The British Federation for Historical Swordplay

West Devon Swords

West Devon Swords was established in 2014 by Robin Catling and Vicki Pritchard.

We are part of the British Federation for Historical Swordplay (BFHS).

What we do

In the tradition of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), we study and apply techniques from historical manuals. The class is generally no more demanding than a moderate physical exercise class; size, strength or agility are not limiting factors for our beginners’ class. Free practice may become more intensive at the mutual agreement of the players.

Please note this is the study of historical combat techniques, it is NOT re-enactment, stage combat, LARP or other role-playing. Please see our post ‘What is HEMA’ for further information. Safe training and sparring is our primary concern. See our post: HEMA – is it safe?

Light protective equipment (fencing jackets, masks, gloves, chest protectors and arm-guards) will be provided for use in class.

For further information on historical swordplay, please go to:

Training Time and Location

Thursdays 8-9.30pm
Okehampton Baptist Church
Ages 16yrs+
Equipment provided for beginners
£6 per session
Contact: Robin Catling 07956 409818 or

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The York School of Defence train on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at the Melbourne Centre on Escrick Street near Fishergate, York, YO10 4AW. We offer a number of different areas of focus from historical swordplay to wrestling to boxing to staff fighting and more. Beginners with no previous martial experience are most welcome!

We utilise a variety of training methods including partner drill, solo work, as well as non-cooperative drill and sparring at varying speeds, with various different levels of protective equipment in order to realistically capture the movements and feel of actual combat.

The York School of Defence is home to the Art That Adorns You series of workshops. These focus on the more esoteric, unusual and less studied aspects of martial arts and take place at various times throughout the year featuring a host of guest instructors. best instructors from the UK and abroad showcasing their research, talents and martial knowledge.

York School of Defence coaches have taught at workshops, events and seminars around the UK and Europe.

We are a study group working on the 16th Century manuscripts of Joachim Meÿer as part of the Meyer Frei Fechter Guild. In 1570, Meÿer published a work entitled Gründtliche Beschreibung der Kunst des Fechtens (“A Thorough Description of the Art of Combat”) illustrated by Tobias Stimmer.

It is this that we are studying among his other works. We train Longsword at the moment.

We are a newly formed School studying Western Martial Arts in Lincoln, on a Friday evening between 7:30 – 9:00pm.

We are studying techniques using Tomahawk and Long Knife, but we also run sessions on the use of the Longsword.

The Wessex School of Arms specialises in the historical martial arts of England with a particular focus on the works of George Silver (covering backsword, quarterstaff, sword and dagger, sword and buckler, two hand sword and dagger fighting) and on applying the techniques of Classical Pugilism to modern day self-defence. We currently run classes in Avebury, Bath and Marlborough and welcome new students of all backgrounds and abilities.

The Tudor Rose School of Defence studies and practices what its Chief Instructor, John Hodgson, terms as Elizabethan sidesword.

Students are coached in the use of a weapon which evolved from the mediaeval side and arming sword and was designed for use on the battlefield; in duels of honour and as civilian self defence.

Source materials studied are:

  • Camillo Agrippa – Treatise on the Science of Defence 1553
  • Giacomo Di Grassi – True Arte of Defence 1570
  • Vincento Saviolo – His Practice 1595
  • George Silver – Brief Instructions circa 1604

The Stork’s Beak School of Historical Swordplay is based in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The School is based on teaching, practice and research going back some 12 years. We currently offer regular courses of instruction in Longsword, Dussack, Two-Handed sword and the Great Stick or Bastone. We use steel replicas of historical weapons and teach systems, principles and techniques drawn from texts on the subject of fencing written between the fifteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Stork’s Beak School of Historical Swordplay

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