The Swordplay LA Legacy.
Swordplay LA was founded in 1992 by Tim Weske, and came under the ownership of Ryan Cook and Mary Spohn in 2019. The club is a staple of Burbank and Los Angeles, and it continues to offer a warm and welcoming training facility for fencers of all ages and experience levels.
Swordplay LA offers foil, saber, and épée instruction and open fencing. We welcome both newcomers to the sport and experienced competitors. Call ahead and arrange for your free introductory lesson. We have all the equipment available for loan to get beginners started right away.
WHAT IS FENCING?
The Fencing Tradition.
Fencing began with the 16th century rapier and became a sport in the mid-18th century. Although sport fencing was once the prerogative of aristocrats, it is now an athletic enterprise that anyone can practice.
Although divorced from its lethal past -- indeed, fencing is one of the safest sports in the world -- the elements of swordplay are still present. The basic goal of fencing is still, in a sense, survival: earn more points than your opponent by hitting them with your weapon. And all the techniques of fencing are engineered toward that goal while harkening back to classical swordplay. Strategic footwork lays the foundation for attack and defense; touches are scored with forceful thrusts and lunges; and lightning fast parries deflect incoming attacks.
As if getting to live out your swashbuckling dreams isn’t enough, fencing has fantastic health benefits! Whether you’re a young child, a teenager, or an adult, fencing helps:
● Develop reflexes
● Improve cardiovascular health
● Encourage critical thinking
● Build self-confidence
● Enhance balance
● Increase strength and endurance
● Improve coordination
Those benefits and sword fighting techniques are present across all the fencing weapons: foil, sabre, and epee. Each weapon has different rules and fighting styles.
The foil is a thrusting weapon, meaning you only hit your opponent with the blade’s tip. Of the three weapons, foil has the most restricted target area: You can only score by hitting your opponent on the torso. It also has rules that help determine who gets a point when both combatants hit, commonly called “right of way.” Foil fencing bouts move at a moderately fast pace, requiring a delicate mix of strategic planning and pure instinct honed by practice.
The sabre is a cutting and thrusting weapon, meaning you can hit your opponent with any part of the blade. This weapon also has a designated target area, although it’s not as restrictive as foil’s: Anything from the waist up counts, except for the hands. And like foil, it has rules of right of way that dictate who gets a point when there are contested touches. Sabre bouts are often over in the blink of an eye. Although all fencing involves strategic thinking, saberists often fence by instinct.
The épée (pronounced “EPP-pay”), the descendant of the dueling sword, is similar in length to the foil, but is heavier, weighing approximately 27 ounces, with a larger guard (to protect the hand from a valid hit) and a much stiffer blade. Epee is also a thrusting weapon, and it has the least restricted target zone of all three fencing weapons. In short, everything counts. Furthermore, it doesn’t have rules of right of way. Points are awarded to whoever hits first, or to both combatants if they hit each other simultaneously.
Épée bouts tend to be slow-paced, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. Since everything counts and there’s no right of way, epee fencers have to be highly strategic -- plus, they get to score with toe touches!