Sword Fighting Games

sword fighting games - Bullrush

PLEASE NOTE: I AM EXPERIMENTING WITH THIS PAGE IN THE CHINESE SWORDS GUIDE AS I WORK ON A THREE COLUMN TEMPLATE. UNTIL THIS IS CORRECT, THE PAGE WILL BE OUT OF ORDER, ALTHOUGH ALL THE INFORMATION IS STILL HERE. Bullrush is one of the sword fighting games our kids enjoy most. Every country seems to have a version of this popular game, and they all have different names. I've heard it called shallots and onions, and kingie. No doubt there are many other names, and it isn't usually used to teach kids sword fighting techniques. We've adapted it to increase the kids sword skills.

Getting Started

One child is chosen to stand in the middle of a large outside area. He has limited space for movement. We usually mark an area of about two metres width running across the centre of the field. This person has a padded foam sword with which he may try to strike any child that gets within reach.

The rest of the kids line up on one side of the field. There is a home area marked at each end of the field. They do not have swords. This is an adaptation of our Yielding Drill, where a child without a sword tries to avoid being struck by her partner, by moving her body out of the way.

How to Play

We invented many sword fighting games, adapting them from games children already play. This is one of them. You can change the rules to suit your group, or adapt it for a different type of martial art.

The swordsman in the middle calls a child's name. The nominated child must run the gauntlet, avoiding any strikes from the foam sword. If he gets safely to the other side, he calls "Bullrush". This means all the rest of the children run the gauntlet to join him.

Any children struck by the sword have to pick up a foam sword and join the middle. This makes it gradually more difficult to get to the other side untouched. The children in the middle continue to call children by name, or randomly call Bullrush to make things interesting. The winner is the last child to avoid being hit.


  • Nominate specific cuts for the catchers to use.
  • Call all boys, girls, people with white shoes, brown hair, with an "s" in their name.
  • People in the middle can't use the same cut twice.
  • Some or all kids have a sword or shield to deflect.
  • Everyone has to use half steps.

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