Sword fighting is an act performed generally for recreation, but sometimes as a means to settle wrongdoings against a person (dueling). There are differing accounts regarding the prevalence of sword fighting in Davis, but there has been at least one confirmed report of knights in homemade armor, sword fighting with wooden poles in Community Park. Also, Davis High School students could be frequently seen sword fighting with lengths of PVC piping behind the IPAB during the '05-'06 school year. There is also the Davis Fencing Academy, and two fencing clubs, the UC Davis Fencing Club and the Davis Historical Fencing Club. Davis Period Fencing Club is no longer active. For an Eastern spin on sword-fighting, check out the Kendo Club.
What You Need
If someone wished to pursue the art of Sword Fighting, there are a few things that they might want to have:
- A Sword. A sword is usually (but not always) required for sword fighting. This could be a foil, as in fencing, or, in more casual or spontaneous fights, a suitably sized stick , pole, or PVC pipe, a broadsword for more thrilling battles, or, in absence of all else, a flashlight for epic fog-lightsaber battles.
- A Partner. Again, this is usually required for a sword fight. A partner can be anyone-a friend, family member, random person off the street (it might be good to get their approval first). Perhaps you will happen across a medium-or large-scale sword battle breaking out downtown, or in a park, so it is always nice to carry a sword with you. Investing in a scabbard might be a good idea.
- Armor. This is not strictly required, and it is quite possible to have a sword fight without it, but it would be somewhat less painful with it. Armour can take many forms. In medieval times, armor was made of leather, chain mail, or metal plates. These are all viable options, but those without the time or money to invest in making or buying a suit of armor can use modern materials to assemble a less costly, more comfortable alternative. An old set of football shoulder pads can be used in lieu of breastplate. Knee pads, which can be purchased at any hardware store, can give good protection for the knees. A bicycle helmet can provide moderate protection from head injuries, while lacrosse goggles can protect the eyes.
- A shield. A shield can also be a nice addition to a sword fight. This can be as simple as a trash can lid, or you could purchase a real, reenactment-quality shield from the internet. The latter, however, could cost quite a bit of money. A cheaper alternative is to make your own. All the materials needed for a Viking-style shield can be purchased Downtown for under $15, and with around 3-5 hours of work, you could have a nice, battle ready shield. (~2-3 hours for a rough, but still battle-ready model)
- Other Considerations. Want to spice up a Sword fight? Throw in a couple spears or axes. For a Samurai battle, use a Katana, a long curved sword. For a Viking battle, take a canoe or two down to the Arboretum, and make raids on the coastal settlements. Maybe instead of a simple Sword fight, you want to do some Bicycle Jousting? All you need is a lance.
Sword fighting is potentially dangerous, and can be deadly if done with real swords. Make sure that you are following safe procedures.
The Davis Boffer Club meets on Russell IM Field every Saturday. A boffer is a weapon built out of a pvc core and then wraped in padding and ducktape. For open style sword fighting this is your best bet in town. You can check out their page on facebook.