Higgins Armory Sword Guild


The Sword Guild researches and practices techniques based on historical combat manuals. Areas of focus include the longsword (also called the hand-and-a-half sword or bastard sword), staff weapons, dagger, sword and shield, rapier, smallsword, and saber.

The Guild meets at 3:30 at the Higgins on the 1st, 3rd, and (as applicable) 5th Saturday afternoon of each month. The schedule occasionally varies; be sure to confirm times before showing up.

The Guild offers an ongoing series of training courses and workshops.

Prospective members must pass a Safety Evaluation with the Guild Steward. No equipment is required for new participants. Participants should wear loose, comfortable clothes and athletic footgear. Guild participation is free with museum membership

For other information about the Guild, please contact the Guild Steward

longsword techniques


Dr. Jeffrey L. Forgeng is one of only a handful of professional scholars in the world specializing in the history of European martial arts, a field in which he has been involved since 1990. His books include Joachim Meyer’s Art of Combat (2004) and The Medieval Art of Swordsmanship: A Facsimile and Translation of Europe’s Oldest Personal Combat Treatise, Royal Armouries MS I.33 (2003); forthcoming are Hans Lecküchner’s Art of Falchion Combat: A German Martial Arts Treatise of 1482, Paulus Hector Mair’s Treatise on the Martial Arts (c. 1555); and Pedro Monte’s Collectanea. Dr. Forgeng is the Paul S. Morgan Curator at the Higgins Armory Museum, and an Adjunct Associate Professor of History at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

Mr. Mark Millman is a long-time student of the martial arts. He has fenced for over twenty years and has studied Shotokan and Kyo Kushinkai karate and Kodokan judo. He has coached fencing at the high-school level, and has given private lessons. He is a former member of the Society of American Fight Directors, and has choreographed fights for over sixty productions. He took his degree at Harvard, where he studied social anthropology as viewed through material culture. He has a particular interest in the sword; his collection numbers over fifty items.

Dr. Ken Mondschein received his Ph.D. in medieval history from Fordham University, is certified as a Prévôt d'Escrime (the second-highest teaching certification), and holds a second-degree black belt in traditional Japanese karate. He is a Research Fellow at the Higgins Armory Museum and was a Fulbright grantee to France in 2007-2008, a visiting fellow at Harvard in 2009-10, and at UMass Amherst from 2010-12. Ken is the translator of Camillo Agrippa's seminal 1553 rapier treatise (Italica Press, 2009), Alfieri's 1653 work on the two-handed sword (SKA Swordplay Books, forthcoming), and Fiore dei Liberi's medieval martial arts (Getty Publications, forthcoming), among other works. In all, Ken has almost two decades of martial arts experience, with fourteen years of experience in traditional Western swordsmanship and stick fighting. He is also an avid equestrian.

Dr. William R. Short is an independent scholar and author, specializing in medieval Icelandic literature and Viking-age topics. He is a Research Fellow at Higgins Armory Museum, where he has been researching Viking weapons and their use. His research results were recently published in the book Viking Weapons and Combat Techniques. He demonstrates and teaches Viking-age combat techniques and regularly lectures on Viking-age topics at museums, universities, and schools in North America and in Iceland. His most recent book, Icelanders in the Viking Age: The People of the Sagas was released March, 2010 and discusses the culture, society, and history of saga-age Icelanders.

Higgins Armory Museum building
Higgins Armory Museum, 100 Barber Ave, Worcester, MA 01606-2444, USA

Higgins Armory Museum Great Hall Higgins Armory Museum Great Hall Higgins Armory Museum Great Hall
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