Within the Garrison, you will be able to participate in a variety of types of medieval European combat. The skills you gain in training sessions can then be used in combat demonstrations, tournaments and re-enactment battles at our summer shows. There will also be opportunities to learn about the development and uses of armour and weapons throughout the medieval period and the life of a fighting man in 1370.
At first you will learn the basic principles of each weapon type, as well as techniques that will keep you safe when participating in combat. These will include:
- The basic sword attacks and defences (known as ‘the eights’) using wooden swords.
- The principles of solo fighting with a spear.
- The basic attacks and defences of axe fighting.
- Unarmed fighting.
- Stage fighting.
- Break falls and rolls.
As you progress and pass our combat proficiency tests (these cover skill, safety and knowledge and care of weapon), you will quickly be able to learn more advanced techniques and, if you wish, chose a preferred weapon or weapons. You may also be able to train in varying amounts of armour.
The advanced techniques you may try include:
- ‘The eights’ using blunted metal swords.
- Free-form sword fighting.
- Sword fighting with secondary kit, including daggers, shields and axes.
- Marching and fighting in a spear wall.
- Combat in armour.
- Mock battles.
- Choreographing fights.
When you have passed the tests with each weapon you wish to use at re-enactment shows you will have the opportunity to develop your combat skills further:
- Participate in combat demonstrations both with the Garrison and with other re-enactment groups.
- Participate in pitched re-enactment battles against other groups, fighting against archers, armoured knights, spear walls, and cannon.
All basic equipment (helmets, gloves, wooden swords, bucklers and spears) will be provided by the group. Much of the more advanced equipment (including metal swords, etc) may be borrowed from other members with their permission.
If you decide you wish to buy some combat equipment for personal use, please consult the training and displays officer before you purchase it. This is to ensure that the kit you buy is authentic, safe, and reliable.