Maritime modern-day sword fighters hope to one day make it to the Olympics.
Miles Kinnee, the owner of Maritime Sword School in Moncton, N.B., P.E.I. and St. John’s, N.L., says he would love to see historical European martial arts in the Olympics.
“We are one of the fastest-growing martial arts in Canada,” said Kinnee, who started studying ancient sword fighting sports and eventually opened his martial arts sword fighting schools several years ago.
“I am a lifelong fantasy nerd but I am also a little scrappy, right? So what they were doing just made sense and clicked with me.”
Unlike in the days when blood would be shed, he said that modern-day sword fighting is much more civilized, yet equally physical. He said the sabre and sword techniques he teaches are based on historical moves etched in history.
“We would take manuals and books that people had translated, the old fight books from hundreds of years ago, and we started to train those and figure out how they all worked,” he said.
The sabres and swords used in combat are safer now than they used to be.
“They are blunted and they are all what we would call flexible so that in the thrust they kind of collapse and bend so they don’t run people through,” said Kinnee.
Francois Dionne took up swordsmanship last year and works out fully equipped with all the heavy protective gear needed to guard against potential injury.
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“It is just a great sport and an amazing way to actually get in shape. I was slightly less healthy last year,” Dionne said.
He, like others, said he found his inner warrior and is motivated by the sound of clanging swords. He hopes that one day the sport will indeed make it to the Olympic realm.
“They have other martial arts in the Olympics so why not?” Dionne said.
Kinnee says he currently has more than 25 students enrolled at his school in Moncton.
There are dozens of sword schools across Canada, Kinnee said, and competitions are already being held around the globe.
“Historical European marital arts is growing so fast long sword will be in the Olympics” — at least that is the hope, he says. That’s something he says ancient gladiators could never do.