Duke University Historic Sword Club


About Us

Hundreds of years ago western martial arts began losing its sword traditions and knowledge in trade for gunpowder based weapons. In resent years there has been a growing attempt to bring back that lost knowledge. This club is part of that effort, with a focus on La Verdadera Destreza, "The true art". Destreza is a powerful sword fighting technique used in the Renaissance era for both street fighting and battlefield combat. Using Aristotelian physics, the system was built from the ground up to maximize reach, protection, and ability of the user. Heavily geometry and logic focused, Destreza took the lessons learned from hundreds of years of nobility duels, tavern brawls, and battlefield melees and combined them into a complete system. The completeness of this system allowed it to be applied to rapier, rapier and dagger, great sword, shield, flail, and many other weapons common at the time period.

This club has experienced sword fighters that will take both the novice and experienced alike through this unique set of knowledge. With discussions, practice, and bouts we will be learning what is already known about Destreza and help expand the sword community's understanding of it. This is not modern sword fighting. Grappling is included among the many genuinely martial techniques used to survive the fields of combat in the 16th and 17th centuries. Safety will be paramount, and equipment will be provided to newcomers during club meetings. We are a very welcoming and nerdy group so regardless of whether you have ever picked up a sword or not join us for a fun journey through history with and a lot of good exercise!









Why Join?

Gain the confidence that comes from the knowledge that if you were ever forced back in time, you could defend yourself.

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Meeting new students with shared interest

Our Team

Christopher Keys Profile

Christopher Keys

Primary Contact
Elizabeth Keys Profile

Elizabeth Keys



Duke University Historic Sword Club

Durham NC 27708
United States