Sword Fighting as a Form of Exercise?

Sword fighting is a staple in fantasy, as it was historically in the ancient and medieval eras of our world. Today, sword fighting merely exists as a remnant of its former glory, mostly participated in as an art or leisurely pastime.

To be honest, I’d never really thought about sword fighting as a pastime until about four years ago, when I met my boyfriend. One of the first things we did together was basic blocks/ attacks with his bokken. We practiced on a riverbed covered in rocks and it was freezing cold, but it was fun. It’s a memory I look back on fondly.

I haven’t done much with sword fighting since then. I sort of forgot about it until recently, when I started thinking that I need to get back into going to the gym. My problem has always been that I really don’t like gyms. Too many people, the music is always loud and terrible (so much so that I have difficulty blocking it out over my audiobooks), and being around people in that sort of situation sometimes makes me anxious. Yeah it’s a problem that I shouldn’t have, but it got me thinking: What if I could do something that I’d really enjoy instead?

Sword fighting, although it was not my first solution, was the first that I’ve genuinely been excited about doing.  Unfortunately for me, my location leaves much to be desired in the way of population density, which means there are very few opportunities to do so with other like-minded people. I looked around a bit and found a rather promising fencing school, but I’m hesitant to go that way because I’m much more interesting in European style sword fighting. There appeared to be a European style group in my area, but there was so little information online that it essentially killed it for me.

That’s left me with kendo–which is a little too ceremonial for my tastes– or learning on my own. I’ve opted to learn on my own. Now, it definitely won’t be easy, but I’ve got a partner and two practice swords, and that’s a good start. We, unfortunately, don’t have enough room to practice here at home, so we’ve got to wait for the weather to clear up so we can go to the park and do it there.

I’ve got to say, sword fighting as an exercise will be a blast and is really a dream come true as a fantasy writer. It’ll probably even offer some much-needed insight into those pesky battle scenes I need to write dozens upon dozens of.

Have any of you considered sword fighting as a form of exercise? If so, how has that gone for you?

~Erynn

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