The British Federation for Historical Swordplay

Club Name
York School of Defence
Geographic Area
York, North Yorkshire
Group Contact
Chris Halpin
BFHS (Instructor and Member)


Our main Western Martial Arts session takes place between 8:00 and 10:00 PM on Tuesday evenings at the Melbourne Centre on Escrick Street near Fishergate, York, YO10 4AW. All are welcome regardless of experience.

The York School of Defence focus on the martial techniques from the high and late middle ages in Europe, from around a rough time period between 1300 and 1500.

Beginners with no previous martial experience are most welcome, we will take you through the fundamentals of unarmed combat and dagger work along with the use of the sword in both one and two hands as a strong foundation upon which to build in the future.

We utilise a variety of training methods including partner drill, solo work, as well as non-cooperative drill and freeplay at varying speeds, both with full protection and with minimal safety 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 Western Martial Arts and take place at various times throughout the year featuring a host of guest instructors.

We also host the Spring Exchange event, a small scale weekend of workshops featuring some of the best instructors from the UK and abroad showcasing their research, talents and martial knowledge.

York School of Defence members have instructed at a variety of events including Kings of the North, Fight Camp, SWASH, the BFHS Autumn and Spring Exchanges, the Noble Science and more. Our tutors and instructors have a variety of eclectic research interests including practical self defence, general martial principles, grappling and unarmed martial arts, sword and buckler, quarterstaff, pollaxe and much more.

Weapons and Systems Taught

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