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How longsword fighting is forging popularity in Kahnawà:ke

Tekaientó:ton Deer (right) sparring with his dad Brennen Deer during a beginner longsword fencing class in Kahnawà:ke. (Ka’nhehsí:io Deer/CBC - image credit)

In Kahnawà:ke, where lacrosse and hockey reign, longsword fencing isn’t the first sport to come to mind but Iokennoron McComber hopes it gives new energy to the Kanien’kehá:ka (Mohawk) traditional warrior spirit.

“It’s an outlet. It’s for mental health. It’s camaraderie, and… it’s what Mohawks are made for,” said McComber.

“We didn’t win the War of 1812 with our beadwork and moccasins, you know?”

Unlike the long, thin weapons in Olympic fencing, longswords are two-handed, double-edged weapons. McComber brought Ardimento, a historical European martial arts academy, to Kahnawà:ke, south of Montreal, in 2021 after trying out the sport in a neighbouring city.

Iokennoron McComber brought Adrimento, a historical European martial arts academy, to Kahnawà:ke, south of Montreal, in 2021.

Iokennoron McComber brought Adrimento, a historical European martial arts academy, to Kahnawà:ke, south of Montreal, in 2021. (Ka’nhehsí:io Deer/CBC)

“I’m 43; I’ve loved swords since I was three,” he said.

Learning the basics

The club gathers at a school gym three times a week to practice sparring but it also partnered with a local organization to offer free classes throughout the month of June at a park to community members interested in learning to duel.

“Mainly the attraction of this for me is I am a massive nerd at heart,” said Nicholas Cross, a paramedic student at John Abbot College, and one of the participants.

Nicholas Cross (left) is a paramedic student at John Abbot College and former national champion of judo. He joined the class from his interest in martial arts.

Nicholas Cross (left) is a paramedic student at John Abbot College and former national champion of judo. He joined the class from his interest in martial arts. (Ka’nhehsí:io Deer/CBC)

“I love anything fantasy, RPG, and I love martial arts so why not merge the two and have a little bit of fun with it?”

The five-week course introduces beginners to the basic strikes, guards, and forms of combat of 16th century German fencing and 15th century Italian grappling.

At 14 years old, Tekaientó:ton Deer is one of the youngest in the class. He signed up with his dad.

Tekaientó:ton Deer, 14, is one of the youngest community members taking the class.

Tekaientó:ton Deer, 14, is one of the youngest community members taking the class. (Ka’nhehsí:io Deer/CBC)

“I like how it exists,” said Deer about the class.

“I didn’t think something like this would, to be completely honest, but it does and I’m very happy about that.”

Tiohné:kote Swamp is one of the intermediate-skilled members of the club. He said it’s been a joy to share his sword-fighting skills with beginners like Cross and Deer.

“I see a lot of the young people and community members that are here, and I see a lot of talent that they have,” said Swamp.

Tiohné:kote Swamp has been a member of the club for the last two years.

Tiohné:kote Swamp has been a member of the club for the last two years. (Ka’nhehsí:io Deer/CBC)

For Swamp, the drive to keep up with the sport isn’t just about getting to play with weapons.

“The discipline and the knowledge about your own body is an invaluable aspect that everyone should know about themselves,” he said.

“When you pick up a martial art like this, you learn a lot more about yourself and it’s important to me.”

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Credit belongs to : ca.news.yahoo.com

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