At SoCal Swords (SCS), we’re a group of people who love history, swords, gaming of all sorts, and having fun. While these things bring us together, we all come from diverse backgrounds. Everyone learns better in a safe, respectful, and inclusive environment regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age, size, ability, neurodiversity, or religion (creed).  

All Students are to adhere to this Code of Conduct when applicable. Consequences range from a verbal reminder to a permanent ban from SCS and any SCS-hosted events. If you are removed from class or expelled, you will not receive a refund.   


  1. Inclusion:
    1. In short, make others feel comfortable and welcome.
    2. Discriminatory language or conduct will not be tolerated. This includes, but is not limited to, racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, and ableist remarks. 
    3. Refer to others using only the names and pronouns they tell you. If you can’t remember, ask. If you want to call someone by a nickname, make sure they are okay with it being used publicly.
  2. Safety:
    1. In short, value the safety of others as well as your own.
    2. If we discover you have severe incidents with other groups (HEMA, other martial arts, events, etc.) and could be a threat to the safety of SCS instructors, students, and/or visitors, you will be banned from SCS and other SCS-hosted events.
    3. Sexual harassment will not be tolerated. Sexual harassment includes, but is not limited to:
      1. seeking sexual attention with implicit or explicit threats or rewards;
      2. pressure to engage in sexual activity, whether subtle or direct; 
      3. leering at or making comments about a person’s body or appearance;
      4. sexual jokes or offensive sexual language; 
      5. displaying pictures or objects that have any gender depicted as sexual objects;
      6. unwelcome physical contact;
      7. unwanted electronic communications through social media, text messaging, etc., especially that of a sexual nature; and
      8. other verbal, visual, or physical conduct of a sexual nature, or directed at a person because of that person’s gender.
    4. Any other kinds of harassment or abuse will not be tolerated. For example:
      1. Retaliation against any individual for either filing an incident report or for assisting with the investigation of an incident report will be seen as harassment.
    5. Do not intentionally injure a student or instructor. If you purposely disregard the safety of those around you, you will be banned from SCS and any SCS-hosted events.
      1. More on Sparring Safety here: SCS Sparring Safety
    6. Appearance and Hygiene: 
      1. Wear closed-toe shoes and comfortable clothing that allows you to move. 
      2. Remove any jewelry, watches, or other similar items, as either the items or you may be damaged if they are left on during drills or sparring.
      3. If you are grappling without gloves, make sure your fingernails are trimmed to prevent injury to your opponent.
  3. Respect:
    1. In short, be mindful of instructors and other students and their boundaries.. 
    2. Be a good student. Pay attention when the instructor is talking to the class. If you need to have a separate discussion or take a phone call, do it outside so as not to be a distraction to others.
    3. Be a good training partner. Often, drills require pairing up with other students. Pay attention to both sides of the drill, as you will usually be required to switch roles.
    4. Don’t touch others without consent. If a drill calls for minor touching or grappling, the instructor will let you know. 
    5. Don’t excessively pressure others to participate or ask them for an explanation. We all have reasons for stepping out of a drill or taking a break. 
    6. When asked to give criticism, try to be as constructive and understanding as possible. There’s no reason to embarrass someone when they’re doing the best they can at the time.
  4. SCFC and other facilities: Respect and Safety
    1. SoCal Swords currently rents the facilities we use, so take care of the property and report any damage to an SCS instructor immediately.
    2. Be careful of damaging the training floor tiles. Do not push or rest sword tips on the floor and do not drop or throw heavy equipment on the floor if they may cause damage.
    3. All personal items and gear must be stored as close to the wall as possible or outside of the training floor. Do not leave items out where someone can step or trip on them.
    4. Place any garbage in the appropriate receptacle or take it with you.

NON-SCS EVENTS (Tournaments, Classes, Seminars, etc.)
If you attend a HEMA or other martial-arts event as a representative of SCS, you will be expected to follow all of the above as well as the rules of that event. The HEMA community is a small world and your conduct reflects on SCS. 

Sometimes we go out for a bite to eat after class, get together for a social event, or even chat on the SCS Discord Server (link provided to all members). Everyone should still be mindful of their conduct in order to ensure the comfort of everyone, including any visitors who may have been invited. 

No one is obligated to add others to their social media accounts. If someone declines an invite, please respect that and do not bother them about it. As stated above, the HEMA community is small; if you represent yourself on social media as a member of SCS, your conduct will reflect on us. We don’t want to limit social media choices, but please be mindful how your conduct can affect others.

Incidents regarding harassment and abuse are handled by our internal review committee. Current members are:
RJ McKeehan (owner/head instructor)
Rachel Van Dyke (assistant instructor)

Please report any incidents you witness either in person, via private message, or using the Incident Report Form (Google Form) which allows for anonymous reporting.

Post-Reporting Process: The review committee will follow the pre-determined SCS policies, and if the incident falls outside of those policies, they will determine appropriate action. 
This Code of Conduct is subject to change at any time. If a significant change is made, all current students will be notified and prompted to sign a new agreement. All signed documents are processed through our member portal.
Last Updated: October 21, 2021