EUGENE, Ore. - Sword-to-sword Italian combat from 600 years ago is not only a force to be reckoned with - it's an art.
"We don't walk around carrying swords, for the most part," said Sean Hayes, mastro of Northwest Fencing Academy in Eugene. "They did, so there are some differences."
Hayes has studied the art of European medieval sword fencing for over 15 years.
"The idea to be able to pick up a sword, engage in a sword fight, hear and feel the clash of blades and be able to insert yourself is, I think, very appealing to people," said Hayes. "I mean where do you get to go and do sword fighting? Especially sword fighting with large two-handed swords!"
"When we're practicing with these tools, these weapons, you get a real sense of movement and flow with it," said Hayes. "It has a real sense of power behind it."
Katie Boer and Adam Grunseth from KVAL News worked with Hayes and his students for an installment of the Extreme Katie series.
Just in order to train, she'll need a chest protector, training jacket, belt, fencing mask and hockey gloves.
The gloves help prevent injuries, although these swords won't cut off your fingers because the two-edged sword is blunt.
The nearly 3-foot long sword are the type commonly used around the year 1400 in Europe.
The sword, which only weighs about 3 pounds, isn't heavy, but drawing the sword from it's scabbard is another matter.
Once drawn, the sword and body form a series of defensive postures and other poses.
"It starts with core elements of how you hold your body," said Hayes. "We're very concerned with mechanics of the body and how it moves. Maintain a low balanced, centered position with the body, widespread feet and smooth easy relaxed movements of the feet."
Stepping up to spar with an opponent takes the experience to another level: seeing a sword coming at you makes you want to get out of the way.
The sport becomes all about tactics and technique. Just a moment of hesitation and in real life of 600 years ago you'd be missing an arm or a leg - or both.
"If you're too concerned with what you're doing, you can't see the other person," said Hayes, "You're too focused on your own moves."