Training for battle

sorry if this is a bit off topic, but this is the only place i know of to ask these sorts of questions.

i have no experience with larp fighting or armed combat in general, can anyone tell me where i might learn more about fighting so that i dont show up to the next event impotently flailing my staff, rod and buckler around? preferably youtube videos but all advice is welcome.

Firstly, where do you live? there are a smattering of groups around that practice larp fighting at varying levels of regularity?

i would prefer generalized advice like ‘find a Hema group or reenactment society’ (are those ideas as useful as i think?)

They can be, but reenactment and such, have different safety requirements.

Look at things like your local Universities, they might have a larp society or you could look for small linear larps like fools and heroes or such and join those being honest about your inexperience.

As @Ricohard has mentioned professional combat is very different and while it will give you much help it will also hinder you! As someone who comes from a fencing background as well as other combat experiences I know how hard it is to adopt a new way of working as large parts of the actual point of contact are where the real challenges lie. You can learn the basics of movement and footwork but aside from that it will cause some frustration as it goes against everything else you have been taught. Personally I would either find a LARP near you and learn from them or wait till you get to the event, most nations do battle skills and training IC.

Indeed. Your best bets are either to find a local LARP group (give us a location and we’ll probably have members from there on these forums) or to turn up early at the events and get some practice in.

Most groups/nations will happily set to for a spot of tuition/practise/sparring. If you need extra room, come to Dawn, we have a sparring ring (“The Glory Square”) for just this sort of thing :slight_smile:

Bear in mind there’s a wide spectrum of what is known as “hard skills” (how skilled you are at LARP fighting, as opposed to what’s on your character sheet).

There are folks who ONLY do larp-fighting at Empire, at not much of that. There are those who do LARP on a weekly basis and are well practised. And there are those skilled fencers and HEMA fighters able to adapt their skills and experience, coupled with extensive LARP fighting techniques, to become very good at it.

It’s a big spectrum. Whatever you do, you’ll be better than some, and worse than others.


More than happy to help in the field training, even if not dawnish come over and say hi :slight_smile:

wouldnt i need a bit more experience and training than just the day before/of?

You don’t NEED the fighting experience. As long as you don’t do anything stupid like running off alone, you’re unlikely to die in the battle. And usually when you die without doing anything dumb, enough people die that it’s a slaughter.

Fighting safely is the important thing; being able to tap rather than hit is the biggie (hence why training in real swortfighting can sometimes be a hindrance).

Fighting well is a whole other ball game.

A lot of it is situational awareness and that’s difficult to teach. Being part of a large group facing an even larger number of orcs is one if those things that needs to be experienced (it’s pretty darn cool).

I recall a similar discussion on this sort of thing a year or so back:
“What are the best things to take onto the battlefield to ensure my survival?”
“Good cardio and half-a-dozen friends.”

If you can stay alert and standing, able to run when you need to, for a couple of hours… it helps.

If you have a few friends to buddy up with, and watch your back, then that really helps.

Do you have any thoughts about what nation/group you’d like to join?


Genuinely dont worry about how good you are at swinging a sword, advancing and axe, holding a halberd, brandishing a bow, chopping with a cleaver, sheltering with a shield ect ect ect.
If you want to learn before hand all the power to you and the suggestions above of trying HEMA or a local larp are great ideas.
The most important part of LARP fighting is to do it safely. That’s all. Learn to pull your blows enough that you don’t leave bruising and the person in full plate knows they have been hit ect. No stabbing. Be controlled not flailing, in big battles skill kinda go’s out the window and it boils down to discipline and a calm head. One person wont win the battle with strength of arms, but with a calm measured head.

Please be familiar with this page:
as it details the safety brief.
Take a look about on here for other details but it mostly boils down to stick together and dont back down.
3 things you'd tell new players about battles and skirmishes


If you live near Oxford, send me a message and I’ll be very happy to go play softcombat with you :).

I can second that first bit - I’ve been going to a HEMA class and since I’d done much more of that than LARP fighting in the time between events, when it came to the battle (I think it was E2?), my Longsword training kicked in and I hit someone hard enough that it damaged the outer layer of my sword - it still has a scuff on it. I felt horrible as soon as I realised, but since they were in chain, my sword probably came off worse than they did.
(To the person who suffered that, though I’m fairly certain that you’d not know it was me, or maybe even not remember, I am so, so sorry!)

Doing that once, though, and realising, made me incredibly aware of pulling my blows.


Yeah, pulling your blows can be tricky. When the adrenalins up and you’re fighting hard and you have to hit that guy in plate so hard and that guy in cloth much lighter…

I’m still not very good at it, and try to compensate with light weapons…

i was going to go urizen alone and join a group IC, whoever gave me the best offer

In that case there are a few threads on here about finding groups to join.

would you mind linking them?

Hooooo boy…

Mostly they can be found on the New Players section…

Actually a lot of that is generic advice…

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I am going to differ from most commenters so far and say Go and Train with Whatever SCA/Hema/re-enactment/weapon form Martial art is available to you, or even just a form of unarmed combat.

It is all useful. the Fundamentals of combat do not change. Control, Footwork, Distance, Timing, Intent and Sound Body mechanics will carry over from one discipline to the next.

Find a local group that practices one per week, and go.