HomeSports7 Exciting Modern Sword Sports to Watch and Play: Blades of Glory
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7 Exciting Modern Sword Sports to Watch and Play: Blades of Glory

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Sword fighting started a long time ago in the history of human civilizations. People had different reasons for using swords such as for defense in war or while hunting and most importantly on a personal level. Throughout time, sword sports have bowled over both captivated spectators and inspired people practicing them in competition and spectacles ranging from elegant European fencing to dexterous Japanese kendo. It has since grown into distinct types of martial arts or games, just as people’s ways of life have changed. 

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What are Sword Sports?

Sword Sports That Keep the Sword Tradition Alive | KreedOn
Image Source: Sword Encyclopedia

A group of activities involving a sword, or any sharp-edged tool being used is known as sword sports in competing with others or during leisure hours. These games combine body-building exercises, self-concentration, and historical aspects which assist in keeping people entertained and fit too. It is important to recognize that these sports are all about physical prowess, logical thinking as well and agility since individuals have to use swords or similar weapons to either score points or attain certain objectives at times during such games. Sword sports include fencing, kendo, Iaido, and historical European martial arts (HEMA), among others. Taking sword-martial arts helps one improve coordination, balance, and overall health, as well as learning about history and culture through it. You get another great and unique avenue of challenging yourself while at the same time interacting with others with whom you share similar hobbies.

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7 Popular Modern Sports with Swords

Sr. No Sports with Swords
1 Fencing
2 Kendo
3 Historical European Martial Arts
4 SCA Combat
5 Iaidō
6 International Medieval Combat Federation
7 Battle of the Nations


Fencing Sport | KreedOn
Image Source: Worldwide Fencing

Fencing is a combat sport involving sword fighting. Modern fencing is divided into three disciplines: foil, épée, and sabre (sometimes known as saber); each uses a distinct type of blade with the same name and has its regulations. Most competitive fencers specialize in a single discipline. 

Modern fencing rapiers are usually blade-made with light and non-sharp metallic materials such as steel and aluminum to ease sports accessibility to larger crowds. Fencing matches can be dangerous, so athletes wear masks and other safety equipment. The game has three divisions, and each division has its regulations and points awarding system.

  • Foil Fencing: With a thrusting ability of up to 500 grams, the foil is considered the lightest weapon.  The foil strikes the body but not the arms or legs. Its small round hand guard provides direct defense from stabs. Touches are only scored with the tip of the blade; touches with the side of the blade do not register on the electronic scoring system.
  • Épée Fencing: The épée is a thrusting weapon similar to the foil, but heavier, having a maximum total weight of 775 grams. In épée, the entire body is a legitimate target. The épée’s hand guard is a big circle that extends towards the pommel, thereby shielding the hand, a legal target in épée. Like foil, all hits must be made with the blade’s tip rather than its sides. 
  • Saber Fencing: The Saber is a light cutting and thrusting weapon that attacks any body part above the waist as one whole unit: including the head inclusive of both arms. One employs the use of the saber as the most recent weapon. Sabres, like foils, have a maximum authorized weight of 500 grams. Hits with the whole blade or point are valid.


Know the way of the sword, know thyself: a kendo primer | KreedOn
Image Source: The Japan Times

Kendo, a modern Japanese martial art derived from kenjutsu, utilizes ‘shinai’ (a bamboo sword) and ‘bōgu’ (shielding gear). It began as samurai warriors’ typical swordsmanship exercises, but it is now extensively performed in Japan and has expanded to many other countries throughout the world

Kendo practitioners are referred to as kendōka (someone who practices kendo) or kenshi (swordsman). Additionally, the ancient name ‘kendoistsis occasionally used. Techniques are classified as ‘shikake-waza’ and ‘ōji-waza‘. Kendōka practices their skills with a ‘motodachi’ before using them in practice or competition. In the entire process, patience is necessary.

Historical European Martial Arts

Sword Sports | KreedOn
Image Source: Wikipedia

Since the 1980s and 1990s, Historical European martial arts societies have formed in Europe, North America, Australia, and throughout the English-speaking world. A variety of training methods are deployed by these institutions to revive ancient European martial arts. Although the focus is mainly on the martial arts of Medieval and Renaissance masters, 19th and early 20th-century martial arts experts are also examined and their systems are reconfigured.

