Vikings and Swordsmen at Higgins Armory Museum

Our big adventure this weekend was to check out Higgins Armory Museum in Worcester. We hadn’t been there and they were having demonstrations by the Higgins Armory Sword Guild of historical combat technique; fighting with swords, and I don’t mean fencing. We decided this sounded like a fun thing to do, so we went.

Guild members Mark Millman and John Carter gave a very entertaining and informative presentation of sword fighting techniques. At first they showed us what it looks like when you do it at regular speed (very scary!). Then they went through their sequences step by step, stopping at each move to explain what they were doing.

What we (or at least I) learned is that combat fighting was an elaborate system of moves, counter-moves and trickery. I always thought it was more like in the movies – just a lot of hacking of inept opponents. Looks like the real combatants would have been a bit more difficult to fight than that. They were all trained fighters – eek! I also learned that there are training manuals from the period still in existence. It’s those manuals that the Guild and other groups like them use to study and learn the techniques.

I know the Guild will be having other demonstrations so check the schedule if you are interested. They also have classes so you can learn to use the swords properly. Info. on that is also available on the Higgins Armory web site.

The other presentation we saw was William Short from the Hurstwic Viking Age History group. It was also very informative and interesting – no scary¬†swordplay though. I’ll be blogging more about him in my next post.




For more information about Hurstwic

About the organization
Articles on Viking arms and armor
Demonstrations and events

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