About Us

What is Auckland Sword and Shield?

Auckland Sword and Shield is a club that trains its members in Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA). More specifically we teach martial arts that originated in Europe from the 10th to 18th centuries. This includes quite a variety of styles including German Longsword, Bolognese Sidesword, Italian Rapier, English Backsword, and Medieval Sword and Buckler. HEMA is a relatively new sport but is growing in popularity with over 10,000 practitioners worldwide.

HEMA is not role-playing, LARP-ing, or any other type of fantasy activity. HEMA uses historical manuals to re-create and keep alive the art of sword play.

Is Swordmanship Useful in the 21st Century?

In a word, yes. It is useful for developing fitness, strength, balance, and coordination. It is useful for self defence, the skills learned can be applied to makeshift weapons and even unarmed fighting. If you are an actor or stuntman the skills learned may help you land roles in productions requiring authentic skill at arms. Finally, it’s very social and we have a lot of fun.

Is it Dangerous?

Not really. Like most sports there is the possibility of injury. However, injury rates are low compared to sports like Rugby, Surfing, Skiing, Snowboarding, Mountain Biking, and many others. The club takes safety very seriously. Appropriate protective gear is required when sparring and training. Overly aggressive behaviour is not tolerated and members are trained to strike safely.

How Much Does It Cost?

Membership fees are $200 per year. The club has weapons and protective gear that new members can use while training until they can get their own. After 2-3 months members should count on buying at least a pair of gloves ($30-$40) and a fencing mask ($125). After that members usually continue buying more protective gear and a blunt steel sparring weapon. Swords cost around $150 to $600 and padded jackets (or a Gambeson) are a similar price.

Who Can Join?

We accept anyone 16 and years and older. The club has members from 16 to 55 years of age and good proportion are female. If you are less than 18 years old you will need permission from your parent or guardian before you can join the club.

How Do I Join?

It’s easy. Just join in one of our Beginner training groups. We advertise these on our Facebook page, or on our website. We will give you free basic training until you are ready to take our safety assessment, which usually takes place after 6-8 classes. At this point you can decide if you want to take the assessment and join the Club.  When you have passed, we’ll get you to fill out our online membership form and pay fees.