Historical swordplay has a rich history and vast number of followers, not only in Czech Republic, but also in the whole of Europe. Swordplay was formerly used to defeat an opponent, today it's purely for entertainment of members of swordsmanship societies and the audience. So what about it is so enticing and attractive? The magic and romance of past ages, the beauty and rarity of ancient weapons, excitement of combat, surely you would find a lot of other reasons, why has historical swordplay experienced such a boom and is still entertaining people all over Europe no matter the age or gender.
The birth of historical swordplay is closely related to the birth of stage swordplay and approximately the year 1960 can be considered the beginning of this kind of art or entertainment in our country. At that time, a combat demonstration was held in front of the Military museum in Prague in order to get the audience more interested in presented weapons, and that was the spark that eventually caused the foundation of the first historical swordplay group, not only in our country, but probably in the whole Europe, bearing the name "Musketeers and Bandits". Czechoslovakia can be therefore considered a pioneer of this kind of art in Europe and that is why our associations in particular are among the most respected and valued. Czech historical swordplay groups are regularly attending events in Italy, Austria, or France, and are widely popular. The number grew from few original groups to hundreds of various associations which are currently devoted to historical swordsmanship in our country alone. These associations are divided to two groups, amateur and professional.
If you are not exactly a fan of various weapons, it doesn't mean that a performance of historical and stage swordplay societies doesn't have anything to get you interested. Nowadays, this kind of art is accompanied by other performances – fire or fakir shows, tricksters, acrobats, potters, demonstration of historical crafts, jugglers…
However, if we mean historical swordplay in and of itself, and not its current form, which of course differs from the original old-time swordplay in many ways, we have to look for its origin in some other place, other than Czech Republic. The foundations of European swordsmanship emerged primarily in ancient Rome and Greece, from where it spread further to Europe and initiated a change of weaponry and swordplay styles. This way, various swordplay schools emerged soon after, from which the Spanish, French, German, and Italian ones, were the most important. Each of these then promoted its own style and preferred different weapons and fighting techniques.