Forteza Fitness

From the Blog

Registration Open for MidWinter Armizare Swordplay Tournament (28 – 29 Jan 2023)

Registration is live!

In conjunction with the Midwest Historical Fencing League and Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts the Midwinter Armizare Open is a public display of skill with one and two-handed swords in a relatively rules-light format meant to emphasize the tactical priorities of fighting with sharp weapons in lethal combat.

This year’s event returns to our home studio…only we will be debuting the Forteza “Rookery” — a 3000 sf additional space upstairs. No more cramming into a single studio space — four lists running at all times!


  • Longsword
  • One-handed Sword (rapier, sidesword, dussack/messer),
  • Sword and Companion (Buckler, Rotella or Dagger)

(Complete rules for the tournament.)


Saturday, 28 Jan and Sunday 29 Jan 2023

Location: Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts 4437 N. Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640



9:30 – Sign In

11:00 – Introduction: Rules and Demo

11:30 – Longsword

02:30 – Break

03:00 – Single Sword Tournament

06:30 – After Event Party


10:00 – Sign In

11:00 – Sword & Companion Tournament 01:30 – Break

02:00 – MidWinter King Finals Tournament.

3:30 After Event Reception

If signing up for 2 events, we will follow-up to confirm which events you are fighting in.


You MUST be vaccinated and boosted to attend, with a current vaccination within the last six months of the tournament.

Register Now!

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Join us for special Valentine!

Love is an adventure

Together you can become swashbuckling Knights of Hearts this Valentine’s Day!

Reserve a private 90 minute swordplay session for two, for just $120.
You’ll spend the first hour learning how to wield a sword and defend yourself, and the last 30 minutes playing games with each other, and practicing what you’ve learned. (After all, the quickest way to someone’s heart is with a sword.)

Make it a double date for $185!

Safety equipment and swords included and cleaned after each session. 

You can reserve your session at under the Events category, or give us a call at (773) 271-3988. 

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New city COVID Mandates Begin Jan 3!

We hope everyone has had a safe and merry holiday! With the new year rapidly approaching, we want to give everyone an update on our Covid-19 policies. 

Due to the new city Public Health Order No. 2021-2, in order to help stop the spread of Covid-19, all indoor gyms and fitness studios must verify that all patrons and staff are fully vaccinated against Covid-19. This means, effective Monday, January 3rd, 2022, all Forteza Fitness staff, students, and other patrons over the age of 5yrs old are required to provide the studio with proof of full Covid-19 vaccination. This vaccination requirement extends to all parents, guardians, and siblings who will be in the studio for any extended period of time

As some of you are aware, Forteza has had this policy in place for our staff and the students in our adult program since July. We had also started extending this policy to our teens who were participating in our adult classes. You will not need to bring proof of vaccination every time you come to class, just once will be fine! We have been and will continue to keep track of vaccination status via the same system we use to keep track of memberships and attendances. 

You can email us a copy of your vaccination cards to, or show either the physical card or digital copies to Katherine at the front desk the next time you come to class.

In addition, there is also a facial mask mandate still in place for the city of Chicago. Until that mandate is withdrawn, masks must continue to be worn by all persons in the building 

Thank you for your continued cooperation in these strange and unprecedented times. We will continue to follow city guidelines and mandates, and continue to do our best to keep all of our students and staff as safe as possible. 

More information on the new city orders and mandates can be found here. If you have any questions or concerns about our Covid-19 vaccination policy, feel free to contact us at

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KnightCamp 2021: Tales of Robin Hood ~ And YOU!


Session I: July 12 to July 23
Session II: July 26 – August 6

Teen Session: Aug 9 – Aug 20


To an authentic “knight school” for youth (ages 8 – 12) where medieval martial arts and chivalric virtues are taught in an engaging and safe environment by trained instructors. Camps take place at our beautiful 5,000 square foot facility in Chicago’s Ravenswood art district. We are within one block of the Brown Line and Montrose Ave exit for the Metra.


Our unique, two-week camp combines physical fitness training and swordplay and authentic medieval games, lessons on heraldry, arms and armour and medieval life. This year our theme is “The Legend of Robin Hood” and will add archery and quarterstaff to the mix!

