Matt Easton runs Schola Gladiatoria SG1 in Ealing, West London. Matt is a martial arts teacher and arms and armour researcher from London, now living in Surrey.
Matt has been involved with historical European martial arts (HEMA) since 1997 and has been teaching since 2000, establishing Schola Gladiatoria in 2001. Matt is the director of FightCamp, one of the biggest annual HEMA events. Matt is a founding member of the Historical European Martial Arts Coalition. He is a qualified under the British Federation for Historical Swordplay and recognised by the British Combat Association. Matt also runs a popular historical warfare-related YouTube channel with over 40,000 subscribers.
Matt's historical fencing career started as a student of The Company of Maisters for about 2 years, later joining The Exiles Company of Medieval Martial Artists, of which he became co-director. During this time he began his study of Fiore dei Liberi's treatises, assisting his Italian friend, Eleonora Durban, to produce the first English translation of the Getty version of Fiore's treatise 'Il Fior di Battaglia'. Much of this has been shared online, with the likes of the Wiktenauer project.
Matt’s formal educational background is a BA(hons) in Medieval Archaeology and History from University College London (UCL) in 2000, writing his final dissertation on the development of 13th and 14th century armour.
Since 2000, Matt has taught at events in the UK, Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Sweden. Matt formally added British military sabre to his repertoire in 2008 and that has since become his personal focus, though he maintains a keen interest in renaissance Italian longsword fencing and still teaches that also. Matt has discovered a lot of original research on the subject of British military swords and swordsmanship, and this is the focus of his work going forwards.
Matt has released various pieces of research, both online and traditional publications, including writing the contextual introduction for D A Kinsley’s Swordsmen of the British Empire and publishing Elliott's Art of Attack and Defence. He is working on a number of other upcoming publications, to be published in 2015.
He has lectured at the Wallace Collection on various occasions, the Tower of London, the Royal Armouries in Leeds twice, to the Armour Research Society, the British Arms and Armour Society and at two International Arms and Armour Conferences in Florence and Vienna. Matt has also given lectures at various HEMA events, as well as giving presentations on historical combat to varied public audiences, including for the computer game company Ubisoft at the EGX games show in Earls Court. Matt has consulted on several TV and film projects, as well as being featured in some (eg. Reclaiming the Blade), and also consults for museums occasionally.
Matt has also played an active role in developing new equipment for HEMA, and has been involved in the development process of various pieces, including the entire development of two models of practice sabre for military sabre fencing. He also reviews equipment through his YouTube channel and is involved with product development for various companies at the moment, with a particular focus on producing better equipment for HEMA practitioners.
Matt has ranked highly in many HEMA swordsmanship competitions over the years, for example winning the Glorianna Cup, the BFHS longsword competition and the FightCamp Assault at Arms. He has also ranked highly in events in Dijon, Florence, Vienna and elsewhere. He has been an strong exponent of instructors demonstrating their skill under the pressure of a competitive environment. Matt has also been heavily involved with running HEMA tournaments for many years, and has created rules and run tournaments around the UK and in France.
Matt is also an avid collector of antique weapons and runs www.antique-swords.co.uk as part of his collecting hobby. Previous to HEMA, Matt studied modern fencing (foil and sabre) and kung fu. He was formerly a keen modern and longbow archer and now regularly shoots historical muzzle-loading black powder firearms as a member of the MLAGB.
Paul Bennett runs SG9 in Manchester. He teaches German longsword according to the Liechtenauer sources from medieval and renaissance Germany, as well as other systems including 19th/20th century walking stick defence.
Paul began his martial arts career by studying various forms of karate
and aikido from the age of 12 onwards. He found HEMA in 2004, starting
with rapier and quickly going on to study the Liechtenauer medieval
armed combat tradition. He has recently branched out into the cane
defence system of A C Cunningham.
Colin Fieldhouse runs SG6 in Bradford. Colin has had an interest in swordsmanship since his mid-teens. Before finding HEMA he took up modern fencing (sabre), before also studying Kendo at Bramhall Kendo Club near Stockport.
Colin has been studying HEMA since 2003, initially with the KdF in Leeds
where he studied German Longsword and Sword and Buckler based on the
I.33 manuscript. In 2008 he was invited by Paul Bennett to help start a
chapter of Schola Gladiatoria in Bradford and became the assistant
instructor to the group.
Colin took second place in the 'Days of the Blade' longsword competition at the Knight Shop, Conwy in 2010 and will be competing at FightCamp in 2011, where he will also be involved in 4 martial challenges.
As part of his day job as a primary school teacher, he runs a weekly
after-school fencing club to teach sabre and longsword to 7-11 year