About Us

2012practiceThe group was formed in 2011 when Matthew Malcolm, Will McNeilly and Jamie Camlin had been training in the European Longsword, focussing on mid-to-late Liechtenhauer content from Goliath Fechtbuch (MS German Quarto 2020) and Pieter von Danzig Fechtbuchs (Codex 44.A.8) for over a year. As no club focussing purely on the martial applications without broadening into re-enactment or living history existed within Northern Ireland, the British Federation for Historical Swordplay were approached to discuss the process of forming an official training group. In November 2011 all three founding members received their Instructor Level 1 qualification from the British Federation of Historical Swordplay.
In early 2012 Matthew Malcolm began working from earlier Liechtenhauer texts HS:3227a Codex Doebringer and Sigmund Ringeck’s text within MS Dresden C487. It is these earlier texts that the Medieval Combat Group longsword syllabus is now derived from.
The Club began training in Donegall Pass Community Centre in Feburary 2012.  The Instructors from Medieval Combat Group have attended a number of local and national HEMA events from 2011 to 2014, and taught at the inaugural HEMA Ireland event in Dublin in November 2014. The clubs members have also participated in national tournaments; Matthew Malcolm reaching the semi finals in both fightcamp 2012’s Egleton Cup and the SWASH 2013 Steel Longsword tournament.aip
The class, and HEMA in Ireland, grew considerably in 2013 and 2014. HEMA Ireland was formed, with Matthew elected as the Health and Safety Officer for the organisation, and Ross Bailey was one of the first batch of new instructors from both north and south to pass the HEMA Ireland basic instructors qualification, Ross focussing on the the use of the messer. The class has also hosted a longsword workshop with Keith Farrell of the Academy of Historical Arts in April 2014, and both Ross and Matthew taught workshop in their respective weapons at the inaugural Féile na Gaiscígh event hosted by HEMA Ireland.
rossmattmesserIn 2015, Francis McCaughan passed his HEMA Ireland assessment and joined the small group of Instructors at the club, focussing on the rondel dagger and ringen. Ross taught a second workshop on the messer at the 2015 Féile na Gaiscígh, and the group hosted the first Belfast Bladeworks event.
 In 2016 the group continued to grow, with a set of Beginners Courses introduced to meet the growing number of interested students.  2016 also saw the group host a weekend workshop on the messer by Hans Heim of Ochs, with Ross teaching again at Féile na Gaiscígh, and several members of the group competing in the new Irish Historical Fencing League, with Matt winning several of the tournaments.  This was also the year that sadly saw Francis move away from Belfast with his family, depriving us of an excellent ringen instructor. It also saw Francis found the Causeway Guild of Historical Martial Arts up in Coleraine.instruct-fr
At present, the group continues to grow, and has two currently active main instructors – Matthew continues to research and teach early German longsword, Ross continues to research and teach messer. The various weaponsets coming from contemporary sources and having enough reinforcing similarities that a joint syllabus has been constructed where one re-inforces the content from the other.

In late 2016 two of the Provosts, Oliver Barker and Harold Turner, passed their HEMA Ireland Level 1 instructors assessment in sidesword and quarterstaff respectively.  Whilst both these weapons sit somewhat outside the main longsword/messer syllabus at the moment, we’ll hopefully be seeing workshops in each coming soon.