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FightCamp is run by Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatoria (www.swordfightlondon.com) a renowned Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) group based in London. Join us on Facebook.

FightCamp has been running since 2004 and has grown from a small informal gathering at an historical site between a handful of groups to one of the largest international HEMA events in the world. In 2010 we moved to a commercial site in the Midlands especially developed for such events. The event now attracts over 20 instructors from Europe and the USA and up to 200 students from across Europe and beyond.

FightCamp is a three day event providing classes, competitions, trading and the opportunity for free exchange of European martial arts and related subjects. Classes cover subjects such as medieval knightly combat - using weapons like longswords, daggers and pollaxes - through to renaissance rapier duelling, Baroque smallsword techniques, Georgian pugilism, Victorian bayonet practice and wrestling, and even modern self-protection and fitness classes.

Unlike most other major HEMA events, FightCamp is almost entirely held outdoors (though we do have one indoor training hall, a marquee and a covered social area and bar), with most attendees camping on site. This creates a unique 'festival' feel to the event and gives us more freedom than other HEMA events to have things like a permanent sparring arena, melee games, trade demonstrations (eg. bladesmithing), traders and catering on site. There is no running backwards and forwards between different venues and restaurants as at other events. Having camping on site also gives a more communal feel to the event and ultimately allows us to keep the costs down for the students, making FightCamp the most cost-effective major HEMA event you can attend in the Western hemisphere now (and yet also one of the biggest and most well-known!).

Despite the cost being lower than other HEMA events we keep the quality high, with leading instructors from the best known schools giving top notch instruction. Our tournaments also attract some of the best fighters and we get some of the leading HEMA traders in attendance (for example Albion Europe, Peter Regenyei and The Knight Shop).

The programme provides full activities for three days, starting on Friday morning and ending on Sunday afternoon. Attendees are welcome to come for all three days (recommended to arrive on Thursday evening) or for one or two days. In addition to the scheduled activities, attendees will also find plenty of opportunity if they wish to engage in sparring, exchange training tips and knowledge, or just relax and see what our traders have on offer. Attendees of all backgrounds and experience levels are welcome - most classes are aimed at beginners and intermediate practitioners.

There are always a number of official competitions held at FightCamp. In 2013 there were six:

  • Eggleton Cup (nylon medieval sidearms)

  • Assault at Arms (nylon backsword/sabre)

  • Rapier Tournament (flexible blunt steel)

  • Pas d'Armes (cumulative scores from the Sparring Arena over the weekend)

  • Waite Sabre Challenge (flexible blunt steel)

  • Federschwert Tournament (flexible blunt steel)

The evenings at FightCamp are another draw of the event, with a campfire and a fully licensed bar serving until late. Some of our talented attendees even bring musical instruments. FightCamp offers one of the most unique social experiences of any HEMA event.

FightCamp 2014 will again be held at The Grange, between Coventry and Birmingham. It is a site specialised for airsoft games and HEMA, with ample camping space, bathroom facilities, showers, a cafe/restaurant and bar. The site is easy to get to by car, rail or plane. It is a mere 15 minutes drive/taxi from Birmingham International airport.

Of course camping is not everyone's cup of tea and there are a range of cheap local hotels where attendees can stay at their own cost, if they wish.

You can read an independent review of FightCamp 2012 here.

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