Gained by Skill, Held by Steel.
The Academy of Steel is dedicated to the study and practice of swordplay and the use of medieval weapons and Western Martial Arts. We seek to marry elements of reconstructive historical re-enactment and Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) in order to offer a well-rounded education in the science of sword fighting and medieval combat. We strive to learn as much as possible and to create a constructive framework that provides an accessible curriculum and training to allow new members to learn sword play and benefit from our many years of experience.
Whether you are new to sword play or have experience in, Martial Arts, re-enactment, HEMA, BotN, or LARP, we offer a variety of classes that will help you learn new skills or simply sharpen up. We provide training in a variety of weapons both in one-on-one duels and as part of a unit.
We provide a welcoming environment for all participants offering different levels of intensity and focus.
Friendly sparring as part of a unique and inclusive group is encouraged, but not mandatory. We are well known for being very social and can often be found heading out after class for a gathering.
The Marshal of the Academy of Steel, Jordan Mock, has been a practitioner of various martial arts for most of his life. His passion has taken him from re-enactment battles in Denmark to fencing tournaments in Italy and he has won medals and awards both in Britain and abroad.
Jordan’s main focus of study has been the Italian fencing tradition, sword and buckler and sword and shield, though he is also well versed in the use of axes, spears, knives and hand-to-hand and is always keen to learn the use of new weapons and skills. With articles published in Martial Arts magazines on the nature of HEMA, Jordan has also been a consultant and guest speaker at lectures and conferences in universities in South Wales. He has been invited to run workshops as a guest instructor at some of the largest Historical European Martial Arts events in Europe including FightCamp, HEMAC Dijon and Austri Partes as well as running workshops as part of FightingandSpirit, a programme designed to use Martial Arts as a form of therapy.
An accredited instructor with the British Combat Association, the Company of Arms of the Rose and the Sword and the Vikings Society UK, Jordan trains hard and hopes to instil the same passion in his students.
Beginning as the Archery Captain of the Cardiff Castle Garrison Re-enactment Society, Melissa Hainsworth later joined the Vikings Historical Re-enactment Society and has participated in fencing and re-enactment events all over Britain and Europe. When she and Jordan moved to Italy, she joined the La Compania del Arma del la Rosa e Spada and upon returning to Britain opened the Academy of Steel.
Melissa is an instructor within the Academy, the Academy’s archery captain and also runs classes for women and non-binary persons. She has taken part in a number of tournaments across Europe, bringing home prizes and medals from many of them as well as having been invited to teach at Swords of Spring to give a workshop in Historical Martial Arts as a guest instructor.
She is well versed in medieval Italian Fencing Systems and is currently studying the work of Fillipo di Vadi.
Martial arts and medieval history have both been interests of Ben Halbert for as long as he can remember. As a child he studied Taekwondo and at university he joined a medieval living history group, with his main focus being the combat side of re-enactment. Eventually he discovered Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and joined the Academy of Steel from its first official class; he was immediately hooked and quickly moved to training as often as he could, including with other groups whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Over the past few years, Ben has helped to manage the Academy’s website as well as various other digital resources for its members. He acts as an instructor – often assisting Jordan in both regular classes and during workshops at events like FightCamp and Dijon; he also plans and runs lessons when the Marshal is not available.
Ben has studied a number of weapon sets but favours single handed medieval swords – particularly arming swords and messers.