Ian Macintyre teaching a courtsword workshop

We run the following classes across our three chapters


The Military Sabre of the 19th Century was a fearsome weapon of war in the hands of trained cavalrymen from Waterloo to Sevastapol and beyond. But it was also used on foo,t both in battle and in one-on -one combat such as duelling. This system of combat on foot with the military sabre is one of the two core systems we teach at Black Boar.

Using the School's own system, the Leith School, the course explores the principles, techniques and tactics of this excellent weapon. The Leith School is founded on the work of a number of 19th century authors and Ian Macintyre, the chief instructor's, own experience of 14 years of practicing sabre. Sabre is an excellent starter weapon for those new to the art of historical fencing as it is easy to pick up and is an excellent weapon for studying the principles and core techniques of all later period historical swordsmanship.  It's also lots of fun!

Franco - Scottish Smallsword

Smallsword is one of the classical weapons of the late 17th and 18th centuries.  It was a common civilian sidearm for the nobility and gentleman of the day across Europe.  In particular it was very popular in England, France and our own Scotland.  Indeed several of the early manuals originate in Scotland.

Exclusively a thrusting weapon, the use of the smallsword depends on tight technique and control coupled with speed and guile.  In Black Boar we concentrate on the French and Scottish "Common Method"  and use this as the basis for this course. In particular we refer to the works of Liancour and Girard from France and Edinburgh's own Sir William Hope.

Smallsword is our core beginners' weapon across all three chapters as it teaches many of the core principles that we believe govern all later period swordsmanship.  The course studies the basic use of the weapon from stance, thrusts, parries and ripostes, set within the context of the use of the sword as both a duelling weapon but also a weapon of the street.


This often misunderstood weapon was the chief civilian, as well as military sidearm, of the Renaissance period. Used on its own, or in conjunction with an off-hand dagger or shield, it was a deadly martial tool in the right hands. So if you wish to study the martial art of the time of Shakespeare, the Medici or even the Musketeers, this is for you.


Antagonistics is a general term for the self defence systems developed in the late Victorian period, some of which aimed to scientifically combine the most useful elements of available combat systems, chiefly Cane fencing/ La Canne, Savate, English boxing, and the newly imported Ju-Jitsu and Judo. Currently Bartitsu is the most well known of these in the UK, possibly due to its connections with Sherlock Holmes, but similar systems were developed in France under the title 'Defence Dans la Rue' or DDLR.

What happens in a class

After a warm up the class begins. These always start and end with the school salute as a mark of respect to one another and an indicator that the time for serious martial study has begun.

The nature of the class itself will vary from style to style, but at Black Boar there is a strong emphasis on footwork and drill as the foundation of any system. All students, no matter how experienced, benefit from working on these core skills and all classes will contain an element of basic footwork and blade drill.

From there classes usually will concentrate on one or two themes such as a specific technique or principal.

At the end of the formal class, there is often a 10 minute period where Free Scholars may engage in freeplay. During this period newer students can receive one on one remedial or catch up tuition from the class instructor.

And as quick as a flash our time is over and we adjourn for another week.

Class fees

The first class is always free
Subsequent classes are £5 per class in Fife and Cheshire and £6 in Edinburgh*
There is an annual membership fee of £30 payable after 1 month.
Membership entitles students to attend any class at any venue.

Fees go to cover the cost of the venues, insurance and school kit.
* we are forced to charge more in Edinburgh as room hire is considerably more expensive unfortunately.

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