My First Tournament: Member Insight

This blog post has been written after the Astolat 2017 event.

I’ve been ‘doing’ ‘Longsword for around 6 years after accidentally discovering the club whilst cycling through the local park whilst I was hungover, and they were training. It’s taken some time to get around to do my first tournament for a number of reasons, but first  why did I even wish to compete? Continue reading

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Give A Girl A Sword: Session 2

Once more unto the breach dear friends….after Monday’s hugely successful evening introducing women to German longsword and I.33 sword & buckler (see post here), Wednesday arrived quickly and with some trepidation as we had 20 ladies booked in (+53%) and the sure knowledge that the hall would be absolutely at capacity when the TLA members who came along to help out  were included in the count. As the images show…a busy, focused, and noisy session which, at times, felt like the clamour of a medieval battlefield!

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First Taster Session: Give A Girl A Sword

received_10156552015875558Yesterday, along with the weekend, was a little crazy for the Taunton Longsword Association (TLA). From my last post on this blog expressing pleasant surprise on hitting 6,000 impressions and a load of likes; things only escalated from there….quickly!

Firstly, let me and the Committee of the TLA say a huge “thank you” to all the ladies (and gentlemen) whom shared our Facebook post launching the campaign “Give A Girl A Sword” (GAGAS). You really got the message out there and we although we paid Facebook a princely sum of £12 to advertise it; it quickly turned out that this was eclipsed and ended up being relatively insignificant compared to people tagging friends, relatives and acquaintances. By 19:00 on the 21st August 2017, when the first session began we had over 29,000 impressions, over 170 shares, and a over 100 comments/replies. Incredible! Continue reading

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Ahem, well that escalated quickly!

Less than 48 hours after the initial post, we’ve got over 6000 Facebook impressions of the poster, 48 shares, and a load of enquiries. Not that we’re complaining of course, just surprised that there are so many people out there in our community seemingly just waiting for an opportunity like this (and I’m also a little embarrassed that this blog post wasn’t published sooner)!

Before you ask: yes I’m aware of the [intentional] irony of posting a Ron Burgundy meme on a promotional drive for women to discover Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA).

In all seriousness, it is great news that there is so much interest in Taunton Longswords for this initiative to balance the gender ratio within our club and as part of the wider HEMA community (it is part of a global push).

So what is HEMA? It is easiest to think of it as what most people think a martial art is: an eastern one, but from western combat origins. This is vastly over simplified but is a starting point. Next, mix in sword and dagger combat such as seen on Game of Thrones or Lord of the Rings…but with more skill. Finally, forget all that and be coached by our highly experienced team in techniques taken directly from medieval and Renaissance manuscripts and recreated today. 

From two-handed longsword to sword and buckler (small shield), dagger combat…and more; these introduction sessions have been developed specifically to illustrate this exciting sport.

Many years ago the world of football scoffed at the idea of women playing at a ‘high’ level but happily a momentum began that has resulted in a glorious summer of results for the England Women’s team. “Give a girl a sword” is similar: a grass roots movement with gender equalisation goals. There is a dedicated Facebook group for female HEMAists:

And website:

Want to get the low-down directly from two committee members? Listen to the BBC Somerset broadcast from the 17th August 2017: 1’14’13 for about 6 minutes.

As for the training: we’ll provide everything, just wear loose clothes and bring clean, indoor sport shoes…and begin your sword-master training!

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Service update: email

Email: we seem to have experienced an email outage from the 2nd March until now so apologies if you’ve contacted us and not received a reply. Expect one shortly as I work through them all. 

Kieran (Secretary)

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Double The Fun! TLA Now Open TWO Nights Per Week!


TLA are extremely happy to announce that we have been able to secure a second night for training, and allow a limited opening of membership to prospective new members. 🙂

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Keith Farrell visits TLA

If you’re reading this little article, it cannot have escaped your notice that the Taunton Longsword Association (TLA) has undergone a period of rapid growth over the last couple of years (thank you for your support). This growth has been part of a strategy of planned growth and improvement of the club with various members travelling to seminars and even competition(s).

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TLA members train in London

If you’re into HEMA and based in the UK it is almost impossible to have escaped your notice that weapons supremo David Rawlings of London Longsword Academy fame ( is the driving force behind the superb “2-Days of the Blade” event recently run in the Crystal Palace area of the capital.


Imagine, if you can contain your excitement, two days of training in multiple weapon disciplines by some of Europe’s most accomplished coaches. It was too good an opportunity to miss and so after the first set of tickets sold out rapidly; Mark, Kieran, and Neil were determined to get the second batch (of course we did).

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TLA Visits Bath Spa(rring)

Terrible pun aside, 5 members of Taunton Longsword Association (TLA) made the short trip up the M5 and M4 to attend an informal, open sparring session hosted by Jake Virtus of the Virtus Sword School (Bath, Bradford-Upon-Avon, Cardiff, Newnham).

Facebook: Continue reading

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Neyman Fencing : official supplier to the TLA


The question of where to buy kit specifically for Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) has always been a bit tricky. In the ‘old days’ – as long ago as 2012 – the casual practitioner would have had to make do with a combination of standard saber/epee/foil fencing gear, re-enactment gambeson and motor cross armour. Continue reading

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