FAQ

Those new to to the study of Western Martial Arts normally have a number of questions. The following FAQ is an attempt to anticipate the most common. If you do not see an answer to your question, feel free to contact us.

  1. What is the Chicago Swordplay Guild?
  2. What are Western Martial Arts?
  3. Will I get cut practicing with swords?
  4. Are you part of the Society of Creative Anachronisms (SCA)?
  5. I'm far away from any groups on your map, but I really want to learn Western Martial Arts! What can I do?
  6. How does the CSG relate to modern Olympic or sport fencing?
  7. How do I join the CSG?
  8. What are the benefits of practicing swordplay?
  9. Why practice an art that has been dead for so many years?
  10. Do women ever get involved in this?
  11. Do you ever do competitive fencing?
  12. How many groups like the CSG are there in the US? The world?
  13. What is the age range for people who practice Western Martial Arts?
  14. Is using a sword the only thing you do in Western Martial Arts?

Q: What is the Chicago Swordplay Guild?
A:
The Chicago Swordplay Guild (CSG) Is a non-profit organization dedicated to studying and practicing Western Martial Arts (WMA) – the personal combat arts of Europe. CSG is both a scholarly and practical fencing group, seeking to practice these martial arts in a safe, friendly and informed way.

Q: What are Western Martial Arts?
A:
Western Martial Arts are methods of personal combat derived from historical sources in the Western world, primarily Europe. Eastern martial arts are drawn from primarily Asian sources.

Q: Will I get cut practicing with swords?
A:
The CSG does not practice with sharp swords. Our training weapons are made of wood or blunt metal, depending on the user's experience level. The CSG has strict rules about safety and protective gear. However, it is important to remember that ALL physical activities involve some risk.

Q: Are you part of the Society of Creative Anachronisms (SCA)?
A:
No, the CSG is not affiliated with the SCA in any way.

Q: I'm far away from any groups on your map, but I really want to learn Western Martial Arts! What can I do?
A:
See our links for historical training material. Attend seminars (such as the annual Western Martial Arts Workshop); they will be worth a lot to you. Also, email us and we might be able to suggest a group near you.

Q: How does the CSG relate to modern Olympic or sport fencing?
A:
Modern Olympic fencing is a sport that uses three weapons: the foil, epee and sabre. The sport is devoted to competition with these weapons. The CSG studies and practices real combat arts, with a wide variety of weapons and fighting forms. There is little resemblance between what we do and modern Olympic fencing.

Q: How do I join the CSG?
A:
By taking one of our introductory level classes, and asking your instructor about joining CSG on completion of your course.

Q: What are the benefits of practicing swordplay?
A:
Exercise, cardiovascular conditioning, stress relief, character building, and you get to meet lots of wonderful people!

Q: Why practice an art that has been dead for so many years?
A:
The Western Martial Arts are very much alive and kicking. If you are interested in martial arts, or are just looking for a better understanding of the sword, swordsmanship or personal combat, this is the place for you.

Q: Do women ever get involved in this?
A:
Women make up 25% of CSG membership, the highest of any Western Martial Arts group we are aware of.

Q: Do you ever do competitive fencing?
A:
Presently, there is no form of formal competition within the Western Martial Arts Community. Fencing is part of our curriculum, however.

Q: How many groups like the CSG are there in the US? The world?
A:
Lots! And the WMA community is growing. Please see our map.

Q: What is the age range for people who practice Western Martial Arts?
A:
We have a policy requiring students to be minimum 18 years of age.

Q: Is using a sword the only thing you do in Western Martial Arts?
A:
The Western Martial Arts encompasses the study and practice of many weapon and combat forms, including the medieval longsword, arming sword, dagger, staff, spear, poleaxe, dusak, rapier, smallsword, broadsword, singlestick, sabre, wrestling, pugilism, and hand-to-hand combat. Some groups focus their study on special aspects of WMA, like horsemanship and jousting!