For more than seven years, a league of historical European martial artists has been honing their skills and training in Kelowna.
“Its a pretty tight little club and the camaraderie you get from just beating someone down and sweating with them and stuff, the kind of sense of community is great, and the connecting with the past,” said David Draper, apprentice.
There are 13 members who make up the Okanagan Combat Guild, one of many groups in the Okanagan. But in Kelowna, their practice is based on a book, The Art of Combat by Joachim Meyer, published 1570.
“Everything we are learning is out of a book and it’s not making it up and playing, it’s a little bit more serious,” said Draper.
They’re practicing with weapons such as dusaks, long swords and rapiers, but also competing in actual sparring matches where they can put their skills to the test.
“For protection, we usually wear a padded gambeson, elbow and knee protection, a gorget that protects our throats,” said Adam Ritz, guild master, Okanagan Combat Guild.
“And it looks pretty much like a fencing mask but it’s a lot stronger. So it’s going to protect you from thrusts and hard hits and its padded around the sides.”
To learn more about the guild visit okanagancombatguild.com