Durham Chapter

The Durham chapter of the Society for the Study of Swordsmanship meets weekly in the pub, but before we can do that we have to spend a couple of hours studying swordsmanship in the community centre down the road.

During those hours, we study various forms of swordsmanship dating from the early Renaissance right up to the point where fencing became a purely sporting activity. Our primary areas of interest at the moment are Rapier and Sidesword, Military Sabre and Smallsword.

New members are initially taught English Military Sabre, as this is a very structured fighting style which is easy to pick up. Along with the specifics of the weapon, students also learn skills that carry over to other styles of swordsmanship such as an understanding of measure (distance), lines of attack and timing.

Once students reach a reasonable standard and are safe they can begin to take part in freeplay, which is basically sparring with swords. Fighting with large pieces of steel could be considered a hazardous activity (!) so we do have some fairly strict safety rules and all freeplay is at the discretion of the instructors. Some students do not want to freeplay and prefer to study and practice instead.

We currently have five instructors, each with a slightly different area of expertise. All of our instructors are qualified under the British Federation for Historical Swordplay (BFHS) and some hold other teaching qualifications as well. Our instructors regularly teach at national and even international events and frequently return from tournaments with shiny pieces of metal.

SSS Durham is not a very large group – indeed, some evenings our instructors outnumber the students! Most teaching is done on a small-group or individual basis, with most students free to choose what they want to study any given evening.

New members pay no fees for the first month, after which there is a monthly chapter fee which covers insurance, the club’s venue costs and enables us to buy ‘club kit’ for the use of new members.

Attendants to the classes are required to be over the age of 18.

If you would like to join us, please email us for more information: [email protected]

The Weapons and Fencing Systems

One of the most fascinating aspects of historical fencing is the range of combat systems available. Our group teaches several, but there are some areas that we barely touch upon. Even within our own remit (Early Renaissance to the end … Continue reading
Find out more >>

Questions and Answers

We find that certain questions come up quite frequently. This list attempts to answer some of them ahead of time. I want to know more or join the club…? If you would like to join us, please email us for … Continue reading
Find out more >>

Ranks and Grades

SSS Durham uses a rank system based European tradition. We are not excessively concerned about rank, and do not push anyone into pursuing it. However, it does serve as a useful guide to when the ‘beginner’ stage is over. The … Continue reading
Find out more >>

Equipment, Rules and Etiquette

SSS Durham has few requirements, and most of our rules are aimed at getting to the pub alive after a session. We give our students a great deal of freedom to choose what they want to do, but obviously there … Continue reading
Find out more >>

Comments are closed.