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The Okanagan Combat Guild (OCG) is a Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) school. The important separation is that we are not a larping group and we are not a branch of the Society for Creative Anachronism. HEMA is the study of Historical Texts and Manuals written by historical figures whose livings were based around the martial arts of their day and age. The time frame for these texts range from the 1300s through the early 1900s from across Europe, mostly in Germany and Italy. The OCG focuses on one said text originally published in 1570. The name of this book is ‘The Art of Combat’ by Joachim Meyer.
Our focus is breathing life back into this intricate martial art. On the surface the best way to describe us is ‘Fighting as they actually did with swords’, but it is so much more than this. Students will learn how to coordinate their bodies, develop fine motor skills, preserve joints through safe practices and body mechanics, and yes, how to swing a sword. Our focus is the weapons found in Meyer’s System that include longsword, dussack, rapier, dagger, grappling, wrestling, and polearms including staff, pike, and halberd.
We like to foster a family-like environment where everyone is accepted and everyone helps support each other. Unlike some schools that demand a high level of time and dedication in and outside class time, we understand that people have busy lives. Any Martial Art requires countless hours of training to become competent and we leave it up to the individual to dedicate as much time as they would like.
The OCG also does not like to support the mindset that everyone is a winner (ie. participation trophies) because the simple fact is that life doesn’t work that way, and by extension, martial arts. There will always be someone more skilled than you, but that also means there will always be someone less skilled than you. The OCG would rather teach our students how to deal with adversity whether it be in life or martial arts. You can’t ignore your problems and hope they go away, and you can’t expect to win without putting in the effort.
With that being said, each lesson taught is aimed at being a workout for the mind, body, and a little bit of an insight into our history. We accept those who come just for the fun of it, and those who come seeking to escalate themselves to a better version of themselves. If you took the time to read this, we thank you and hope we’ve earned your trust and interest in The Okanagan Combat Guild! See you in class!