Teaching the history, sport, and art of swordsmanship to all, with safety and fun.
We are a charitable non-profit organization, IRS 501(c)(3), incorporated in the State of North Carolina. We teach weekly classes in historical swordfighting, sport fencing, and stage combat through Holly Springs Parks and Recreation. We also give demonstrations and teach at festivals, schools, homeschool groups and civic organizations.
We have been practicing and teaching historical martial arts, sport fencing, and theatrical combat for many years before starting The Sword Conservatory, Inc. In that time, we have seen many approaches, so when we started The Sword Conservatory, we knew what we wanted...
- To make swordfighting accessible to as many people as possible.
- To offer multiple traditions, styles, sports, etc.
- To focus on education.
- To make it fun.
To make swordfighting accessible to as many people as possible.
Most swordfighting programs are made for adults. Traditionally, this makes sense due to the equipment cost, training commitment, physical rigor, mental rigor, and likelihood of injury involved. Even then, only a small number of adults could participate: those who had the money (equipment being an expensive pre-requisite), time, and conditioning to participate; plus the insurance and work flexibility needed to tolerate the inevitable injuries.
We seek to turn this paradigm on its head so that everyone can enjoy swordfighting at the level they want to. We keep our classes as low-cost as possible, without contracts. Our equipment chosen for safety and weight, and yet is low-cost. Depending on the program, children as young as 5 years old are able to take part. We don't just rely on equipment for safety, we also train in techniques to reduce the frequency and severity of injuries.
All told, we want people of all ages, athleticism, income levels, and interest to be able to participate in a real swordfighting experience.
To offer multiple traditions, styles, sports, etc.
There is a cliquishness to the martial arts communities that we don't want to be a part of. Medieval sword fighters can look on fencers as "just playing a game", while fencers scoff at the "fakeness" of stage combat. Even within the historical arena, an isolationist mindset can exist which says "my way is the only right way." We reject all of these approaches and see a continuum of legitimate - if different - ways to enjoy sword arts. They each have much to offer and should be regarded on their own merits. Each exists (and persists) for very good reasons, be it the imaginative and visual excitement of stage combat; the accessibility, safety, and sophistication of fencing; or the practical effectiveness of historical forms. We recognize that we must constantly advance and evolve our understanding of the sword arts, and believe that an open, interdisciplinary approach is not only the most expedient way to do this, it is also the most enjoyable.
To focus on education
Some groups swordfight to make a good show. Some swordfight for the adrenaline rush. While we like for what we do to be entertaining to watch, and we get a big kick out of doing it, we also really love to teach. Sharing our knowledge with people, seeing them learn, and helping them progress in experience is immensely gratifying.
To make it fun.
While we take safety very seriously, we are otherwise quite laid back. We do what we do because we enjoy it, and we want everyone else to enjoy it too.