People interested in learning the lost arts of medieval armed combat and joining the Guild should Contact Us to arrange a time when they could come by the Salle (training space) and watch a class. There they can speak to instructors and learn more about the training and the specifics of class times and the availability of space in those classes during sessions. If they are interested in joining, they can enroll as a Novice (visit the descriptions for the Guild’s Ranks for details on the Member Structure).
Like most martial arts, there is a regular cost for being a training Member of the Guild. The training fees are collected monthly – during the first class of that month – and are currently at $50.00 per month.
This fee includes all requisite reading material, a Guild binder for it, and one uniform T-Shirt – more shirts are available for an additional cost if you want more than one.
At the Novice level, all training equipment is provided (see box-out at right). This allows the Novice to learn the fundamentals of the art without having to make a large financial commitment to start.
Once the Novice has acquired the fundamentals, he or she may test for the rank of Apprentice. If successful, the Novice graduates to the level of Apprentice and may now start to spar in controlled circumstances. The new Apprentice must pay a one-time fee of $50.00 upon their next class in addition to the regular monthly fee.
Upon payment of this additional cost, the Apprentice receives a Guild patch for his or her future gambeson, a large instalment of more advanced reading material, and a wooden rondel training dagger as a symbol of the Apprentice’s entry into the Guild as a fighter.
It is at the Apprentice stage that the requirement for equipment takes effect. As a Novice, the basic equipment was provided at no cost but, now that the Apprentice is going to be sparring, safety equipment exclusively for his or her use must be acquired.
The Apprentice can expect to spend roughly $500.00 to $1,000.00 on training equipment over the course of the next year as he or she builds up the necessary equipment to advance further and further into less heavily structured and more dynamic training. There is an ever increasing risk of harm to the participants as the speed and power of techniques grow in order to execute them properly. A lack of protective gear and the proper training equipment can not be allowed.
Visit the descriptions for the Guild’s Ranks for more information on the required equipment.
A question most often asked of us from potential students (apart from costs) is “How long will it take me to start fighting?” The question is most easily answered with “Longer than you would like.”
Though that’s not something most people want to hear, learning to swing a steel sword at someone’s head while they are swinging one at you with no one getting injured takes a great deal of skill and restraint. These things do not come quickly or easily.
A pupil can expect to move from Novice to Apprentice in roughly three to four months. In order for an Apprentice to gain the necessary skills and control required to successfully test for the rank of Scholar, the time a Member could study while an Apprentice might take upwards of a year. This step, especially, should not be rushed.
Once a Scholar, the student will be much more actively sparring, participating in events and tournaments, and studying the manuscripts in depth. This will likely take several years before he or she can be considered a Journeyman.
After that, the study of these arts becomes much more self-directed and the arc of the Journeyman’s career is indeterminate.
The St. Lawrence Swordfighters Guild is based out of Kemptville, Ontario, Canada. It is an ideal location to serve most of Eastern Ontario with southern Ottawa, Kanata, Barrhaven, Manotick, Smiths Falls, Osgoode, Merrickville, Winchester, and Brockville all within about a half-hour’s drive. The Guild currently trains at the North Grenville Municipal Centre, located at 285 County Road 44, Kemptville, Ontario.
Novice and Apprentice classes run on Thursday nights from 7:00pm to 9:00pm with an optional hour of free time afterwards.
Contact us if you are interested in observing a class.