Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Some of the group

These are a couple of pictures we took last Saturday. So far we don't have an inside place to practice so we do it in the driveway of my place. It was about 34 degrees when we started. You can see the snow on the mountains to the South of us. We have the Duncan clan with Mark and his sons Adam and Josh. They are holding nylon wasters from The Dwarven Smithy. ( More about them later. Aaron Miller and I are playing with the two padded swords I'd finished that morning.

Padded longswords

Okay, here's another padded sword. This one is a long sword, patterned after a real one I have using approximately the same dimensions. Like the previous sword we use 3/4" schedule 40 PVC. For this one, you'll need: one 4' - 3/4" PVC and two 5" lengths of 3/4" PVC, one 4' -3/4" wood dowel, one 3/4" quad connecter and two 3/4" caps, 37" of pipe insulation, one chair leg cap, duct tape, electrical tape and sports wrap.

Cut the 4' PVC into two parts. The long end is 36" and the short end is 12". If you like the handle longer, start with a longer piece of PVC!
I used PVC cement to glue the vertical pieces into the quad connector. Put the caps on the ends of the 5" pieces and put them in the vertical holes. I didn't glue them in because it was a tight fit and if they break it will be easier to replace them.
I spray painted the cross hilt because I didn't want them white. All I had was green, your choice may vary! Put the insulation on using the same method as in the previous sword. Slide the wood dowel into the PVC. You'll find that there is now about a 1" space at the end. You can use a short piece of wood to make up the difference or even metal to help with the balance. Put the chair leg cap on and you're ready to tape. I find that if I overlap the duct tape it helps hold the insulation in place. Up one side and down the other, then repeat. Two passes will cover it well.
Use the electrical tape around the overlapped duct tape just above the cross hilt. You can use the electrical tape to wrap the handle or go to a sporting goods store and buy some sports wrap, the kind you'd use on a tennis racket handle. It makes for a very nice grip. And there you go, another training sword! Make sure you wear safety goggles at least, better to wear head protection as well. Have fun!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Musings about affiliation

When I first decided to start a training group with my friends, I figured it would be a good idea to become affiliated with an established organization. The one we had heard about the most was ARMA. We sent in a group application and waited to be approved. In our group we have another martial artist with many years of kung fu experience who has been studying kenjutsu and kendo. Another member was a competition fencer (epee and saber) in college. I've got 40 years of martial arts and have taught for 25 years. We thought we'd be a good fit but after many months I recieved this note: "At this time we feel it in all our interests for you to proceed on your own path in your historical fencing pursuits. Please continue to enjoy our free online public materials and resources. Thanks for your interest. Best of luck to you in your endeavors." Their online stuff is very useful but I was hoping to be able to implament their youth program. Soooo, we kept training on our own, mostly working from the book "The Swordsman's Companion" by Guy Windsor. It's very well written and has helped us alot. We're still thinking of joining an organization, maybe The Tattershall School or Schola Saint George In the meantime we're having fun training and learning. It's all good!

Monday, December 15, 2008


Another training tool I had from another martial art is the Sportswords. I'm not sure the company is still around, I couldn't find it on the internet. After awhile the original insides broke and I've had to fix them. I'm going to show you how I do it so you can make your own.
This is a previously repaired sportsword. It's 36" in overall length with the tsuka or handle being 13" and the "blade" being 23".

Here you can see what I use to repair the broken one. I have a 36" 3/4" PVC and a 36" wood dowel that slides inside. Then I use pipe insulation cut 24"

At the end of the insulation I pinch the ends together and use duct tape to seal it.

Then I pinch the other sides in and tape again. This give a rounded, padded end to the sword.

Next I slide the cloth cover over the insulation. You can use duct tape. Then I put the tsuba or guard on. Sportswords had their own made but you can use a large rubber washer or anything else that will fit.

Last I wrap the handle. You can use electrical tape, hockey tape or the wrap they use on tennis rackets. Last I put on the kashira or pommel. This one is a rubber chair leg tip.
When I first started training in Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu at the Ohoko Dojo I purchased some training tools from Ed Martin. Very durable hickory boken and jo. We used these and other tools when we first started the training group. Part of my interest in the longsword is that it's about the same length of a jo. (48 inches) I probably won't be carrying a sword around that often but I use the jo as a walking stick and have it with me a lot.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Hi all!
This is my first post on this new blog. I'm starting this blog to talk about my journey into western martial arts or more specifically, medieval martial arts. I've started a study group with some friends and every week we get together and study technique and movement. In this blog I'll talk about our discoveries and include pictures and videos of our practice and how I make training swords. I'll also include links to suppliers of things we haven't figured out how to make ourselves. I'll try to keep things interesting so hopefully you'll check back now and then!
Thanks for checking it out!
RJ Price