Worcester Historical Swordsmanship
We are pleased to announce that the Worcester Fencing Club is the new home of Worcester Historical Swordsmanship (formerly the Higgins Academy of the Sword). Beginning at the Higgins Armory Museum in 2009 and moving to its current home after the Museum’s closing, WHS is a community of men and women exploring Western martial arts--the art, science, and spirit of the sword and other weapons as they were used in both combat and friendly encounters. Here, you will receive expert, safe, and martially realistic instruction in the knightly longsword and dagger, the Renaissance rapier, and the classical stick, staff, and heavy dueling sabre.
The class is led by Dr. Ken Mondschein, who has the unique qualifications of holding both a PhD in history and a fencing master’s certification, and offers a progressive system of instruction that builds overall fitness and coordination as you learn swordplay traditions both handed down from the days when a person’s life might depend on skill with a blade and reconstructed from the detailed treatises left to us by fencing masters of the past. Dr. Mondschein is an internationally known scholar in this field.
Classes are held on an ongoing basis Tuesday evenings from 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm and Saturday mornings from 11 am - 1:00 pm. A monthly tuition rate of $125 applies. Per-class tuition is $20, and the discounted rate for yearly tuition is $1100. To enroll, please contact Ken Mondschein at ken -at- kenmondschein dot com. Private lessons with Dr. Mondschein in longsword, rapier, smallsword, sabre, stick, dueling sabre, and classical weapons are also available at a rate of $25 per half hour or $40 per hour (plus a $10 floor fee to WFC).
The class is open to any person age 16 or older (younger with instructor’s permission). Loaner equipment is available. Please wear comfortable athletic clothes with long pants and (and an athletic cup for men). Low-top sneakers are preferable. These classes are somewhat strenuous in nature, involving aerobic and anaerobic exercise. If you have a preexisting illness, injury, or other condition, please consult your physician and inform the instructor.
Please note that WHS is separate from Worcester Fencing Club, and requires separate fees. It is insured by the HEMA Alliance and not governed by USA Fencing.
About the Instructors:
Ken Mondschein received his PhD from Fordham University in 2010 and his fencing master’s certification in historical fencing from the US Fencing Coaches’ Association in 2013. Besides numerous conference papers and articles, he is the translator of Camillo Agrippa’s rapier treatise (Italica Press, 2009), as well as a book on the Getty manuscript of Fiore dei Liberi (Getty Publications, 2011) and the Italian school of the two-handed sword (SKA Swordplay Books, 2012). Ken has studied fencing and historical martial arts for almost twenty years, and has competed successfully in several local historical fencing tournaments. He also holds a second-degree black belt in traditional Japanese karate and is an avid equestrian and jouster. In his spare time, he is a college professor. For more information, see his website at historicalfencing.org.
Chris Palagi has studied with Ken Mondschein for five years, and is certified as a moniteur (instructor) of historical fencing by the USFCA. He is an engineer by trade.