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. SoCal Swords provides 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. RJ continuously 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 are 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, SCS instructors understand the subtleties that distinguish outstanding weapons for training, fighting, and cutting. We hand-select top products for the SCS store with handling, durability, and ___ in mind. We’re excited to offer a fantastic lineup for the store opening (with even more to come):
- 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)
As an active HEMA school, we’re constantly using and testing our gear—then bringing our insights directly to our manufacturers to make improvements. We actively tailor our offerings to meet customer requests and to provide the best-quality HEMA products at affordable prices.
SCS also offers regular HEMA classes and private lessons in Orange County, California. Whether you've always wanted to pick up a sword or already medal in tournaments, we’re confident you’ll have a great time working with our expert instructors and experienced fighters. 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!