The Historical European Martial Arts Alliance (HEMAA) is a martial arts federation that is concerned with promoting the study of historical European Martial Arts. As of 2014, the HEMA Alliance represented over 40 separate HEMA groups and numerous individual practitioners. Fencing is a game that blends real combat with wrestling and clashing of swords among players. Various kinds of swords have been utilized for this competition since the 14th century, and sometimes a contestant may use a shield or compete without it.

SCA Combat

SCA Combat | KreedOn
Image Source: welcome.scaorg

SCA armored combat, also known as heavy combat, is a combat sport created by the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) in which those taking part wear shielding body armor and battle in mock fights, individual contests influenced by ancient battle forms, and competition combat as practiced in medieval Europe. Groups can also compete, under supervision, in group battles that may resemble historically accurate fighting, using SCA-certified safe weapons. 

To ensure safety, combats take place under the supervision of marshals. It is classified as a combat sport, a contact sport, or a form of martial art. Participants make use of armor and weapons that comply with SCA standards and guidelines. To increase safety, weapons are made of rattan rather than steel. All-important essential places of the body must be protected by armor. The fighting is a full-speed, near-full-force, full-contact conflict between two or more combatants, similar to medieval combat dueling or melees including up to 2000 people. 

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Laido | KreedOn
Image Source: UCSD Iaido

Iaidō, a Japanese martial style, stresses fast sword drawing and response to surprise strikes. Iaido is made up of four major components: the smooth, controlled actions of drawing the sword from its scabbard (or saya), striking or cutting an opponent, shaking blood from the blade, and returning the sword to the sheath. Most iaido practitioners utilize a blunt-edged sword known as an iaitō or mogitō, while some may begin with a wooden sword (bokken) based on their instructor’s training method. 

Few more experienced iaido practitioners wield a sharp-edged blade (shinken). Iaido practitioners are known as iaidoka. The Katana, often an actual steel Shinto sword, or for beginners, a wooden Bokken, is the principal tool used in Iaido, where practitioners perform a variety of assault patterns and sequences. Scores for unsheathing, striking, blood removal, and sheathing are based on the participant’s movability, accuracy, fluidity, and control. 

International Medieval Combat Federation

International Medieval Combat Federation | KreedOn
Image Source:

The International Medieval Combat Federation is a global archival contact sport combat revival movement in which combatants compete using historically correct replication of medieval and early modern armor and blunted weapons under authentic historical tournament rules. Founded in 2013, the organization presently hosts hundreds of combatants from 26 countries in various fighting competitions across the worldMost events are open to the public, and large competitions are frequently attended by tens of thousands of people. 

The league hosts dozens of minor tournaments throughout the year, as well as a world championship competition in which national teams drawn from local or regional clubs in their respective countries compete at a historically significant venue. These events have the atmosphere of a medieval tournament, with historical sights and exhibitions accompanying the competition, as well as market stalls serving historically styled meals, goods, and souvenirs. 

Battle of the Nations

Weapons and armors used in 'Battle of the Nations' | KreedOn
Image Source: CGTN

The Battle of the Nations is an international historical medieval battles global championship that began in 2009 in Khotyn, Ukraine, and continued to be hosted throughout Europe in April each year until the 2022 competition got canceled. It’s a full-contact competition with metal weapons and a standardized set of rules. National teams compete in a variety of standard events, all of which are full contact. 

According to BN rules, a national squad must include at least 8 and no more than 50 fighters. Any representative from any of the historical medieval battles (HMB) clubs, as well as an individual fighter, who has gone through the standard selection process for a country, can be a member of a national team. There are other battle categories, but they all focus on safety, rigorous adherence to rules, and historical battle accuracy. It needs significant skill and strength because some battles entail wrestling, which places a lot of physical strain on the body.


From the speed and strategy of fencing to the precision and discipline of kendo, there is a sword sport to suit everyone. These 7 contemporary sword sports, which are popular today, can help you maintain good health and mental concentration, irrespective of whether you are a trained sportsperson or you are still learning.

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