About the Hotspur School of Defence
Established in 2003, the Hotspur School of Defence, has become a respected name within the international HEMA community for its study of medieval combat treatises dating from 1389 to 1494.
The School has a firm focus on German and Italian sources, teaching the following disciplines - longsword, messer, arming sword and buckler, dagger, wrestling, pollaxe, and spear.
In 2012, the HSD was invited to become one of the founding schools of the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association, a confraternity of like-minded HEMA schools across the world which promotes the ideals of historical fidelity to the study of ancient treatises.
In 2016, it founded the international HEMA Messer Guild, which now has over 1,700 members worldwide.
Mark Oswald - PROVOST, Elizabeth Mortimer Chapter Master
Mark Oswald is the longest-standing student of the Hotspur School of Defence, joining at its inception in 2003.
Coming from a lengthy Eastern Martial Arts background, Mark quickly rose through the ranks to be appointed the HSD's first Provost in 2010.
It was then that he helped establish the Elizabeth Mortimer Chapter in Consett, County Durham, where he assumed the role of Chapter Master.
Mark qualified as a British Federation for Historical Swordplay Level 1 Instructor in 2012, teaching a lesson on the longsword of Fiore dei Liberi.
Among his other martial interests, Mark is an accomplished archer and thrower of knives and tomahawks.
Mick Skelly - PROVOST, HIGHLAND STUDY GROUP
Mick Skelly is a long-standing student of the Hotspur School of Defence and instructor for The Highland Study Group based at Ullapool in Wester Ross.
Mick began training with the HSD in 2006, studying longsword, messer, dagger, glaive and backsword, and holds a Provost Rank within the HSD. His personal studies have also included rapier, smallsword and experimental work with Bronze Age weaponry. In 2011 he passed the British Federation for Historical Swordplay's Instructor Level 1 qualification.
Before moving to a croft in Badrallach in Wester Ross, Mick was instrumental in establishing and running The Master of Douglas Chapter in the Scottish Borders for the HSD. Following his move north, he established the Highland Study Group in early 2015.
Historically, Mick's area of historical fencing interest is the 'Linn nan Creach', the 'Century of Despoilation' from approximately 1475 to 1625, the peak period of Clan warfare.
Professionally, Mick is a retired physiotherapist turned crofter. He focuses on movement analysis across Martial Arts, looking at the implications for both background fitness and also for Combat Archaeology with particular reference to the Bronze Age.
Ethan Bateman - PROVOST
Beginning his training in HEMA in 2009, at the age of 14, Ethan Bateman has followed his zeal for Historical Martial Arts for six years under the tutelage of HSD Marshal Robert Brooks.
During the last six years, Ethan has attended many events in the UK and also in Italy, studying various forms of historical combat. These include medieval longsword and messer with the HSD, to rapier from French instructor Olivier Delannoy, sidesword and dagger with Italian tutor Andrea Sinclair, wrestling from German teachers Jörg Bellinghausen and Christian Eckert, and Renaissance partisan (spear) with British instructor Chris Chatfield.
Alongside his training in the medieval sources with the HSD, Ethan pursues his own fervent passion for later styles of fencing, in particular Polish and English military sabre and smallsword. He also displays a keen interest in backsword, Bartitsu, pugilism and stick fighting.
In early 2015, at the age of just 19, Ethan achieved his British Federation for Historical Swordplay (BFHS) Instructor Level 1 qualification, leading a lesson on the use of Polish military sabre. Alongside this, he also achieved his Free-Scholar ranking within the HSD, after proving himself proficient with the use of the longsword, messer, spear and dagger.
Because of his dedication and continued progress, Ethan was appointed as an official Assistant Instructor within the School in May 2015 and in May 2016 was awarded the title of Provost, the highest rank in the HSD.