- About the club
- Code of conduct
- Club uniform
- Data protection
- Equality and inclusivity
- Health and safety
- Instructing team
- Making a complaint
- Promotional videos
- Public outreach
- Training and sparring
About the club
Established in 2017, Liverpool HEMA is a martial arts club that trains historical European martial arts according to written historical sources.
We focus on the 16th century German methods of fencing with the two-handed longsword. However, we often look at other disciplines such as the Scottish basket-hilted broadsword, Napoleonic-era British sabre fencing, medieval dagger and wrestling, and the use of the dussack.
Our lessons have a strong theme of body mechanics and we strive to help everyone in their self-development as competent and well-rounded martial artists.
We like to take our training seriously and in a disciplined fashion. That being said, we do enjoy a laugh while training, and we tend to have a laid-back and friendly atmosphere. You won’t find it difficult to make friends in the club!
For more information about our club policies and guidelines, please see the resources below. If you have any questions that are not answered by our website, please get in touch and we will do our best to help!
Code of conduct
Our club adheres to the AHA Code of Conduct. We expect all participants to follow this code and our instructing team will endeavour to uphold the code of conduct at all times.
See: AHA Code of Conduct (opens in new tab)
We have a club uniform of blue shirt and black trousers. We take pride in looking like a club as we do our training!
See: Liverpool HEMA club uniform
We take photos at almost every session, so please feel welcome to look at our policy about photographs and what we use them for.
See: Liverpool HEMA photographs policy
Our club adheres to the AHA Data Protection Policy and the AHA Digital Media Policy.
See: AHA Data Protection Policy (opens in new tab)
See: AHA Digital Media Policy (opens in new tab)
Equality and inclusivity
We believe strongly in equality and inclusivity at the club, and welcome anyone from any background or nationality to come and train with us. Our club adheres to the AHA Equal Opportunities Policy.
See: Liverpool HEMA equality and inclusivity statement
See: AHA Equal Opportunities Policy (opens in new tab)
We have plenty of equipment for newcomers to borrow. You don’t need to purchase anything to attend your first session!
Although it is not not something to worry about at the beginning of your practice, we do have some guidelines for buying your own equipment to make sure that whatever you buy is of sufficient quality to be worthwhile and safe.
See: Liverpool HEMA guide for buying your own equipment
We also have some guidelines about how to carry your sword to and from training sessions to avoid breaking the law and suffering legal problems.
See: Liverpool HEMA guide for how to carry your sword
Health and safety
Our club adheres to the AHA Health and Safety Policy for HEMA. We make great efforts to ensure that participation in our activities will be as safe as possible for each and every person – but we also acknowledge that each and every participant plays an important role in looking after their training partners during a session.
See: AHA Health and Safety Policy (HEMA) (opens in new tab)
HEMA is an acronym that stands for Historical European Martial Arts. It is sometimes also called historical fencing or Western martial arts.
In our club, we believe in following our historical source material closely and so we try to recreate the fencing methods described by the medieval and renaissance fencing masters who wrote these texts. We also believe in developing functional and reliable actions, behaviours, and instincts, and we teach these skills in a modern fashion using modern equipment, but the martial arts that we are trying to recreate are well-grounded in historical source material.
See: What is HEMA?
See: Our historical source material
Our chief instructor is Keith Farrell, a professional and internationally-acclaimed instructor.
We also have several assistant instructors at the club, each of whom has undergone training in how to instruct and communicate effectively. Every team member brings important skills and life experiences to the club.
See: Liverpool HEMA instructing team
Making a complaint
If you have any complaints or would like to make an issue known to the instructing team, please speak to the chief instructor or to any of the assistant instructors. We will treat each issue seriously and confidentially.
If you need to make a formal complaint and would rather not speak about it to anyone in person at the club, please follow the AHA Complaints Policy and send an email to the Academy of Historical Arts to be dealt with formally.
See: AHA Complaints Policy (opens in new tab)
Why not take a look at some of our promotional videos to see what sort of things we do in the club?
See: Liverpool HEMA promotional videos
Our club sometimes engages in public and community outreach throughout Liverpool, the North West, and even further afield.
See: Liverpool HEMA public outreach
Training and sparring
Our regular weekly classes tend to involve elements both of technical lessons (that focus on developing skill and ability) and skills lessons (that improve how we integrate our various skills together). We start with very simple exercises, so that you will not feel out of your depth even if it is your first session, and then we develop the exercises over the course of the lesson to improve our skills.
See: Liverpool HEMA regular weekly classes
We try to do some sparring at the end of most of our regular Wednesday-evening sessions, although our Saturday-afternoon sessions tend not to have quite enough time for sparring.
Sparring is quite an important part of the practice of HEMA but it is not essential – if you don’t like sparring then you will never be forced to do so, or if you are having a bad day then you are always welcome to give the sparring a miss. You are also always welcome to ask your partner to go more slowly or more gently if you don’t want to engage in higher intensity sparring.
We will get beginners started with sparring nice and early. There’s nothing to be gained by waiting until some mystic time in the future, so we will get you started soon, albeit at a lower intensity than our more experienced members.
See: Liverpool HEMA guide for sparring at the club
Teenagers may be welcome to attend training sessions, but please see our page about under-18s training for more details.
See: Liverpool HEMA training for under-18s
Our club adheres to the AHA Child Protection Policy.
See: AHA Child Protection Policy (opens in new tab)
Your First Session!
If learning to fight with the longsword appeals to you, then visit the club and give it a go!
Read more about what to bring and expect for your first session.