Campers will design their heraldry, paint a shield and have that and their own sword to keep!

Underlying all of those activities is a daily lesson on the knightly Code of Chivalry and how the virtues it espouses — Prowess, Courage, Humility, Courtesy, Largesse (Generosity), Mercy and Temperance (Balance) — are relevant to living life today!

Daily Schedule

An introduction of one of the seven chivalric virtues and how the students can apply them in their lives today.

9:30 – 10:00 AM: WARM-UPs & EXERCISE
A unique physical fitness warm-up, taught through games played by medieval children centuries ago!

10:00 – 10:30 AM: SWORDPLAY
Students learn a variety of the martial skills that the knights of old had to know: sword & shield, two-handed sword, and quarterstaff.


NOON – 12:30 PM: LUNCH

12:30 – 1:30 PM: MEDIEVAL LIFE
A daily topic on one aspect Medieval life, accompanied with show and tell or some sort of hands-on project or medieval game.

1:30 -3:000 PM: SWORDPLAY, PART II
A second martial arts lesson, building on the first, combined with controlled sparring (using padded weapons and protective equipment).

3:00 – 3:30 PM: THE LESSON
Students review the day’s lesson, explain what they learned and nominate one of their number for who best exemplified that day’s virtue.

Before & After Care

To make things easier for parents, we offer before and after care services starting at 8:30am each morning and from 3:30 to 5:00pm each day. Kids are welcome to work on activities provided during the camp, play games we have on site, or bring their own activities from home. Although time is largely self-directed, there is full adult supervision, and we’ll make sure that after each day of camp, there is much to keep their minds occupied as there is their bodies!

COVID Preparedness

Everyone’s safety as the pandemic winds down is our first concern. We are devising the camp to combine outdoor and indoor activities, with masks and extensive cleaning protocols. We are happy to share our COVID Preparedness document with parents and answer any questions.

A key part of keeping camp safe is keeping it to small groups (no more than a dozen), so registration is limited.

Spaces are limited, so choose the options that work best for you and JOIN NOW!


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Hate Pushups? Let’s make this October change that forever!

October Training Challenge:
Do 100 Push Ups in 1 week 

You have 4 weeks to get there. We have a plan to get you there!

Each week is it’s own mini-challenge, building up to big strength gains by month’s end.  We Start Monday, October 5th.

Ready? Of course you are! Let’s do this!

Step 1) Commit to a few minutes a day for your health, and join the FREE PUSH UP TRACKER to watch yourself progress.
(Want to be anonymous? Make up a fun nickname.)

Step 2) Monday Night PUSH UP CLINICS will happen during FightingFit! Class at 6:30 PM. We’ll show you variants to challenge any fitness level, and coach your form.   

Worried about your wrists? We have options.
Think you’re too buff for this challenge? We’ll show you more difficult pushups to try.

Step 3) Might as well come to weekday classes to get in your reps 😉.  All our fitness classes will provide an opportunity for that day’s pushups, as well as coaching.

Miss a class? Then pushups are simply homework.

Special Facebook Frame

Excited about what you’re gonna accomplish? Use our special Facebook Frame around your profile picture in October.  Get it HERE.

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Forteza’s Pro-Shop is expanding online!

Historical martial arts are a great deal of fun, but they are also equipment intensive, with a sometimes dizzying array of items to choose from! Fortunately, we’ve developed an on-site and on-line Pro-shop for students. From fencing masks to swords, instructional manuals to exciting, Forteza bling, we’ve got you covered!

Of course, the pandemic has meant that all of the various items in our shop have been gathering dust for most of the year. But now, you can order online with our partners at Historica, who carry our items in the new HEMAWear department of their online store. We will be providing an expanding range of product categories to help you speed up your shopping on our own Store page.

Historica is still setting up the store items, but they are open for business and ready to hook you up, so stop by!

This online store will also be the official pro-shop for the new Swordplay Online project, which many of instructors are involved in, and which launches next month! Even better, we have been working with Historica/Revival Clothing to develop some new, historically-inspired but modern HEMA-focused designs that will hopefully be debuting over the end of the year, watch this space for more!

