Instructors

Matthew Malcolm


Matthew Malcolm

Matthew Malcolm is the founder of Medieval Combat Group and was a founding member of HEMA Ireland, acting as its Health and Safety Officer in its first 2 years. He has practiced HEMA since 2011 and has been teaching since 2012. His area of interest is the German Longsword from 15th Century sources: particularly Sigmund Ringeck and the Nuremburg Hausbuch. Matthew also has interests in the messer and sword and buckler. Matthew has received the British Federation for Historical Swordplay’s Instructor Level 1 qualification and was instrumental in the development and implementation of HEMA Ireland’s instructor certificates. Matthew has taught at Feile na Gaiscigh 2014, Tremonia Fechtschule in Dortmund, Germany in 2019, presented at Borderlines XIX and XXII conferences at Queens University 2015, and successfully competed at SWASH 2013, FightCamp’s Eggleton Cup 2012, the Irish Historical Fencing League 2016, and the longsword tournament at Tremonia Fechtschule in 2019.

Ross Bailey


Ross Bailey

Ross Bailey was amongst the first of those assessed during HEMA Ireland’s inaugural basic level instructor assessment in early 2014. He came to HEMA after nine years of traditional Chinese martial arts, including several years as an assistant instructor, preceded by five years of sport fencing and assorted other martial arts training. Whilst he assists in the teaching of Early Liechtenauer tradition longsword at Medieval Combat Group in Belfast, and occasionally competes with the longsword, his primary focus is the langes messer (‘long knife’, similar to the weapon known in later centuries as a hunting sword), particularly the 15th century techniques of Johannes Lecküchner incorporating bladework with various ringen techniques. As a professional archaeologist, Ross is also particularly interested in the background historical and physical context to the martial arts the group trains in.

Ross has taught workshops on the langes messer at Feile na Gaiscigh 2014, 2015, and 2016, Belfast Bladeworks 2015, and The Art that Adorns You 2019; competed in the Irish Historical Fencing League across several years, and presented and demonstrated for Queen’s University, Belfast at the Borderlines XIX and XXII medieval history conferences. He also served on the HEMA Ireland committee in several capacities over the years, from chairperson, through PR, to instructor assessment co-ordinator.

Oliver Barker


Oliver Barker

Oliver Barker‘s original background in swordplay comes from Olympic-style epée fencing, in which he represented the University of York in the men’s first team from 1998 to 2001, serving as team captain from 2000 to 2001. He first began experimenting with HEMA in 1999, following the publication of Terry Brown’s “English Martial Arts”, and began more formal study in 2004 with The School of the Sword, focusing on 17th Century Italian rapier sources (primarily Francesco Alfieri and Salvatore Fabris) and the Bolognese School (Achille Marozzo, Antonio Manciolino and Giovanni dall’Agocchie, amongst others). He has taught, presented and/or competed at numerous events, including Swordfish, HEMAC Dijon, FightCamp, SWASH, SENI and the International Rapier Seminar. He has studied the longsword and langes messer since moving to Northern Ireland in 2013.

Harold Turner


Harold Turner

has been studying HEMA since 2013, with a previous several decades of experience in training and teaching Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and an in-depth understanding of body mechanics. Almost as soon as he started training in HEMA he followed his previous liking for staff weapons to research into staff and polearm weapons, particularly Meyer and Andre Paurenfeyndt. Whilst he continues to train in longsword and messer with Medieval Combat Group, his own training now focuses heavily on the staff. He also studies dagger, which the school occasionally uses in month-long blocks for experienced students to bring the gap between beginners courses in our smaller venue.

Past Instructors

We've also had two excellent past instructors, Katja Poppenhäger and Francis McCaughan, who have since moved from Belfast to other places and no longer teach with us. Katja now trains with the HEMA group at University of Potsdam in Germany, and can be occasionally found teaching event workshops elsewhere, most recently at Tremonia Fechtschule in 2018.