The swords clashed as the armor glinted in the dying sun. These giants were heading into battle right in front of us; A battle that is rarely seen in this century. Rarely seen that is, unless you’re a ‘Renfest’ junkie (A lover of Renaissance Festivals) or an avid follower of unique forms of martial arts.
Heading into Battle - Renaissance Style
Kieron Rowe, the head instructor of Dueling Weapons Academy of Renaissance Fencing (DWARF) invited us to a fully dressed sword fight before an actual class at Meridian Place.
This unique form of martial arts class has been available through DWARF for 2 years in Barrie now. Kieron, a 2nd degree black belt, loves the historical learning and weaponry of this particular mixed martial art. He’s been practicing for 15 years and is eager to teach others.
A Different Style of Mixed Martial Arts
Having started with fencing in school, he was drawn to the longsword and the art involved. Of course there are serious differences to be aware of. First is the length and weight of your sword; at 2-3 pounds and often 3 feet long, it’s heavy enough that you require passing a basic level of fitness. Needing strong shoulders and arms with good cardio ability is the first requirement. Longsword dueling is an intense cardio workout for those of you looking in that direction.
The Need for a Squire
With our invitation to watch, Kieron and another leader brought their entire kits to dress in full gear for us. Watching as each person was dressed in piece after piece of heavy metal armor or chainmail; it was easy to understand the necessity of having a squire to assist you before battle.
Wearing full gear with a helmet will put on an extra 100+ pounds of walking weight for you to contend with.
Collecting the Armor
Kieron himself has 15+ swords, all beautiful in their own right. To work at purchasing an entire suit of armor and sword can be costly as you are looking at a minimum of approximately $1000.00 with no upper limit on spending.
When joining their introductory classes mask, gloves and sword are provided during training. DWARF offers an initial 6 week introductory course with more advanced and intensive interactive drill classes to follow.
Laughingly Kieron and his battle mate let us know that they end their evening ready to crash with their arms super tired. ‘It’s a workout like no other.’
Written By: Jane Laker
Photo Credit: Veronika Kovecses