About The London Sword and Dagger Club
The London Sword and Dagger Club is an historical European martial arts group based in central London. Formed in the summer of 2010 we study martial arts based on historical documents. We are proud members of the British Federation of Historical Swordplay. Anyone over 18 is welcome to train with us regardless of gender, race or religion.
The training at the club is focused on learning the hand to hand skills needed to survive on a medieval battlefield, in a formal duel or on the streets of a place and era far more dangerous and violent than our own. As such, we don’t train to participate in competitions, for fitness, or to find inner tranquility and enlightenment. However, our training may include some of those as a means to an end or possibly as happy side effects. We are not a re-enactment society, theatrical swordfighters, or live action role-players, although many have found the kind of training we offer to be helpful to those activities.
Fiore Dei Liberi
Our main focus is the works of the Italian master Fiore dei Liberi, who lived at the end of the 14th and the beginning of the 15th century. Four copies exist of his work, and we largely work from a translation of the one held in the Getty Museum put together by Matt Easton and Elenora Litte of Schola Gladiatoria.
This treatise covers a complete and integrated martial arts system including open hand, dagger, swords in one and two hands, poll-axe, spear, fighting in armour and fighting on horseback. It includes vicious arms locks, pressure points, eye gouging and kicking your opponent in the groin. It details the kind of techniques utilised by the ruthless mercenaries or condottiere (literally military contractors) rampaging through Northern Italy at the time. These came from across Europe – one of the most infamous came from Essex.
Silver’s two works “Paradoxes of Defence” (1599) and “Instructions on My Paradoxes of Defence” (approx. 1604) form the earliest complete English fighting manuals . They outline many sound principles that can be applies to many weapons. Silver is highly critical of the new fangled rapiers and the Italian maestros that taught their use in late Elizabethan England, preferring a basket hilted cutting sword.
Swetnam also wrote two treatises – one was primarily focused on Rapier and the other listed in great detail the many faults of women. This provoked several replies and a play, and resulted in Swetnam being the first person in history to be described as a misogynist.
Aside from his amusing rantings, Swetnam’s treatise “His School of Defence” (1617) sets out what seems to be a peculiarly English version of Rapier use and among other things includes an excellent set of instructions for that most English of weapons: the quarterstaff.
Sir William Hope
Sir William Hope (1660-1724) wrote a number of books on fencing. His work is notable for a gradual realisation that the French small-sword system he originally trained in was lacking, and that the true art of defence lay in the English back-sword method. Although often rather verbose, his books clearly explain his reasoning and the principles and methods of his system.
Sir Richard Francis Burton
This notorious Victorian explorer, soldier and translator wrote several fencing manuals. These include treatise on military sabre and bayonet.
Where: The Waterloo Action Center, 14 Baylis Road, Waterloo, Greater London SE1 7AA
Every Wednesday from 8.00pm until 10.00pm (longsword with Nigel Plum & rapier with Rob Runacres – The Renaissace Sword Club renaissanceswordclub.com)
Price: £10 (Members) £15 (non members)
Classes typically start with a short warm up session, followed by various drills. At the end of of class there is usually time for sparring or free-play.
Beginners are welcome to use club equipment. However, as you progress in the sport you will find it useful to start collecting your own equipment.
We welcome people of all genders, ethnicities and backgrounds. We are happy to accommodate any medical condition or disability.
If you have any questions we will be happy to answer!
News & Announcements
Christmas Sparring, Cake and Ale
Merry Christmas from the London Sword & Dagger Club! We had a thoroughly splendid year, with lots of new faces, and a top-notch Christmas Sparring Contest to top it off. Lots of fun was had, with a very wide variety of weapons and styles on display – longswords, rapiers, backswords, sabres, bucklers and rotellas, off-hand …Read more…December 29, 2014
A fair few beginners in the last couple of weeks, so we’ve been going through some basics – basic cuts, basic guards and basic bashing the other person in the jaw with the pommel. We aim to get beginners trying out some of the close-up stabby grabby techniques nice and quickly, in order to give …Read more…October 15, 2014
Longswords in the news!
Mass media exposure! In a real news site! And no daft Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones jokes! Medieval Weapon Finds Modern Appeal So zip over to the New York Times and view the video!September 20, 2014