At about $20 a week, it’s not as expensive as it first sounds (although there is a $150 registration fee), and for me the commute is not a problem (Burlington MA). Attending twice a week means your paying a trained instructor $10 an hour for their time. With a LARP style night on Mondays, and Historic combat training Wednesday/Thursday night there is plenty of reason to want to attend two nights a week. You never have to buy a weapon ever. They provide weapons, from a company called Actionflex, and kickboxing bags to serve as shields. At the permission of the insturctor you may also bring your own shields, mostly all foam are passed (lucky me, as my sheild is entirely constructed of foam).
They also offer classic fencing, and provide everything from rapiers to helmets. Armored combat class looks more like motorcycle riders dismounted, but gets into grappeling, pommel hits, blade grabs, and all the really fun stuff in the ancient medievel fighting texts that you don't get to do otherwise. There are other advanced classes as well for the truely devoted, and even martial arts classes.
I found the huge supply of Sport Sword line of weapons to be good quality, sturdy, and also safe. In my opinion slightly on the whippy side due to a light construction. The weapons are easily felt and heard without too much effort. Both 'lightest touch' and 'solid tap' are possible but most blows end up on the lower end of the scale due to weapon design.
It is something that I would sign up for in a heartbeat if budget were no issue. Even with budget as an issue, it’s more than tempting. As I don’t particularly enjoy “the gym”, this to me is a much better option than paying to run in place while watching television. Sure I don’t get any strength training, but my cardio is all taken care of.
Check them out at www.guardup.com