About Us - The Society for the Study of Swordsmanship

About Us

The Society for the Study of Swordsmanship


We teach 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
  • Backsword
  • Smallsword
  • Cutlass

You can read more about these weapons here.

Introduction to Historical Fencing


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.

Our Instructors


We currently have several 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 have vast experience of competing in fencing and other martial arts tournaments.

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.

Join Us


Our classes are usually are every Wednesday, from 7:30 pm to 9:30 pm but currently, we are closed due to the COVID-19 situation. If you would like to know when we’re back, please contact us.

You can find us at the Penshaw Community Association, in Penshaw, just off the A19.