Historical Learning through Swordfighting

Swords Opens Up Opportunities for Historical Learning

Are your children or teens interested in history? What about swordfighting? Learning about history can be extra engaging with an intersecting interest, especially one which can be active and participatory. Here are community-based resources to learn about history through an interest in sword-fighting, along with fencing classes, theater and film:


On Saturday, July 30, 2016 from 1pm-2:30pm, martial arts expert Jeff will provide historical information and sword-fighting demonstrations in his presentation: “Swords through the Ages.” Jeff is affiliated with the Association for Renaissance and Medieval Swordsmanship. This program will take place at the Dickinson Memorial Library.. 413-498-2455. 115 Main Street. Northfield, MA. (FREE)

Adults and self-directed teens may be interested to dig further into the historical background and cultural significance of swordfighting. The Association for Renaissance and Medieval Swordsmanship website provides access to the freely downloadable Lord Collection of historical combat treatises, as well as links to other research sites. Check the website for upcoming meetings, events, and other ways to get involved with this UMass affiliated organization.

How about swordfighting in theater? Try out swords used as props in productions put on by Shakespeare & Company on Wednesday, July 27, 2016 at 10:30am during a guided tour of their backstage. In addition to swords, support an interest in theater production by reviewing the rehearsal processes, play selection and learn about theatrical careers. 413-637-3353. 70 Kemble Street. Lenox, MA (>$) 

An interest in swordfighting can connect to not only theater, but also films and texts. The classic family film, The Princess Bride, based on the 1973 novel of the same name by William Goldman, contains a famous swordfighting scene with accurate references to historical swordfighting techniques. Screening this film can be a fun way to see swordfighting in actual while catching references to historically significant fencers such as Rocco Bonetti, Agrippa, and Capo Ferro. You can screen the film at home as an introduction to the history of swordfighting, and kids who love the film should also consider reading the book it is based on, or vice versa.

After screening at home, take part in Crowdsourced Cinema this summer here in western MA! Last summer, the public art project engaged the greater Northampton community to remake the classic film Raiders of the Lost Ark. Now in its second year, Northampton Community Television will have another installment with a remake of The Princess Bride.   Team can sign up at www.CrowdsourcedCinema.com.


Others may feel inspired to try their hand at fencing. Pioneer Valley Fencing Academy in Easthampton offers intro and intermediate fencing classes, as well as historical fencing classes. Suggested ages are eleven and up for the beginner class. Visit their website or call 413-204-6387 for more information.

Riverside Fencing Club offers introductory, teen/adult, youth, and conditioning classes in Hadley, Holyoke, West Springfield and Westfield. Fencing can be an intergenerational interest with possibilities for both youth and adults to learn.



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