Unsurprisingly, there are many different styles of sword fighting out there. And just like how there are major differences between different styles of hand-to-hand martial arts like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Taikwando, there are big differences between say Kendo and European sword fighting. In this blog, we’re going to take a look at some of the top sword fighting styles practiced today and their key differences. If you want to learn more or you’d like to start training, call us to learn about our sword fighting classes in Kansas City.


Chances are if you live in the western world, you’re well-acquainted with fencing. It’s an Olympic sport that involves three types of non-lethal swords — epees, sabers, and the foil. A saber is used for both slashing and stabbing and is based off swords used by cavalry soldiers; the epee is based off 19th-century swords called rapiers, and the foil is similar to the epee, but it’s more flexible and it’s based on practice swords used by duelists. In a fencing duel, you will wear protective clothing and a mask. Since each weapon is very different, most people only specialize in one weapon.


In Japanese, “Kendo” means “the way of the sword.” However, instead of using traditional samurai swords, kendo has you use a wooden stave called a bokken. They also use leather-bound swords made of bamboo. These are called shinai and can be used for full-contact sparring. Like fencers, kendo practitioners will use a helmet with a faceplate and padded armor.

Theatrical Sword Fighting

Whenever you watch a movie with sword fighting in it or go to a play or sword fighting show, you’re watching theatrical sword fighting. Although this style of fighting looks real, it’s simply designed to look that way and everything is actually choreographed. Although it takes a lot of skill to learn how to do a theatrical sword fight because you will have to remember your opponent’s attacks, you’re not actually learning any real sword fighting techniques.

Historical Medieval Sword Fighting

Medieval sword fighting, also known as Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), is a sword-wielding sport based on medieval martial arts. There are a whole variet of weapons that can be used in this sport like swords, polearms, and broadswords. Although historic medieval sword fighting is not an Olympic sport like fencing is, there are still national and international competitions that you can compete in and a world championship sword fighting event that you can compete in every four years. Although this sport may sound dangerous, combatants use a special type of armor and are taught the proper technique to avoid injury.

Join Our Sword Fighting Class

Baer Swords is happy to offer sword fighting classes in Kansas City. With years of experience, we are able to teach students the proper technique so that they’re able to compete in whatever events they choose. The great part is, sword fighting isn’t just for adults, it’s great for people of all ages and skill levels. Give us a call today.