Fact Sheet

Name: The Hotspur School of Defence
Location: Northumberland, UK  (Northumbrian flag of St Oswald)
Established: May 20, 2003
Website: www.historicalfencing.org/Hotspur
Period: Early Period: XIV and XV Century
Middle Period: XVI Century
Late Period: XVII and XVIII Century
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The Hotspur School of Defence is dedicated to the revival of European fighting arts c.1300 to 1700, as valid, viable martial systems.

It is named after the legendary Northumbrian knight, Sir Henry 'Hotspur' Percy (1366-1403), immortalised by William Shakespeare.

The School sought and gained personal assent from Hotspur's direct descendent, Ralph 12th Duke of Northumberland, and is believed to be the only historical fencing school in the world today with such a noble patronage, dating back to 1307.

Hotspur scholars will strive to develop the ideal mindset necessary for facing the deadly assault, as espoused by the historical masters, treating each training session as though preparing to face a serious encounter with sharps.

The four fundamental virtues of fencing will form the basis for all weapons studied at the School, viz: JUDGEMENT - COURAGE - SPEED - FORTITUDE.

The ultimate goal of HSD scholars will be to develop and exercise complete control over themselves and their weapons at all times.

In doing so, the School exists to inform and educate the public at large as to its 'lost' martial heritage and dispel any long-held misconceptions and untruths regarding Western fighting arts.

Training at the HSD follows the methodologies laid down in historical texts, with an emphasis on achieving a solid grounding in the basic footwork and body mechanics before techniques are applied.

Scholars will work towards a point where they would be able to defend themselves against unimpeded violent attack with no more protection than a pair of gauntlets.

All weapons are treated as sharp, both in drill and free-fencing. Control is paramount, as is self-preservation.

Scholars will aim to achieve a firm understanding of the character of each weapon, based on the necessary historical sources.

Free-fencing is a privilege earned through dilligent study and a demonstrable understanding of principles and control, not an immediate right.

More advanced scholars will be encouraged to undertake further research to broaden their own understanding of Western martial heritage.

Italian and German sources c.1400-1600 for longsword, arming sword/messer, pollaxe, and later texts for backsword, form the core of our study.

The HSD is particularly interested in judicial/trial by combat as depicted and described in German manuscripts of the 16th century, in particular the use of the duelling shield (stechschild) and combinations of weapons thereof.

The HSD is one of only three known groups in the world regularly practising this discipline.

Scholars train with adequate safety equipment at all times, namely an FIE-regulation 1600N fencing mask, a suitable jacket and plastron, and sufficiently stout gauntlets.

Only traditional training tools are used - namely steel and wood. We like to think of ourselves as an 'organic' WMA school - no added colours, flavours or preservatives!

Heavier arms may require an added degree of protection, such as padded gambesons or arming jacks, at the discretion of the Marshal of the School.

Bob Brooks (Backsword and basket-hilted broadsword, longsword)  
Contact Information: snailMail: Bob Brooks
c/o The Hotspur School of Defence
11 Garden Terrace
Shilbottle, Alnwick
Northumberland, Great Britain

Tel: +01665 575408


Affiliated since: May 20, 2007
Updated: May 20, 2007