Home | Events | SwordFest - June 11&12, 2005

SwordFest '05

What is SwordFest?
A gathering of martial artists that study the edged weapons of various cultures.

Why does it exist?
Many reasons. One is to provide a positive, nonjudgmental forum to share with others what you have worked so long and hard for.

Why is it free?
Money corrupts things. There aren't too many things that are free in life, anymore. This is one of those very special things.

Why won't you pay me to come?
If we had money, we'd probably share it with you. We don't have any, though. Sorry.

Where am I going to stay?
Area hotels are fairly reasonable. Here are a couple of suggestions (ordered by distance from the park):

Is there a place where I can camp?
Yes. Here are a couple within a 10 to 13 mile radius (ordered by distance from the park):

Where is SwordFest being held?
Burke Park, Malvern, Pennsylvania, 19355.

How do I get there?
Try Yahoo Maps for driving directions. Burke Park does not actually have an address. There is a coffee shop directly across the street, named Beanie's Cafe. Their address is 22 South Warren Avenue.

What if I fly in?
You will need to rent a car and drive to Malvern. It takes about 45 minutes from the Philadelphia Airport.

Can I take the train in?
Yes. Check out SEPTA. The Malvern train station is a block from Burke Park.

Who is the organizer of SwordFest? Who came up with the idea?
Kelly Knight of The Martial Arts & Fitness Center.

What time on Saturday and Sunday?
Saturday will be from 11:00am till 5:00. Sunday will be 11:00 till approximately 4:00pm. Ending times are approximate because, if we're still having fun, we'll keep going!

Can I come just one day? What if I have to leave early or arrive late?
That is absolutely no problem! Just let us know your schedule, if you're participating.

What happens on Saturday night?
Everybody goes out to dinner together.

Do I have to go to dinner? If so, do I have to pay or will somebody pick up the bill?
No, you don't have to go to dinner. But, you'll miss some of the more lively conversations and miss a chance to find out more about some really interesting people. We will probably go where we did last year, to an inexpensive local Chinese buffet. They can sit large groups of people without reservations. And, yes, you'll have to pay for your own dinner. It's around $15 and all you can eat!

I'm afraid that since I'm new at studying edged weapons or belong to a very exclusive martial arts, if I come to an event like SwordFest, I'll get really confused and forget everything I've already learned.
It is highly unlikely, unless you hit your head on something really solid. But, it's your choice. You're probably right, you shouldn't come.

Do I have to participate if I come?
No. You can just hang out. Or, you could change your mind at the last minute.

So, is this a demonstration, embu, tournament or what?
It is mostly a demonstration. On Sunday, if anybody is willing to give a "mini class", that's what happens. Last year, we got some really superb folks to do just that and it was a tremendous time had by all.

How is the order of things established?
The event is free-flowing. The order of participants is decided by who committed to come, their travel plans and general agreement. Since most folks come for the entire time, it's rarely an issue.

What if it rains?
We will move inside to The Martial Arts & Fitness Center. See Yahoo Maps for the location. It is approximately 10 minutes' walk from Burke Park. You can call The Martial Arts & Fitness Center at any time, but we will not be responsible for notifying everyone. It just isn't possible with participants spread out over several hotels.

I've only just begun studying edged weapons. Should I participate or just watch?
You should do both. If you've just started, you should make that clear when you demonstrate. That way it will clear up any confusion that might occur. Still, you are more than welcome to participate!

I've been studying edged weapons for <insert number> years. What should I expect?
You will end up answering a lot of different questions about your art from sincere and respectful fellow martial artists. Oh, and it will be a lot of fun.

What should I bring?
Yourself and the equipment you need. You might want to bring along something to drink and something to eat, too. And sunblock. We will mostly be under the lovely Burke Park gazebo, but we use the entire park, especially for the large weapon demonstrations and tameshigiri/test cutting. At the last SwordFest, everyone had such a great time, we forgot to break for lunch!