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Forteza Online is Here!

Classes start Monday, May 4th

COVID shutdown continues. More than ever, we need to practice self-care, and find new and interesting ways to connect with the places and people that matter.

We’ve spent the last month learning about at-home programming, and while we might not be able to bring you back to “The Fort” right now, we can bring the Fort — and the Forteza Family — back to you! 

The expanded, online programming replicates our two most popular programs: Swordplay and Fitness! And if you can’t decide, try both!

If you already have an active Forteza Fitness membership: 

You’ll be granted immediate access to the equivalent online classes. If your membership elapsed, or you are a distance learner, you can get one of our online memberships!

Online Memberships include:

  • Live Classes with instructor interaction
  • Class Recordings, so you can go back and review.
  • An ever-growing library of short Technique Videos
  • Guided Training Videos – workouts and drills you can turn on at your leisure
  • And where applicable, Homework Critiques and Review

To join class, all you need is a smartphone, or a computer with a web camera!

And as special gift to everyone during the ongoing stay-at-home order: SwordFit and Bowie Knife and Martial Blade Concepts classes will still be available to the public after May 4th!

Forteza Online is something we have talked about and brainstormed on and off for the last couple of years, and while the pandemic forced our hand to finally move forward, it won’t be going away once we reopen our doors. Programming will expand to include more beginner’s/distance learning, growing technique libraries and more. Although this wasn’t how we planned on setting out on this road, we look forward to taking the journey with you.

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Feeling Sluggish Locked Inside? Try Forteza On-Line!

Since we are all stuck at home “Flattening the Curve”, Forteza has been working hard at getting classes on-line. This is new for us, but we are ready to offer you some training and exercise opportunities!

There are several ways we are providing training:

Free, Open-Access Training Videos

Short, 2 – 5 minute solo drills and training advice on everything from fitness to martial arts, posted on the Forteza and Chicago Swordplay Guild Facebook pages. 

Public On-Line FightingFit! and SwordFit! Classes

On-line classes will be run by an instructor, so you can follow along at home. Classes are using ZOOM! Click this link 10 minutes before class starts to join the web-meeting.Public classes are announced on the Forteza Facebook page, with log-in info. Here’s a roster of classes!


SpartanFit! – 10:00 AM 


FightingFit! Combat Yoga – 6:30 AM 

FightingFit – 6:30 PM


FightingFit! Flex – 7:00 AM 

Swordfit! Sprint – 6:00 PM

FightingFit! – 6:30 PM


FightingFit! Combat Yoga – 6:30 AM 

FightingFit! – 6:30 PM


FightingFit! Flex – 7:00 AM 

FightingFit! – 6:30 PM

SwordFit! Sprint – 7:30 PM

There is no charge for these classes, though instructors will have a PayPal “tip jar” available.)

Public Martial Arts Classes

We are also making a growing number of martial arts classes available to the public, especially those that neither require a lot of gear (for out knife classes, you could use a spoon, if you had too!) or experience to practice. Why not join us?


Bowie and Knife – 8:00 PM


Martial Blade Concepts – 3:00 PM

There is no charge for these classes, though instructors will have a PayPal “tip jar” available.)

Private, Member’s Only Martial Arts Classes

We have a series of weekly swordplay classes and lectures, just for current members! These are using ZOOM! and members will be emailed a full schedule and logon information. Keep checking your email and social media for details!

None of this is the spring we envisioned when 2020 began, but it is the spring life has dealt us. All we can do is see it through with the most flexibility, determination, compassion and good humor we can. Take care of yourselves and your loved ones, and let us provide you with a little distraction and sense of community during these trying times.

Best Wishes,

Your Forteza Family.

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Forteza Featured on ABC7..Twice!

Our recent feature on LOCALish …pitching us somewhere between Medieval CrossFit and FightClub. I guess that’s about right.

On a somewhat…er…lighter note…ABC invite us back to attempt to teach a little swordplay to Ryan Chiaverini and Val Warner. Take-away — Ryan got a luck shot, but Val plays for keeps…

It was great fun and thanks to the folks at ABC 7 for letting us show off what we do not once, but twice!

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