Light Saber Combat: Houston’s Jedi in Training

Fencers, by and large, are a nerdy bunch. We all have our own theories about why this is, some of which are flattering (you have to be clever!) and some less so. Whatever the reason, it’s definitely true at Houston Sword Sports. Our members include the owners of a local gaming shop, the head of a Cosplay company, and gamers of various stripes.

You could say that we are pretty into Star Wars, too.

Coach Liz did Rey hair for the Light Saber class. It fits under a mask better than Leia buns.

We really wanted to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. We know that these movies in particular have brought a lot of people to fencing – it’s about as close as you can get to being a Jedi in this galaxy. So, we decided to let people fully unleash their inner padawan learners and create their own light saber fights. On the Friday before Episode VIII’s release, we hosted a Light Saber Combat class!

Episode 1: The Younglings

Master Dan works with the younglings, teaching them to move like Jedi.

Our first class was open to kids ages 6-12, or more appropriately, the Younglings. About half of the kids in the group had never tried fencing of any kind before, so we started out with some movement exercises. A big difference between fencing and stage combat is that in fencing we rarely move side-to-side, but in stage combat we move in many different directions. In the picture above, the group works on moving side-to-side and forward and backward smoothly.

The younglings receive their training weapons.

We don’t have welding helmets and little bots that shoot blasters at you, but we do have fencing masks. While our training sabers are a) not lasers and b) soft and padded, it still isn’t great to get hit in the face with one, so we made the kids wear masks. When we first handed out the sabers, we had them all work while spread out so they could swing the weapons around without worrying about hitting or being hit.

Next step: learning to fight

Next, we taught the kids how to attack each other and defend themselves. In stage combat, practicality isn’t as much of an issue as it is in sport fencing, so we could teach some of the less-used parries like the one above, the saber version of parry 6, also known as “the coaches’ parry” (because only coaches use it).

The younglings begin putting together their fight scenes.

Once we’d given them the basic building blocks of the scene, it was time to start writing their own fight sequences. Here, we divided them into pairs and they began working on their fights together.

We had a nice little stage for the fights, even if the scenery was a bit anachronistic.

At the end of the class, the kids put on little skits with the choreography they’d worked on. Here’s one of our favorites:

Episode 2: Padawan Learners

Our teen/adult class was smaller than the youth class, and some of the students were a little old to be called padawans, but then so were Anakin and Luke. We followed a similar format, but were able to go more in-depth because the participants had more fencing experience.

First, they learned to move.


Then, Dan showed them how to hit him.


Then, they practiced hitting each other.

Two of the guys had a head start, in that they’d studied several of the fights in the movies ahead of time to get an idea of what they wanted to do. They were able to put together this fight, which was definitely the highlight of the evening.

In all, we had a great time running this class, and the participants had a great time too. If you missed out, we’ll be doing stage combat for the afternoon session of our youth winter camp on December 29. Click here to learn more and sign up!


Bring a Friend Week: September 25-30

HSS Youth fencers play a fencing game

Bring a friend to Houston Sword Sports and they can help you defend a rope “castle” from invaders!

We’re trying something new this year: Bring a Friend Week! Bring a guest to any HSS class, September 25-30, and they can try fencing for free. They must be the appropriate age for the class: 6-12 for youth beginner classes, 8-12 for youth advanced classes, 13-18 for teen classes, and 18+ for adult classes.

If your friend signs up for a membership, you get a Starbucks gift card and they get 20% off their membership!

We know that you have someone in mind – a pal who thinks fencing sounds interesting, but you haven’t managed to get them to the club yet. Now’s your chance!

Email if you have any questions, or to sign up your friend ahead of time! Check the Classes page if you need a refresher on the schedule!

Fine print: Eligible guests must not have attended classes at Houston Sword Sports before Sept. 25. To qualify for the promotion, they must purchase a membership by September 30.
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New Schedule Starts August 1

Weekly schedule for fencing classes at Houston Sword Sports

This will be the new schedule for Houston Sword Sports @ The Zone starting on August 1, 2017.

We recently unveiled a new, expanded schedule for our club now that we have our own facility. We got some great feedback on that schedule, and have made some more changes thanks to your input. Above is the latest version of our new schedule. Keep reading to find out more about the class changes!

Classes for Kids

Our three existing kids’ classes will stay the same. Tuesdays at 6 at the Bellaire Rec, Thursdays at 6 at the Zone, and Saturdays at 10 at the Zone. These are open to kids ages 6-12 and are beginner-focused.

For kids ages 8-12 with some fencing experience, we’re adding new classes.

  • Mondays from 5:30-7: Youth Epee Class
  • Wednesdays from 5:30-7: Youth Foil/Saber Class
  • Saturdays from 10-11:30: Youth Three-Weapon Class

These classes will be longer and focus on improving weapon-specific skills. If you have always wanted to try a new weapon, or if you want to perfect your technique in the weapon you already know, come to one of these classes!

Classes for Teens and Adults

Here we’re making some major changes, by opening the weapon-specific classes open to both teens and adults. This will open these classes to more people, and give teens a chance to practice against adult fencers they’ll face in senior competitions.

  • Mondays from 7-8: Teen & Adult Epee Class
  • Wednesdays from 7-8: Teen & Adult Foil/Saber Class
  • Saturdays from 11:30-1: Teen & Adult Three-Weapon Class

Like the new youth classes, these will focus on weapon-specific skills.

Open Bouting Sessions

If you’re gearing up to become a competitive fencer, classes are important but you also need a chance to work on those new skills on strip! Open bouting sessions combine two age groups, since tournament classifications don’t exactly follow the age groupings we’re using. This gives you a chance to fence against a wide variety of skill levels and ages, just like you would in a real tournament.

Homeschool Classes

We are starting a brand-new homeschool fencing program on September 5. This class is open to ages 6 and up and will be held at the same time as the afternoon adult fencing classes. Learn more and sign up for the homeschool fencing email list here.

Classes for Beginners

We only have one dedicated beginner class for adults and teens, not pictured on the schedule above. It meets Tuesdays from 7:30-9 at the Bellaire Rec Center. If that time doesn’t work for you, come during any of the other practices and one of our coaches will help get you started. You can also sign up for one of our monthly free beginner classes!