The British Federation for Historical Swordplay


Put more power into your punch!Jed “Joker” PascoeArea 1 – 10.00 Saturday


It does what it says on the label: a few simple, proven, practical techniques that will give you the edge on time and impact. A padwork-based session, no combat is intended. Be prepared to work out!

Kit Requirements: MMA- style grappling mitts or light training boxing gloves, and focus pads. There will be some kit available on the day, but better to invest in your own. No studs nor hard plastic knuckle-guards, please. Sparring isn’t envisaged for this session, but closed face MMA head guards and gumshields would be mandatory for contact play.
What the hell is transitional rapier doing in England?Mark ThomsonArea 2 – 10.00 Saturday


Further on from a handling session which featured a sword belonging to Oliver Cromwell, Mark has been investigating the period where the Rapier transitioned to the Smallsword. This class includes how it would be used and importantly how it would be used against other contemporary weapons.

Kit Requirements: Mask, jacket, gloves and either (or both) a Rapier or Smallsword
Introduction to English Country BackswordingChris CassellArea 1 – 11.30 Saturday


Take a moment to consider your kit, all that protection that you strap on every time you want to train or spar. The collection of swords and weapons you have for every different occasion. 

Now picture yourself as a medieval peasant without all the options of modern fabrics and the easily access to steel. With a sword that was likely handed down to you by your family and that’s the sword you have. 

How do you practice safely? Without getting killed and without breaking that precious sword that might some day be needed to save your life? 

Enter the sport of English Country Backswording to find out.

Kit Requirements: Mask, glove, and forearm protection
Principles of English Military SwordsmanshipMartin DoughertyArea 2 – 11.30 Saturday


Drawing mainly upon the work of Messrs Taylor and Rowarth, we will present the key principles underlying successful fencing with the military sabre and backsword, and how to adapt them to other weapons including the spadroon and cutlass.

Kit Requirements: Jacket, mask, gloves, (no bare skin), ideally a sabre or backsword
Closes and grips with the BackswordRoss BrownArea 1 – 14.00 Saturday


An introduction to Silver’s six closes and grips and their application during the single sword fight.

Kit Requirements: Mask, single sword, gloves recommended
Fighting techniques of the BuccaneersNate ZettleArea 2 – 14.00 Saturday


In 1683, the only actual recorded duel between two pirate captains would take place. This was not a meeting of skill and finesse but rather a demonstration of strategy and experience. This class will look at this duel, how it was won, and move on to exploring methods which buccaneers would have employed to take merchant ships and fend of navymen. There will be hand to hand and light grappling but no throws.

Kit Requirements: Mask, jacket, gloves and a single handed cutting weapon (e.g. sabre, cutlass)
Enter the Deaf JudgeValerie WiddosonArea 1 – 15.30 Saturday


This class will be looking at the difficulties of judging based on the kit we now wear. The class will help to develop people’s awareness of listening as well as looking during the fights to help determine what has happened.

Kit Requirements: Mask, gloves, jacket, weapon(s) of choice (there will be sparring at the end of class to practice the skills learnt.
Sparring 201Andy KeenArea 2 – 15.30 Saturday


An introduction to the tournament rules that will be used on Sunday afternoon and an opportunity to get some sparring in and test some of the new techniques you’ve learned. Please note: attendees wishing to take part in the tournament on Sunday must attend this session.

Kit Requirements: Mask, gloves, jacket, weapon(s) of choice
Varied treatment of cumbersome weaponsAndy KeenArea 1 – 10.00 Sunday


A brief introduction to Alfred Hutton’s Cold Steel sabre with comparisons to other contemporary sabre methodologies.  Fabulous moustaches will be provided.

Kit Requirements: Mask, single handed sword (preferably a sabre)
English Longsword: A Tactical Exploitation of StylesLee ConleyArea 2 – 10.00 Sunday


The class aims to teach how to identify different longsword styles through the stereotypical traits used by each style, then goes on to teach how to then counter those styles. The class covers English, German and Italian longsword, and how to identify and counter each.

Kit Requirements: Mask, gloves, longsword
No weapon? … No problem!Sue KirkArea 1 – 11.30 Sunday


A session focusing on the unarmed techniques used in Bartitsu, the Victorian Self-Defence System.

Kit Requirements: A Gi or jacket that you don’t mind bring grabbed or pulled on
Parries, Ripostes and ParadesJed “Joker” PascoeArea 2 – 11.30 Sunday


Why stop at a ‘stop’? Turn your wards into killing thrusts and blows- fast, efficient, deadly. From a variety of sources from Swetnam to Roworth, these few simple drills will upgrade your single sword practice to at least the next level.

Kit Requirements: Fencing mask, gloves, steel single-handed sword or suitable waster
Parries and closes with the left handMilo ThurstonArea 1 – 14.00 Sunday


People are attracted to fencing for many reasons, as can be seen from the variety of fencing sports and of styles and weapons within historical fencing. One motivation for many is the desire to fence in a more “combative” manner, with the freedom to attack with vigour, grapple and disarm, throw punches and pommel strikes, or wrestle their opponent to the ground. Others may be more concerned with elegant and controlled bladework, considering grappling, striking and all-out attack to be both ill-mannered and boring, and possibly even of no use against a sufficiently skilled fencer. Those interested in “proper” technique may even consider anything but correct bladework to not be art, though there are various ways the term “art” could be understood.

Encounters in the salle between these two extremes of fencer, which are likely to result in frustration for one or both parties, would seem to be nothing new: Historical texts make reference to “ramblers” and “stabbers” , and discuss various means of dealing with them in various contexts, whilst sometimes acknowledging that such rough tactics need to be understood even by artists, due to their occasional use in a serious encounter with sharps.

This class will discuss various techniques/lack of technique (take your pick), primarily involving grabbing the blade, how to both employ and resist them, where they might be relevant and where not

Kit Requirements: Mask, jacket, gloves and smallsword
QuarterstaffChris CassellArea 2 – 14.00 Sunday


The English martial tradition was all about democratising violence. Everyone carried swords and generally had at least a passing idea how to use them. Of course polearms are superior to swords in so many ways and the fancy people got their fancy poleaxes and billhooks. 

Enter the quarterstaff to bring the power of polearms to the common man, a simple length of wood that brings the most raw form of all the advantages at none of the price, able to thrust and swing with terrifying force and crush bones to splinters with a single blow. 

Come feel how they move in the hand, advantages and disadvantages of a bladeless polearm and how they fit in the English martial tradition.

Kit Requirements: Gloves
ControlMartin DoughertyArea 1 – 15.30 Sunday


This seminar will discuss how to gain control of a fight. Control of space and distance, control of the opponent’s options, even of their mindset. Control of your weapon and your emotions…. Control of all aspects of the fight.

The class will be suitable for most cutting weapons – military sabre, backsword, spadroon and duelling sabre, and could be extended to cutlass or messer.

Kit Requirements: Jacket, mask, gloves, (no bare skin), single sword
TournamentSarah RobertsArea 2 – 15.30 Sunday


A friendly competition. The default weapon system for the competition is single sword but competitors may use another weapon system with the agreement of their opponent and the judges. Please note: competitors must have attended the “Sparring 201” session to familiarise themselves with the tournament rules.

Kit Requirements: Mask, gloves, jacket, weapon(s) of choice

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