, Salem, MA


September 19, 2013

Getting medieval in Danvers

Historic martial arts come to life at local tournaments, clinics


Getting in the ring with armed opponents can clarify what’s learned from research, and helps develop this historical martial art into a modern sport.

Tsay’s group of martial artists, Forte Swordplay, meets three times a week in Burlington and draws all kinds of people.

Some, like Tsay, started as practitioners of Eastern martial arts and wanted to try fighting with swords, which are central to European martial arts. Others, like Leslie Rose of Rowley, were following an interest that began with elements of popular culture.

“I am a great fan of RPG (role playing game) computer games, where you use a lot of longsword techniques,” said Rose, who works for a computer game manufacturer. “I’ve been interested in medieval weaponry for a long time.”

She and her boyfriend joined Forte Swordplay last December and also belong to another group, School of St. George in Watertown, but Rose still considers herself a beginner.

“I got into it for the workout,” she said. “I go twice a week. It’s two hours, but I’m not capable of doing it for more than an hour.”

Rose will be a judge at the exhibition, which will be streamed online at the exhibition’s website on Saturday, and she said the rules are complex.

“There’s three points for head hits, two points for the foot — because it’s difficult to hit — and anywhere else is one point,” she said.

Strikes to the back of the neck, the back, kidney or groin are off-limits, as are blows to the back of the knees or the wrists and hands.

“We want to see a better quality of fighting,” Rose said. “We don’t want sniping, where somebody could get injured. It’s very easy to break somebody’s hand. People are hitting very hard.”

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