encouraged to observe and learn.

What should I wear and/or bring?

We recommend wearing comfortable athletic clothing for our training sessions. A pair of yoga pants and t-shirt is just fine! Close toed athletic shoes are required for student safety. 

Students participating in Longsword 101 or Knight Nights only need to bring their smiles and their wits! For students wishing to join the remaining classes a list of required equipment can be found here


How long until I can spar? Do I have to spar?

Sparring is the result of achieving a certain level of proficiency and more importantly safety. Due to differences in learning, student commitment to at home practice, and ability, the period of time from the first lesson to sparring varies significantly. However, contact exercises begin on week 5 of training. 

No student is required to spar. Sparring is an enjoyable activity and we provide plenty of opportunities to practice. However, if you're looking for a more technical approach to reproducing the manuscripts or a more relaxing approach to fencing you will enjoy our classes.


How competitive is your school?

Our school has a very balanced approach to competition. We believe in bringing your best fight to any tournament or competitive sparring match. However, our students are expected to maintain a level head, exhibit the virtues of honor and respect on the field, and to value strong historical technique over medals and accolades. 

When sparring in or after class students are expected to be good training partners for one another. This means discussing learning goals, fighting speed, and what constitutes a good blow before beginning to spar. 

Our school is filled with exceptional trainers and students who value and take ownership in the community of trust and respect that we strive for.