The Ancient Sport of Longsword Fighting in the Modern World (Video)

You won't hurt yourself by engaging in this sword-fighting sport – as long as you know how to be en garde.

Welcome back to an ancient sport that is the stuff of knights and fiefdoms, samurai and assassins, empires and warfare! Wielding a steel longsword is no longer deemed a public safety threat, as long as you are a competitor in historical European martial arts (HEMA). This combat sport is experiencing a rejuvenation, with its very own elite competition known as Longpoint.

If you're not going to love it just for the sensational value (pointy sticks!), then at least admire the coordination, shrewd strategy, speed, and agility that this sport demands. As women's steel longsword champion Kiana Shurkin says, "[S]ize difference shouldn't really matter. It should be about skill and … being able to deal with any kind of situation or opponent."

The sport of HEMA was reconstructed by historical enthusiasts mining in the past for clues, proving that sport always has an intrinsic geeky side. In a way, it is like fencing in that a fighter's objective is to land a blow on the opponent within set time frames, and he is awarded points based on the quality and type of hit. It takes mental and physical stamina to stay in the game, and quick reflexes and feet to excel. These are all athletic traits anyone would love to have.