Looking for something a little different?
Looking for something inexpensive?
Want something fun to do on weekends or weeknights?
Tired of 'sword fighting' with sticks, but can't afford fencing lessons?
Then you have come to the right spot. Read on my friend.
What is foam sword fighting?
It is a fun, safe, inexpensive, live action, full contact game where padded swords (and other padded weapons) are used!
Foam sword fighting has been around for at least 21 years and it has been developed and refined and perfected over those years.
The rules are fairly simple, but the action is fast and furrious.
The rules are developed with the following criteria:
With foam sword fighting, no expensive armor is needed and sword fights can be imprmptu.
Most 'swords' are made with PVC and then padded in a very specific way with foam, for a safe way to make full contact with the 'weapon.'
Is it like fencing?
No. Fencing is a sport where metal blades are used and protective clothing is worn. The two fighters fight on a strip of ground and can only move forward and back on the strip.
With foam sword fighting, no protective clothing is needed, and the style is more like how a knight might fight with a sword and shield. Foam sword fighting can also be a lot less expensive than fencing.
Personally I like both fencing and foam sword fighting because either way I am holding a sword and the action is intense. But each form is very different in style and atmosphere.
Where can I get swords or find some one to sword fight with?
The internet is full of sites that can direct you to a foam sword fighting organization or tell you how to make these weapons. Most of the organizations don't cost money to become a part of, and the average price to make a sword is about $10.00. On my website there is a link at the bottom that directs you to a site that can show you how to make weapons. (There are links to my website below on this page.)
Is that it? or is their more to it than that?
Well, some people (and therefore organizations) like to pretend they are William Wallace, or Joan of Arc or even fictional characters like, Sir Lancelot, Robin Hood, Strider the Ranger, Gug the Orc, or even make up their own character. Sometimes it is fun to dress up like the character that you are pretending to be.
Some of the groups you will find around are based heavily on J.R.R. Tolkein's Middle-earth from The Lord of the Rings. Others might be based in historical fact. Some groups allow both and more.
Are you hooked yet?
Now a word before I proceed. The people in the following organizations are firmly routed in reality. If they weren't I would not have anything to do with them. Most of them look at the 'playing a character' part of the game as though they were on a big stage playing a part, or pretending to be a part of their favorite book. (IE It's just a grown up version of cowboys and indians, but with foam swords and shields instead of pop guns.)
One nationwide organization is called DAGORHIR. Dagorhir is based on Tolkein's work. The word itself comes from one of Tolkein's made up elven languages. It translates to 'Battle Lords' Although Dagorhir is fantasy based they allow anything your heart can imagine. One of Dagorhir's main units are the Romans who look and fight like the ancient Roman soldiers.
The main draw to Dagorhir (versus other groups) is that it is mostly good hard battling with not much to worry about on the battle field except for winning and acting like your character.
Recently there has been some political strife at the upperlevels of Dagorhir's organization and a group split off. The split off group is called BELEGARTH. The rules for becoming a Belegarth realm are much less stringent than Dagorhir's.
In Both Dagorhir and Belegarth there are different games that can be played. 'Capture the flag' or 'Capture the King' or 'King of the Hill' etc. etc.
There are other groups out there. AMTGARD is one. They have slightly different 'fighting' rules than Dagorhir, but the main difference is that Amtgard has 'magic' be a big part of the game. An example of a pretend magic spell might be a poem that you have to read. For example. "Roses are red, violets are blue I am losing this battle so I freeze you." Then the person who the poem was directed at would have to freeze in place for a specified amount of time. (Disclaimer: This is not a 'real' Amtgard spell it is just used as an example) Amtgard also focuses on 'building' your pretend character. This allows you to 'advance' in levels and makes you more powerful (Similar to advancing in levels durring a video or computer game). But this makes for additional rules and therefore a lot to remember in the heat of battle. That's too much for me. I just like to plain sword fight (my real strength and skill against your real srtrength and skill) so I adhere to the Dagorhir rules.
There is also a group called the Society of Creative Anacronisms. Their group focuses on historical accuracy and a big portion of the SCA does not deal with fighting. But when they do fight they usually use wooden swords and wear armor for protection. When they do use swords with foam on it they call it fighting with 'boffers' but they don't do that very often.
MIDGARD is a small group that focuses on Viking Age re-enactment. When it comes to Viking Age lifestyle, from period tents, to weaponsmithing, to weaving, these guys know their stuff. But when it comes to battle they use the Dagorhir rules and weapons.
Dagorhir and Belegarth each have a yearly WAR where everyone gets together to camp out for about a week and play different scenarios. One of the more famous scenarios (or games) is a castle battle.
Of course there are more weapons than just swords. One of the more fun ones is a bow and arrow. The arrow has a foam ball at the end.
I belong to both Dagorhir and Belegarth (I don't care much about the politics of the organizations as long as I can fight with foam swords with good, intelligent, fun people).
Most of these organizations require a player to sign a waiver before they can actually fight.
Here are mine. Go ahead and print them out and come on by.
When I was yonger I started to write a book, so when I sword fight I like to pretend that I am characters from that book, although I must admit that I am a big fan of Tolkein so I utilize the languages he created and sometimes pretend I am on Middle earth.
There is an online dictionary of one of Tolkein's elven languages.
(Go ahead and type in 'Malthen' and see what you get. Or use the english search and type in 'mountain' and see what you get).
NOTE: This Tolkein site has had some changes and the online dictionary may no longer be available.
My websites focus on making my stories come to life. I have two sword fighting websites that are almost identical (One for Dagorhir and one for Belegarth)
Well that about sums it up. Please browse the links below and find an organization near you or start your own. I am not that familier with the SCA, but I know that the foam groups are happy to help out people who are new to the battle game (I am sure the SCA is too, I just can't vouch for it).
Please let me know if this page was helpful in describing the hobby I like so much, and if you are in Southern California let's get together and . . .um . . .do battle!