Do you like the thought of learning sword combat techniques? Would you like to have sparring matches using a range of different
replica swords? Would you like to do it in a fun, supportive, and most importantly, safe environment? Well guess what, you can!
Order of the Blade is a sword combat club based in a number of locations across Leicestershire where you can learn different moves and techniques alongside a group of fun, enthusiastic people who all share a common goal: improving their skills and helping others do the same. The club is extremely welcoming considering everyone regularly fights each other! However, the reason for this is, of course, that all anyone wants is a good sparring partner, therefore everyone does their best to support and encourage other club members.
For anyone concerned with my repeated use of words like “fight” and “combat” please be assured that this is done in as safe an environment as possible. Order of the Blade is first and foremost a martial arts club and the safety of its members is top priority. That being said, the nature of what is being taught means that bruises are inevitable, however every precaution is taken to prevent this where possible. New members are not allowed to spar until they have proven themselves capable of performing effective blocks and proper attacks. Even then, sparring is voluntary and will only be undertaken at a pace you are comfortable with. Additionally, protective clothing and body armour are available for purchase. The quality of protective gear is constantly improving and everything that is sold is of excellent standard.
What separates Order of the Blade from other martial arts is that members have the freedom to vary their chosen style. Other disciplines require set moves and sequences to be mastered before being able to progress and, while this is in no way a criticism of conventional martial arts training, the Order of the Blade doesn’t.
Due to the vast array of different weaponry available to use and practise with, individuals are able to develop their own individual fighting style using the weapons and techniques they prefer. For example, if like me you struggle to effectively parry against a thrust attack then an option is to retreat or dodge. If you are a particularly tall person then you might want to use a longer sword to capitalise on your range advantage. The possibilities are nearly endless and the instructors, as well as your fellow members, will be delighted to help you find your thing. Who says you’re limited to just one weapon? If two-handed swords don’t appeal, then use a one-handed sabre or two, or even a shield for that matter. Inclusion is the keystone of everything that happens at Order of the Blade and variation is not only accepted, but encouraged.
Now I need to address the giant contagious elephant in the room. Being a sports organisation, Order of the Blade is still able to run somewhat normally but with a few exceptions which I would like to highlight for anyone considering joining any time soon. Firstly, face masks must be worn at all times while training. A temperature check is conducted when you arrive and anyone with a high temperature will be asked to go home. Additionally, any training will be less hands-on and social distancing is exercised wherever possible; this is a bit more difficult during a sparring match, but all equipment is thoroughly disinfected between sessions.
I have only been going for a few weeks, but I have already been welcomed as one of the gang and I can’t wait to see how my skills develop over time. If I have managed to pique your interest then you can find all the information you need at www.orderoftheblade.co.uk including contact details for the club’s leader Richard Hughes.
I look forward to maybe seeing some of you there.