So you have in your hands the FDC Glossary. Yes, you will take a written test on the information therein. Especially if you have trouble with written tests, please remember that we want you to pass. The test is based on information that is in the glossary and is covered during the course. During the workshop, be sure to review what you learned in each class and start looking at the glossary wording right away. Grab short opportunities at lunch and quiz each other. Once the workshop begins the definitions for the actions (specific attacks etc) will become more clear. I always found that trying to memorize the definition of an action before I have seen it is rather difficult, and a bit of a waste of my time as I can’t be sure I’m linking the definition to what the action really is, or if what I made up was completely inaccurate.

But what can you do before the workshop to lighten the load?

Start becoming familiar with the weapons and accoutrements. If you are near a museum, check out their collection. Look at your library or bookstore for references. There are several books out there with excellent photos of artifacts and recreations. One is Weapon: A visual history of arms and armor (, And if all else fails, there’s google images.

If you’re lucky enough to be near a stage combat teacher, or at least someone who knows more than you in this field, see if they’ll give you a private lesson so that you can get started. Some might even be happy to be “paid” in a sit-down in a café or pub.

At the very least, start reading through the glossary so that it’s becomes less daunting. If you have a talent for memorizing definitions, definitely do that! You can start to give yourself pop quizes. Quizlet is a fantastic online resource, and if you have a smartphone, you can also use this app.

If you download the glossary appropriate to your level (Basic, Intermediate, Advanced …. remember that you also need to retain the terms from the certification levels you already have) and are using a mobile device, you may also wish to download pdf reader like Goodnotes or one of many free alternative. It allows you bookmark, highlight, make notes, and access it anytime, anywhere on an item you already carry with you constantly.

Finally, please note that the FDC glossary is a living, fluid document. There may be edits at any time, and your specific instructor may have their own additions to the FDC glossary. Oh, on that topic, if you’re in my classes this year (intermediate longsword, advanced sword and shield), be sure to look at the Burning Mountain supplemental glossary.

Start immersing yourself in the knowledge, and revel in the learning!