News Release

Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and Academia Duellatoria Offer 19th Century Dragoon Saber Training Course

Model 1840 Cavalry Saber "Old Wrist-Breaker" with metal scabbard. This sword is 44 inches long with a 35 inch blade and weighs approximately 2.5 pounds.
1840 Cavalry Saber

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News Release Date: December 21, 2017

Contact: Elaine Dorset, 360-816-6254

Contact: Jeff Richardson, 503-888-9310

The National Park Service is pleased to announce the return of the 19th Century Dragoon Saber Training Program, 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. Two courses will be offered this winter: Basic 1, which is designed for someone new to saber training, and Basic 2, a continuation of the skills learned in Basic 1. Both classes will cover techniques as well as the history of the U.S. Army at Vancouver Barracks.
Saber training is similar to many other martial arts; it requires the development of physical discipline and mental control. Basic 1 begins with footwork and progresses through solo and partner drills, including offensive cuts and thrusts and defensive guards and parries. Basic 2 will consist of additional solo and partner drills and will focus on perfecting technique. Training sabers are provided for both classes. The training sabers have dull edges and blunt tips.

“This course is a great opportunity to learn about the history of the military at Vancouver Barracks while also learning some of the skills that the soldiers who lived here would have known,” said Elaine Dorset, National Park Service Archaeologist. “It’s an immersive and fun way to discover the past.”

Participants who successfully complete both the Basic 1 and Basic 2 training courses will have the opportunity to volunteer at living history events and programs at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site.

The course 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. For more information or to sign up, please contact Jeff Richardson of Academia Duellatoria at 503-888-9310 or by

What: 19th Century Dragoon Saber Training Program
Where: Pearson Air Museum Historic Hangar, 1115 E 5th Street, Vancouver, WA 98661
When: Basic 1 course takes place Sundays, 3 pm - 4:30 pm, from January 21, 2018 through March 4, 2018.
When: Basic 2 course takes place Sundays, 5 pm - 6:30 pm from January 21, 2018 through March 4, 2018.
Cost: $100 per person for 7 week training course. Ages 12 and up. Training sabers and eye protection will be provided.

Last updated: December 21, 2017

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