The 19th Century U.S. Army Dragoon Saber Training Program is presented in partnership with Academia Duellatoria. This training course, which debuted in the summer of 2017, focuses on the saber techniques used by the soldiers of the U.S. Army Dragoons, who arrived at Vancouver Barracks in 1855, and is based on techniques also used by the British Royal Navy.
Saber training is similar to many other martial arts; it requires the development of physical discipline and mental control. This training program is a great opportunity to learn about the history of the military at Fort Vancouver while also learning some of the skills that the soldiers would have relied upon.
Within the program, three training levels are offered:
All training sessions also provide background history of the U.S. Army at Fort Vancouver and Vancouver Barracks, and its interrelationships with the peoples of the Pacific Northwest.
Training sabers are provided. The training sabers have dull edges and blunt tips.
Participants who successfully complete the Basic 1 training course will have the opportunity to volunteer at living history events and programs at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.
Who can participate?This program is designed for participants ages 12 and up.
CostsThe 7 week training course costs $100 per person. The training fee is payable to Academia Duellatoria by check or PayPal. Fees must be paid before the training sessions begin. No payments will be accepted at the training sessions. Enrollment in the training is not guaranteed until your payment is received.
Fall 2021 ProgramIn 1855, troopers with the US Army's 1st Regiment of Dragoons arrived at Fort Vancouver. At that time, dragoons (mounted infantry) were the only enlisted-rank soldiers that were issued sabers as part of their personal weaponry. This training course will focus on the saber techniques adopted by the US Army at that time. There will be reenactment opportunities for trainees during events at the park.
The training course is seven weeks, on Sundays, October 17 through November 28, 2021. Courses take place in Vancouver Barracks' Building 410, located on East 5th Street northwest of the fort stockade.
Participants in the fall 2021 program must wear face masks. Participants will be asked to maintain a six foot physical distance during training. The training location features large overhead "garage" style doors, which will remain open during the training sessions to provide for extra ventilation. Participants must dress appropriately for colder weather.
Contact & RegistrationFor more information, or to sign up, please contact Jeff Richardson of Academia Duellatoria at (503) 888-9310 or by email.
Last updated: September 8, 2021