Welcome to SoCal Swords! After co-owning a successful Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) retail business and school for over five years, RJ McKeehan founded his own company in 2021. At SoCal Swords, we provide high-quality, affordable HEMA gear as well as training in the use of historical weapons.
RJ brings more than a decade of HEMA experience to SCS. Since first trying HEMA in a club in college, he has dedicated his career to advancing the martial art across the country. As HEMA continues to evolve, RJ constantly hones his techniques and instruction to reflect the most current understanding of medieval swordplay. He has medaled in tournaments around the world, but his specialties lie in cutting and messer, which he frequently teaches as a guest instructor at national and international classes and events. RJ has also consulted and appeared on shows including “Mythbusters,” “Forged in Fire: Knife or Death,” and “Man at Arms: Art of War,” demonstrating his expertise in teaching and wielding a blade.
With decades of experience handling antique and modern weapons behind SCS, we understand the subtleties that distinguish outstanding weapons for training, fighting, and cutting. We hand-select top products for our store with handling, durability, and quality in mind. We’re excited to open our (virtual) doors with a fantastic lineup:
- BlackFencer synthetic and steel weapons (the best synthetics on the market)
- Ensifer steel swords (the most durable steel swords available)
- Superior Fencing protective gear (padded jackets, gloves, fencing masks, and more to help prevent injuries)
- Ox & Plow unique HEMA apparel (show off your HEMA love to the world)
And if those aren’t enough, don’t worry—we’ll have even more available soon. We actively tailor our offerings to provide new, promising products and to meet customer requests, all at affordable prices.
Our gear evolves with the martial art, too. As an active HEMA school, we’re constantly using and testing our equipment—then bringing our insights directly to our manufacturers to make improvements. You can rest assured that all of our products have been extensively trained with and approved by HEMA instructors and students so we can provide you with the best-quality products possible.
Interested in training with us? SCS offers regular HEMA classes and private lessons in Orange County, California. Whether you've always wanted to pick up a sword, are already medaling in tournaments, or just want a change to your fitness routine, we’re confident you’ll have a great time working with our instructors. All SCS instructors have extensive experience studying, teaching, and competing in HEMA. They include world-class fighters who have represented the U.S. at international events.
We look forward to adding dedicated beginner, advanced, and kids’ classes soon. For now, check out our schedule and sign up for a class:
Schedule: Tuesdays & Thursdays 8:00-10:30 pm; Sundays 2:30-5:00 pm
Location: South Coast Fencing Center, 3518 W. Lake Center Dr. Suite C, Santa Ana, CA 92704
*Note: For the time being, all students and instructors must wear a mask during class if they haven't been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
SCS is dedicated to advancing HEMA while making sword fighting fun. We strive for safety in teaching and sparring and encourage students to expand their skills while participating only in activities where they feel comfortable. We aim to offer a welcoming, inclusive environment where you can enjoy learning about, discussing, and fighting with swords among friends. Whether you buy gear or take a class with us (or both), we can't wait to support you on your HEMA journey!