Bladeworks 2023

Bladeworks is over for another year! A full weekend of HEMA workshops, Fechtschule for beginners longsword, steel longsword, and steel single handed swords, along with socialising and gaming til the small hours of the morning. It was a wonderful weekend!

As usual at Bladeworks, we have a keynote guest instructor for some in depth skills development over a course of half a day of workshops, in parallel with and surrounded by a variety of shorter workshops on a range of weapons. This year we were lucky enough to have Michel Rensen from Zwaard & Steen in the Netherlands as our keynote instructor. Across the weekend we had two excellent longsword keynote workshops from Michel Rensen – Historical Fencer from Zwaard & Steen, three excellent workshops from Chris Halpin at York School of Defence on basic ringen, basic rondel, and messer respectively, another longsword workshop on applying grappling techniques from Fiore by Jacob Burke assisted by Helen Bearse from Noble Science Academy, and last but not least, basic longsword by Medieval Combat Group‘s own Matthew Malcolm and basic staff by MCG’s Ross Bailey.

From the feedback we’ve had, and the smiles we saw on everyone’s faces during the event, we’re going to have to put some serious thought into whether its possible to make this any more enjoyable next year!

We’re delighted that Bladeworks has always had an excellent level of feedback regarding the general atmosphere and quality of the event (check the huge smiles evident throughout the Bladeworks 2023 Workshops Video!), below you’ll find a small selection of the feedback we had regarding the 2023 Bladeworks:

  • “All the instructors, although very different in style, had the same result of making a fun, interesting and interactive training environment! 10/10”
  • “All the instructors I worked with were excellent.”
  • “5/5 Was a great space, would be good if you can get it again!”
  • “The combined single handed weapons [fechtschule] was a nice touch.”
  • “Fechtschule was really tightly run, hats off to the two not-judges for keeping people flowing. Very fun format and in some ways preferrable to a [normal elimination] tournament.”
  • “These [the fechtschule] were fun, both to participate in and to watch!”
  • “… just make Bladeworks 2024 as amazing as this one was”
  • “Bladeworks is still the most enjoyable out-of-club event that I’ve been to.”
  • “Chris: Very much enjoyed the Ringen and Rondel classes. He is a very good instructor, clear and good sense of humour. Also would immediately clear beginner errors that he was seeing keeping everyone on track. Have already recommended him to others. Ross: Boop. Authoritative and enthusiastic. Matt: Like a young Neil Gaiman telling us the secrets of the cuts.”
  • I didn’t get training with everyone, but everything was excellently presented and great fun and made as accessible as possible.
  • Michel Rensen’s first workhop on Zwerchau mechanics and application was fantastic, it not only helped me improve the pure body mechanics of the Zwer, but also brought some historical stuff into better focus for me.
  • It was lovely that it was that close to the sea. Though the nice weather might have influenced that opinion a bit.