By: Christopher Mines
Most teachers would get fired for hitting their students but there is one class where students pay to be hit with swords while wearing medieval armour.
Once a week medieval sword handling expert Bill Fedun teaches students how to parry, strike, takedown an opponent, basic shield tactics and how to use different forms of armour.
This general elective course offers students a glimpse into the past by offering accessible medieval sword handling workshops for students. Fedun teaches his students many forms of stick fighting and how to assemble chain armour.
Fedun and associate instructor Jeff Greenwood use several synthetic European broad swords and Japanese katana’s. “We don’t want anyone to lose an eye,” said Greenwood. Greenwood is a graduate of Algonquin’s print media program and has worked with Fedun for over five years.
The goal is to encourage students to take things in big bites and to become more passionate individuals said Fedun. Students exercise and become more confident in their everyday lives
The class is “meant to be honourable,” said Fedun. “I don’t want my sword fighting to be a poser.”
Fedun has taught this course for over 10 years and he emphasizes “How to be chivalrous and not an expert in sword handling,” said Fedun. “Some people lack respect and courtesy which makes them fearful.”
Fearful people overreact and look for places to hide. Fedun believes this leads to violence but if people learn the right symbol than they do not have to be afraid.
“The sword is a way better symbol than a weapon,” said Fedun. “It is a symbol of warrior ethos.” “If you are honourable and courteous then what the hell is there to be afraid of?”
Fedun served in the military and holds a black belt in Kenjutsu, which refers to the ethics and honour that comes with sword handling. “It means the gentleman’s way,” said Fedun.
Algonquin graduate Jason Russet has taken several courses with Fedun and keeps coming back. “It is pure fitness,” said Russet. “I love medieval arts and they use armour.”
Fedun said that Algonquin obviously likes his teaching style because “It fill seats and strikes a chord of humour and courtesy.”