Western martial arts attacting interest in the US

The martial arts of western Europe are gaining popularity in the United States. Practices and conferences where participants wield swords, pikes and daggers, and quote from medieval and renaissance sources, are cropping up all over. Elizabeth Weise of USA Today has the story.

Weise writes:

Welcome to a Western martial arts conference. Not a cowboy or lariat in sight. Western in this case is Western European, as opposed to the better-known Asian variety.

These are the arts of warfare and self-defense of medieval and renaissance Europe. Also called historical martial arts, they employ bare hands, pikes, a variety of swords, daggers and rapiers in the way that practitioners of Eastern martial arts might use bo staves, Katana swords and Tanto knives. Unlike in the East, these fighting traditions died out in Europe in the 1600s with the introduction of gunpowder-fueled weapons. But now they're making a comeback.