Boyscout Quarterstaff | Kit

Kit | New Zealand/UK

A simple staff system for training and development, and getting into mischief. The system was taught to me in the late 80s by my fencing master and is consistent with several of the Victorian and Boyscout manuals.

For a brief outline see:

Requirements: a stick from 6 to 8 feet in length, and the certain desire not to kill a classmate carelessly. There will be no protective equipment in use so as not to give a false sense of security. 

Loaner rattan sticks will be available. 

Time, Distance and the English Longsword | Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner || Sydney, Australia

The earliest English extant sources giving instruction in swordsmanship are handwritten manuscripts dedicated to the two-handed sword. The language used in these three manuscripts is rather startling at first glance. A typical extract from the Harleian Ms., for example, reads;

“…a long cartar stroke smety flat doune by ye bak w a double broky spryng bak ye foete a drawyng & in w a long rake dobil, in wyth ye foete walkyng & on eche foete, ij rakys & at ye alurys ende smyte in iiij rakys doubille born into a step…”

Yet with the help of other sources, particularly the works of George Silver and Joseph Swetnam, these manuscripts can be deciphered enough to provide a clear enough picture of the English school of longsword combat.

This class will focus on the aspects of the system that give it a particularly “English” flavour, in particular the footwork, positioning principles and tactical choices.

Gear: A longsword (ideally a shorter, lighter model), Hand protection, A fencing mask

Swashbuckling | Paul Wagner

Paul Wagner || Sydney, Australia

Swashbuckling: The English Sword and Buckler Fight of George Silver

During the 16th century, the English Buckler underwent a rather dramatic change in design. John Stowe wrote:

“And whereas untill about the twelfe or thirteenth yeere of Queene Elizabeth, the auncient English fight, of Sworde, and Buckler, was only had in use, the Bucklers then beeing but a foote broad, with a pike of 4. or 5. Inches long, then they beganne to make them full half ell broad, with sharp pikes 10. or 12. Inches long, where with they ment eyther to breake the swordes of their enemies, it if hitte uppon the pike, or els sodainely to runne within them and stabbe, and thrust their Buckler with the pike, into the Face, arme, or Body of their adversay;…every haberdasher then sold Bucklers.”

This change in buckler size and shape was necessary to accommodate the basket-hilted backsword, but had a profound effect on the way the buckler was held and wielded. This class will explore the Elizabethan Sword and Buckler fight, from the days of classic “Swashbuckling” when

“all the high streetes, were much annoyed and troubled with hourely frayes, of sword and buckler men, who tooke pleasure in that bragging fight; and although they made great shew of much furie, and fought often. Yet seldome any man hurt….”

Gear: A sword (preferably a basket hilt, but any single sword will do)
A buckler (ideally a concave English buckler, preferably a large 15 inch buckler, but any buckler will do)
A fencing mask


Silver's system for sword in one hand | Nathan Barnett

Nathan Barnett || Lonin and Embassy Arms || Seattle, WA + Port Townsen, WA

George Silver, English gentleman, left us a treatise describing a complete system of sword in one hand for weapons like English backsword and basket-hilted broadsword.  This class provides an introduction to core principle, including Silver's strong opinions on timing, counters, use of the off-hand to grapple, and Italians (particularly their rapier techniques).  Silver's medieval sword offers valuable insight for cut-and-thrust and longsword fencers. 

Gear: Fencing mask and gloves, Vambraces: nice-to-have
We strive to provide swords; should you have a backsword or basket-hilted cut-and-thrust sword, by all means bring it.