What sort of surfaces will we be on?
We put down foam pads (over concrete) under the gazebo and the rest of the park is very grassy. We can move the foam pads out into the park, too, if need be.

Will we be under cover?
When we are under the large gazebo.

What is the liability?
If you injure yourself, we will do everything we can to get you medical attention. Paoli Hospital is just a mile or two away. You will sign a waiver of liability. Otherwise, you will not participate. The Martial Arts & Fitness Center, the Borough of Malvern, nor any related parties are responsible for your liability.

I have some really cool weapons/videos/books/stuff I think everybody would be interested in buying. Can I sell stuff?
Sure! Let us know if you need a table.

I'd like to promote my <insert business> at SwordFest. Can I?
Yes, if it is related to what we are doing and isn't of an offensive nature.

How many SwordFests have there been?
One - in 2004. This will be the second.

I noticed that SwordFest 2004 had a lot of Japanese arts...
Yes and we love them. We'd also like to see more edged weapon martial arts from other cultures represented this year. If you know somebody that fits that description, please tell them about it and send them the link to this page.

I have an ego the size of Texas. I'm worried it won't fit in the tiny town of Malvern.
You're right, it probably wouldn't fit. You shouldn't come.

Who demonstrated last year (listed are the instructors, who were also joined by many of their students)?

Paul Manogue - Edo Yagyu Shinkage Ryu Heihou
Sara Gellhorn - Chinese Broadsword
David Goldberg - Muso Shinden Ryu Iaido
Erich Dehaven - Chinese Weapons
David Drawdy - Nakamura-Ryu Batto-Do
Jim Mc Coy - Mugai Ryu
Raymond Sosnowski - Atarashi Naginatado/ZenKenRen Iai/Kyudo
Fran Vall - Tendo Ryu Naginatajutsu/Atarashi Naginatado
Keith Badyna - Saboten Ryu

How will I know who is coming this year?
An updated list will be kept online at Sword Forum, in the "Japanese Swordsmanship Arts" section. Search for "SwordFest 2005 - Malvern". Or, email us.

I want to come and although I'm an experienced edged weapons martial artist, I don't want to participate. I just want to come observe/hang out with my friends/meet somebody I've talked to online but never met in person.
That's just fine!

I don't study edged weapons, but I'm a martial artist.
You are welcome to come observe and participate, but we are focusing on edged weapons.

By "edged weapons", what are you talking about?
Sword, knife, spear, halberd, tomahawk... weapons that have an sharp edge or pointy end. And, yes, stick fighting is included.

What do you mean, "various cultures".
Since most cultures have native martial arts, many of them include edged weapon martial arts. So, we're talking about China, the Philippines, Japan, India, Italy, Native Americans, Colonial American, etc.

Will there be restroom facilities and an enclosed area where I can change into my uniform at the park?
Yes, unlike last year, there will be a place to change and the Borough of Malvern is thoughtfully providing us with a portable restroom.

I see that <insert name> is coming to SwordFest. I don't really agree with them/had a problem with them in the past/have heard bad things about them.
SwordFest is not an exclusive event. Everyone is included. The organizer of SwordFest also believes that everyone deserves a second chance and life is short. If you don't like somebody who will be present at SwordFest, it won't be hard to ignore them. It's a big event in a big park. Who knows, though, you might even sway them to your way of thinking - communication is an amazing thing...

What is the agenda of SwordFest?
To provide a location, a place and a time to bring edged weapons martial artists together to share and acknowledge the many hours of dedication and hard work they have devoted to their chosen martial arts. Also, to give the general public an opportunity to see something other than what they see in the media.

Is this a promotional event for The Martial Arts & Fitness Center?
No.

Do I have to RSVP?
To just observe, no. If you are interested in participating, yes. We'd like to keep everybody up to date on who's coming and try to figure out an order of the day on Saturday.

I have more questions!
No problem! Contact us.

I want to RSVP!
We're looking forward to seeing you! Contact us.