For an introductory session, a prospective student needs:

An interest in learning the Art.

Recommended: a long sleeve T-shirt and some form of lightweight, flat-soled footwear with either leather or hardened rubber soles.

Really, that’s all. We have equipment to let beginners try the feel. If it turns out to be something you like and Forteza seems to be a comfortable fit for you, then you can think about a Scholar’s equipment.


All Scholars should have:

FOOTWEAR: some form of lightweight, flat-soled footwear with either leather or hardened rubber soles. While an historical shoe is always the most desirable, many alternatives exist such as: black-laced kung-fu boots, martial arts training shoes, wrestling shoes or moccasins. Heavy boots, soft-soled shoes, basketball shoes or sandals are not acceptable. Note: Footwork is an important fighting attribute and when training medieval fighting arts, wearing modern footwear, specifically with developed heels and thick or high-traction soles, may not only distort or prevent correct footwork, but it can also place undue strain on the knee or ankle.

TROUSERS: black sweats, track pants or leggings. Historical alternatives (chausses and braies, slops/knickers and long socks) are welcome. Blue jeans, dress pants, shorts and the like are expressly not acceptable.

LONG SLEEVED T-SHIRT: A clean, solid-colored tee-shirt, preferably free of distracting designs. Forteza T-Shirts are available. Although not required at class, students are expected to have them for demonstrations and public events.

Recommended: Gloves, preferably padded.

For regular study involving structured or loose play, a Scholar should have:

Safety Gear:

HEAD PROTECTION: A 12kg, or better, three-weapon fencing mask (such as Absolute Force’s HEMA mask with back of head cover) OR superior, approved headgear such as the “Tindill Tophat” or Windrose Armoury WMA Helmet.

GORGET: The gorget must cover the entire neck, hollow of the throat and the first two thoracic vertebrae. Although some elements may be padding, hardened leather, steel or a splinted/brigadine construction is needed for the front of the throat.

GROIN PROTECTION: Gender appropriate protection is required for men when fencing, and strongly recommended for women.

CHEST PROTECTION: Adequate padding or a fencing chest guard is required for women when engaged in free-play. Solid protection (such as a solid fencing plastron) is recommended for all scholars using longswords or heavier weapons.

HAND PROTECTION: Gloves, preferably padded. Until more appropriate hand protection is readily available/acquired, students can use lacrosse or street-hockey gloves for the freeplay. Ice-hockey gloves are specifically discouraged as they notably impede hand flexibility and sensitivity. Absolute force has recently released a sparring glove that looks useful.

Weapon Simulators

A scholar should own weapons simulator(s) appropriate to the course of study.

For armizare students, this means a dagger and a longsword for basic studies.

Simulators come in a variety of materials. All have benefits and drawbacks.

Wooden Wasters (dagger, sword, or longsword) are an economical and historical entry weapon. Wood behaves differently than steel so using wooden wasters distorts technique a bit.
Steel Weapons must be blunted and rebated and of flexible steel (Ie. not stainless). Several sword models are acceptable but, for daggers, only a “Flexi-Rondel” such as Darkwood Armoury produces is acceptable. Please consult with an instructor before purchasing.
Synthetic Sword Simulator (Longsword students) This form of “waster” is usable for trainign and free-play. While safer than wood, it is not historical.



Dagger Fencing

1. Fencing mask
2. Leather gloves
3. Gorget
4. Athletic cup suggested for men
5. Steel flexi-daggers with a Safeflex or CAS-Hanwei blade. If a canvas jacket or gambeson is not being worn, dagger must have a rubber arrow blunt affixed. Additional control should be used when thrusting with the dagger.

** When using daggers against heavier weapon systems, the armour rules of the heavier weapon apply.

Synthetic and Wooden Waster Fencing

1. Helmet (12-kilogram three-weapon/sabre fencing mask or better). Head protection must cover the back of the head.
2. Gorget
3. Armoured gauntlets, padded mail gloves, lacrosse or street-hockey gloves. The hand and wrist must be covered.
4. A canvas jacket is acceptable but heavier protection is recommended. For women, additional padding for the chest, a modern fencing chest guard or equivalent is required.
5. Athletic cup for men. Additional protection for women is strongly suggested.
6. Heavy kneepads and additional padding over the elbow.

** Extreme care must be exercised when thrusting with wooden wasters.

Steel Fencing

1. Minimum 16 g, padded steel helm or a reinforced fencing mask that provides protection to the back of the head. The latter is to be worn over a well-padded arming cap.
2. Gorget that provides protection for the collarbones.
3. Steel gauntlets that cover both hands and wrists.
4. Well-padded gambeson or fencing doublet
5. Athletic cup for men
6. Fencing chest guard or equivalent required for women (heavily-padded gambeson equals “equivalent”).
7. Steel or hardened leather elbow protection is required.
8. Kneepads are required, but steel or hardened leather knee protection is suggested.
9. Leather forearm protection is strongly recommended.


All scholars will keep their equipment in proper condition. This means clean and free from defects. Any weaknesses in the equipment will be corrected or the equipment will not be used.

You should regularly check your weapon for defects.

Wooden wasters: Any splinters should be sanded down 100 or 120 grit sandpaper and then smoothed over with 220 grit paper until sufficiently smooth. Then oil should be applied to the affected area. Any cracks through the wood can result in breakage during usage and cause injury. Disposal of weapon is therefore necessary when cracks appear.

Metal Weapons: Oiling and or polishing may be necessary to prevent oxidation. Any sharp edges points and burrs will be removed by filing until sufficiently smooth. If any cracks or otherwise un-repairable damage is suffered to the item, the item will no longer be used.


Please consult with an instructor about the suitability of any item for your training program. Our recomendations of commercial products are only guidelines. We do not give endorsements nor can we certify the safety of any product.


Dick’s Sporting Goods: wrestling shoes

Dru Shoemaker: custom and off-the-rack hand-made turnshoes and boots

Revival Clothing: turnshoes and similar footwear


Revival Clothing: wrestling jackets and gambesons


Darkwood Armory: unpadded gloves

Revival Clothing: padded and unpadded gloves

Absolute Force: Hema fighter gloves

Masks and Helmets

Terry Tindall: WMA Masks aka “Tindall Tophats”

Windrose Armory: WMA/HEMA helms

Zen Warrior Armorys: fencing masks

Absolute Force: Hema helmet (heavy fencing mask) with back of head protector

Other Armor

Absolute Force: forearm and shin protectors, elbow guards for light sparring, plastic chest guards

Darkwood Armory: brigandine gorgets

more Information to come


Albion Arms: high-end steel trainers

Arms and Armor: high-end steel trainers

Darkwood Armory: Hanwei-bladed steel training daggers and customized training swords

Purpleheart Armory: wooden sword and dagger wasters; also synthetic swords (type III longsword preferred)

Therion Arms: Paul Chen/Hanwei practical swords

Cult of Athena: various training weapons

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