Q. What is the difference between Historical Fencing and Sports Fencing?
Historical fencing is a true martial art and the primary aim is to replicate the techniques and methods of the swordsmen and martial artists of past centuries as accurately as possible. Ultimately, the focus of historical fencing is to enable the fencer to survive a combative situation using real weapons in an uncontrolled environment.

Sports (or modern) fencing is a true sport and the primary aim is to score points against the opponent. Ultimately, the focus of sports fencing is to enable the fencer to win a competition in a controlled environment.
Q. What is the difference between Historical Fencing and European Martial Arts?
There is a significant overlap between these two martial disciplines; however, in general Historical Fencing is limited to the practice of swordsmanship using the sharp-edged weapons that were prevalent throughout the western hemisphere until the end of the 19th century. The European Martial Arts encompass all european weapons forms, including sharp, blunt and unarmed techniques. The Macdonald Academy teaches and practices both disciplines and offers instruction in an exceptionally wide range of weapons forms.
Q. Is Historical Fencing dangerous?
As with all contact sports minor injuries may be sustained; however,the Academy takes the safety of its students extremely seriously. Weapons are blunted so that they have no sharp edges or points. Basic protective clothing is required, which includes fencing masks (FIE level), fencing jackets and gloves. Additional protection, especially for the wrists and elbows, is recommended for more advanced students.

Safety is further assured by the close supervision and control provided by the instructors and is encapsulated in the Rules of the Salle (class etiquette). Before they are permitted to participate in free fencing assaults, all students must pass an assessment to demonstrate that they have attained a minimum level of expertise and control. A minimum of six months training is required to qualify for the free fencing assessment; however some students may take longer.

The priority is always the safety of the fencers and their opponents.
Q. Is Historical Fencing choreographed?
With the exception of some group training exercises, historical fencing is entirely un-rehearsed and un-choreographed. Academy students are taught to read the intention of their opponents and to respond appropriately.
Q. What is Free Fencing?
Free Fencing is an un-choreographed "duel" between a fencer and one or more opponents. In a free fencing assault, the participants must bring all of their training and skill to bear in an encounter that revives the living tradition of past duels and battles. The aim is not to score points, but rather to employ the arts of Defence and Attack in realistic combat.