Q: Do you fight with sharp swords?
A: Forteza does not practice combat techniques with sharpened weapons of any kind. We use training weapons made from materials like wood or blunt metal, depending on the user's experience level. Forteza has strict rules about safety and protective gear. Our students understand that, as with any physical activity, there is some risk involved.
Q: Is using a sword the only thing you do in Historical European/Western Martial Arts?
A: Historical European/Western Martial Arts encompass the study and practice of many weapon and combat forms, including the medieval longsword, arming sword, dagger, staff, spear, poleaxe, dusak, rapier, smallsword, broadsword, singlestick, sabre, wrestling, pugilism, and hand-to-hand combat. Some groups focus their study on special aspects of WMA, like horsemanship and jousting!
Q: What is the age range for people who practice Western Martial Arts?
A: Forteza usually requires students to be 18 years of age or older. How much older doesn't matter. If you are reasonably fit, there is some aspect in WMA/HEMA suitable for you.
Q: Do women ever get involved in this?
A: Certainly. And why not? The earliest surviving fighting manual has a swordswoman in it.
Q: Do you ever do competitive fencing?
A: Forteza does not specifically train with an eye toward competition. Our focus is understanding historical technique as well and as accurately as possible. Some techniques are too dangerous to use with full power and/or application. That said, scholars work up to "free play" where limited techniques are applied at speed and with controlled intent, using proper safety equipment, of course.
Q: I'm not near enough to train with Forteza, but I really want to learn Western Martial Arts! What can I do?
A: Much material is available on the web, not all of it of equal quality. See our links for some suggestions. You should think about attending seminars (such as the bi-annual Western Martial Arts Workshop sponsored the Chicago Sword Play Guild) as they can be very worthwhile. Also, email us and we might be able to suggest a group near you.
Q: How do I join Forteza?
A: Start by contacting us and attending one of our introductory sessions. If you find the subject matter and instructor congenial, your instructor will be happy to discuss how you can work with Forteza on an on-going basis.