The Niagara School of Arms is a Historic European Martial Arts group based out of Saint Catharines, Ontario. It has recently opened a class in Hamilton.

Our club practices with the Longsword, the Scottish Broadsword, and Egyptian Stickfighting.

Our Longsword class takes it’s material from a 15th century manual named “The Flower of Battle”, which was written by a knight named Fiore dei Liberi. Our Broadsword material comes from British military sources in the 18th to 20th centuries. Our Egyptian Stickfighting class comes from Tahtib, a lineage from Egypt which has source material documented from Ancient Egypt.

Do you want to get fit? Would you like to enjoy a thrilling sport? Do you like history, but want to learn something hands on? Historic European Martial Arts might be interesting to you.

What is HEMA?

HEMA (Historic European Martial Arts) or Historic Fencing, is a growing community of historians, fencers, and instructors who are dedicated to the revival of European systems of fighting that usually don’t have living lineages. People don’t teach Longswords or Rapiers like a traditional martial arts system. We study from the fighting manuals that were left behind by masters, which contain valuable information. We also look at contemporary art, stories and accounts of battles and fights. We also look at laws and societal context.

We take the techniques we find in these manuals and we evaluate them using compliance and non-compliance. Finally they are put to the test in a real sparring environment. Once a student is capable of performing the technique we know we have succeeded.


The Niagara School of Arms has a policy of keeping the primary sources we study from available to all our students. Here we will share the sources we study from to form our curriculum.

Fiore Dei Liberi

Fiore is the main source we study from. His text forms the basis for most of our curriculum. Contained in the Flower of Battle is grappling, dagger, sword in one and two hands, and in armor, also spear and poleaxe. Then all of that except the poleaxe is covered in mounted combat. Fiore provides a staggering variety of plays contained in a single coherent combat system spreading across several weapons.

Cateran Society

Cateran Society provides the body of material for the Niagara School of Arms to carry out Scottish Broadsword lessons. They have a fully developed curriculum which is provided through one of our instructors.

Philippo di Vadi

Philippo di Vadi’s text is a new source of material for the Niagara School of Arms. The system he taught allegedly comes from Fiore’s school. So we are incorporating the guards, lessons and plays from his manual. We teach the Vadi manuscript to advanced students.

George Silver

George Silver is a British instructor who extensively covered fencing theories. We use his manual to form that portion of the lesson.


Times and locations

The Saint Catharines class runs on Tuesday and Thursday, 7-9 PM, at Folk Arts Multicultural Center, 85 Church Street. Parking is around the back, on Raymond Street.
The Hamilton class runs on Saturday, 3-5 PM, at Sam Lawrence Park, 255 Concession St

Facebook and Twitter contact information can be found at the bottom of the page.
Our email address is

What to bring

New students need only bring non-scuffing shoes and generally sound athletic clothing. Jeans are a bad idea,  think about shorts and track pants. All the rest is provided for initial exercises. Students will eventually be expected to purchase their own safety equipment if they wish to spar with intensity. People source gear from hema-specific companies, fencing, kendo, reenactment, and other sports. During the fall, winter and spring months, Students are reminded to not wear outdoor shoes into the training area.


Payment Structure


St Catharines classes:

Hamilton Classes:

We also have a deal for people who bring their friends. If you bring someone in, and they decide to pay for three months of club dues, your next due is fifty dollars off. If you keep recruiting friends, the reductions continue.

Students will need to choose whether they wish to engage in Broadsword, Stickfighting, or Longsword classes. This allows them to focus on the lessons they want to take, instead of flipping between courses and disrupting their learning.

Niagara School of Arms also offers private or group lessons, which can be arranged according to your schedule, and at a time and place we agree to. We will also need to come to an agreement on the fee, which may need to be adjusted according to cover renting a facility (if that is required).