Schola Gladiatoria is an historical
European martial arts and fencing group, established in 2001 and led by
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What are we?
We are martial
artists, practicing traditional European armed and unarmed fighting skills (HEMA).
We train in modern
clothes and use modern safety equipment.
We practice fighting skills for our
personal development, not to put on displays or
entertain the public.
Some of us enter and do well in martial arts competitions.
Our fighting systems
are historical, but can have many modern world benefits, such as self defence,
physical confidence and
Our systems easily
measure up against modern and non-European arts (and can compete against
social, welcoming and
3 classes: SG1 West London, SG6 Bradford and SG9 Manchester.
SG1 in Ealing, West
London, on Tuesday evenings,
under Matt Easton is the HQ of Schola Gladiatoria. Matt has been teaching
HEMA for over a decade and has taught and competed at events across Europe.
SG1 classes focus on two main subjects, with occasional sessions on
Medieval longsword fencing (two-handed sword), according to Fiore dei Liberi
Victorian British military sabre fencing, according to John Musgrave Waite (c.1865-1884)
teaching ethos is to give students a very strong foundation in fencing and fighting
principles, so that they can use any weapon to best effect. We focus on these
core universal principles, rather than getting caught up on one particular
are divided into a basic/beginner first part mainly consisting of drilling
(7.45pm-9pm) and a second part for more advanced students (9pm-9.45pm) with
SG6 in Shipley, Bradford, West Yorkshire, on Wednesday evenings,
under Colin Fieldhouse, assisted by Greg Richardson, concentrates on:
to various German sources in the Liechtenauer lineage (c.1380-1550)
Georgian military sabre according to John Taylor (c.1798-1830)
according to Le Jeu de la Hache (c.1470)
also messer (big knife), sword & buckler
Classes consist of a mixture of drilling
firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
SG9 in Marple,
Manchester, on Tuesday evenings, under Paul
Bennett, concentrates on longsword according
to various German sources in the Liechtenauer lineage (c.1380-1550), messer (big knife)
and sword & buckler.
email@example.com for details.
Equipment is provided for beginners at
all our classes, there is no annual membership or joining fee, and most classes
are around £7 per person per session. All you need to bring to your first
class are some comfortable clothes (a pair of leather gloves can be useful, but
not at all essential). To check specifics drop us an email. We
always welcome beginners at any time of year and always have a number of new
people in the class, so you won't be alone! All ages (over 18) and levels of
fitness are welcome. We welcome all genders, nationalities and ethnicities and
are signed up to the 'Fighters Against Racism' initiative. Couples and groups are also welcome.
What is HEMA?
Many people are surprised
to learn that Europe has complex martial arts systems like those found in Asia
and elsewhere. Historical European
martial arts (HEMA), also known as western martial arts (WMA), are the study and
practice of Europe's indigenous hand-to-hand combat systems. Historical
fencing refers to a subset of HEMA, where the use of swords and longer weapons
These systems were used
with great effect across the world by Europeans for hundreds of years. These are
the arts that sometimes laid Japanese samurai low (eg. Portugese swordsmen in
the 16thC) and defeated Turkish and Indian swordsmen (eg. Austrian swordsmen in
the 16thC and British swordsmen in the 19thC respectively). In fact there are
many parallels between Western and Eastern arts and anybody who has done Aikido,
Jujitsu or Kenjutsu will find many similarities in technique. Similarly, people
who have done modern sport fencing will find similarities.
Some of the European arts
are continuous living traditions, whilst most have died as continuously-taught lineages
(some evolved into sports, like modern boxing or modern fencing). Luckily, many of the
old masters thought to write detailed and complex books about their fighting
arts, and some of these have survived (we have hundreds of such combat books
dating from 1300AD onwards). We use these detailed books and our experience as
martial artists/fencers, with pressure-testing, to breath life back into the old
arts. The end result are martial arts systems that can stand
up against any other.
HEMA has already gained the notice of Asian martial arts,
the sport fencing community, modern mixed martial artists and military hand-to-hand instructors, and is currently
growing faster and faster, attracting a wider range of students, of all age
groups and both sexes, than ever before.
HEMA brings a lot to the
world of martial arts and offers students a very broad range of weapons and styles
that have distinct regional differences, from Portugese staff, to Spanish
rapier, to French smallsword, to German longsword, to Scottish backsword, to
English pugilism. These arts were practiced by some of the greatest Empires that
history has seen.
Is Schola Gladiatoria good at it?
Schola Gladiatoria has one
of the best competition track records of any UK group, across a range of weapons. Against opponents from across Europe and beyond,
our members have previously won:
2005 - Glorianna Cup
2005 - BFHS Sir Robert
Salle Challenge (Longsword)
2007 - BFHS Sir Robert
Salle Challenge (Longsword)
2007 - FightCamp
2008 - HEMAC Dijon
Open Tournament (Longsword)
2008 - International
Open Championship Apelern (Sword & Buckler)
2009 - FightCamp
Assault at Arms (Sabre/Backsword)
2011 - BFHS SWASH
2012 - HEMAC Dijon
2012 - FightCamp
Eggleton Cup (Mixed Medieval Sidearms)
2013 - FightCamp Waite
Challenge (Steel Military Sabre)
We have also consistently ranked highly
in these and other competitions, such as at the Dreynevent in Vienna and Swordfish in Gothenburg.
As a member of Schola
Gladiatoria you don't have to compete and even sparring is completely optional,
but if you want to compete then we'll help you become the best you can be.
We are well known for producing skilful fighters.
Who are the students?
We have members from many
varied training backgrounds, all ages, various nationalities, ethnicities and both sexes.
People come to us from
Asian martial arts, modern sport fencing, re-enactment and so on, and most
people come into historical European martial arts with no previous related
training at all.
Fitness is not a barrier
to taking part - if you want to get fitter then we'll help and it won't be as
boring as going to the gym!
People from all
backgrounds are welcome in Schola Gladiatoria.
Is it social?
As much as you want it to
be. We generally go for a drink after training, but of course this is not
compulsory. We have occasional day trips to museums and suchlike for those who
are interested, and HEMA events are great fun even after the training has
finished for the day! Schola is known as a very social club, and we have
good friends spread throughout the UK and across Europe, America, South Africa,
New Zealand and Australia.
Can you study other weapons and styles?
We provide a foundation
of martial principles for our students, who if they wish are then welcome to
branch out and study different weapon forms and sources. There are fighting
treatises surviving from 1300 to the modern day, so a HEMA practitioner can
study anything from medieval dagger fighting to renaissance rapier fencing to
Victorian bayonet practice or Edwardian walking stick self-defence. A
large proportion of the known fighting manuals are now freely available on the
internet (see our
Online Treatise Database).
Who else is doing HEMA?
European martial arts have grown in popularity considerably in the last decade,
Gladiatoria enjoys friendly and co-operative
relations with groups in the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Austria,
Poland, Norway, Sweden, USA, Canada, Australia and elsewhere.
Schola members were a founding
HEMAC in 2000
and in 2006 joined the
Since 2001 we have
been actively involved in presenting at, teaching at and organising national and
international martial arts events. Attendance of these events is totally optional for members, as is frequency of
training, though we find that once a member goes to a big event they generally
want to go to the next one!
If you want to find a
group closer to you then have a look at our links page, or the groups listed on
the HEMAC and BFHS websites.