We use a basket hilted cut and thrust variety of steel sword to practice a style of combat developed by highland clans around the 16thC, and also among the stage gladiators of London and Glasgow. As with eastern martial arts such as Kung fu and Jiu jitsu, there were regional differences among styles (such as the scots Kerr family famously using a predominantly left handed style of swordplay), as well as differences over time as swords changed weight and purpose. Our study tends towards the earlier styles of British Broadsword/Backsword, although the later “regimental” styles are also covered.
As with all martial arts no one style can claim to be the best, however British Broadsword has been proven in antiquity around with world against fighters from North America, India and Europe with great success. The style is easy to learn but can take a lifetime to master, and with the growth of the sport of HEMA in the UK students have ample opportunity to take part in tournaments and test themselves against fighters from other styles from a similar or completely different background. British Broadsword training can be applied to fencing with Broadswords, Sabres, Naval Cutlass and self defence with walking sticks.
The equipment we use in our training is inexpensive, with a minimum of a 350N fencing mask or better, and a broadsword simulator (moving on to steel swords over time, but certain pieces of protective equipment are required by the student to train with steel weapons). We have lender gear for new students however students are expected to purchase their own equipment over time.
Other equipment is used such as athletic cups, forearm pads, fencing jackets, chest protectors and other fencing equipment, however these are not strictly necessary for basic level sparring and drilling (although as mentioned above more substantial equipment is necessary for sparring with steel weapons).