About The Group

The 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. Realising the need for a purely HEMA based training club in 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, expanding into various premises around the city for beginners courses from 2016 onwards, and into the church hall at St. Mary Magdalene on Donegall Pass in 2018. As of 2019, the group expanded to form a study group in Comber as well as the regular classes in Belfast.

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 Level 1 instructors qualification, Ross focussing on the the use of the messer. In subsequent years the group added more instructors – Francis McCaughan (no longer teaching), Katja Poppenhaeger (now left for Germany) in longsword, Oliver Barker in sidesword, and Harold Turner in staff.

The Instructors from Medieval Combat Group have taught at multiple events, both national and international, with our head longsword instructor, Matthew Malcolm also taking League Champion in the inaugural year of the Irish Historical Fencing League, taking first place in three out of four tournaments along with many of the prizes for technical fencing.

As well as teaching at and attending HEMA events in a variety of places, Medieval Combat Group now regularly hosts their own large annual event - Bladeworks - a weekend long combination of workshops, free sparring, test cutting, and socialising.