Malta Historical Fencing Association

Mithras Sword Fight Club

Mithras Sword Fight Club is the first society in Malta dedicated to the study and practice of Historical Fencing. The methods and principles that we study are the traditional techniques of single combat, used for self-defence or in the context of a duel. We share the same the philosophy and approach of other clubs and associations around the world who practice this discipline as a martial art.

The Mithras Sword Fight Club is the official Sala D’Armi of the Malta Historical Fencing Association.


The Club

If a person in Malta wanted to feel the thrill of using a sword and to learn some techniques, he had no choice but to join a sport fencing club, and take part in competitions for points and medals.

This is exactly what Andrei Xuereb did in 1997, where he immersed himself in the training of french foil for a couple years and later on specialized in epee under fencing coach Juan Formosa. At the fencing club he made friends with Carlos DeBattista, who like himself shared a passionate, almost chivalric approach to fencing. That whippy foil they’ve been given, felt to them like the noblest of swords.

In the few years to come, between training and competitions in sport fencing, the two sought other directions where they could learn more on the practice of swords. Their journey took them from theatre, to re-enactments and mock battles, from afternoons spent going through various historical books to numerous visits to the National Palace Armoury studying the blades and armour that forged our national heritage.

In 2000 Martin Farrugia, an old friend of Carlos and also a fencer, came back to Malta after some years working abroad, and joined the two in organizing a number of fighting re-enactments.

After realizing that sport fencing and winning medals is not what they were really after, Carlos and Andrei left their sport fencing club, to continue their pursuit to something more ‘true’ and ‘realistic’.

For three years they met up regularly for some free assaults, to practice and to share personal research and projects.

Early in 2004 while doing some free assaults, a common friend of Carlos, Andrei and Martin suggested that they should consider the idea of opening their own fencing club. At first this idea seemed impossible and they had already rejected the idea of competitions for titles and medals. But then after some thought, the three decided to give it a try, as long as they practiced in a more traditional way, with discipline, and an element of realism. For this reason they chose to practice mainly epee since from the 3 sport fencing weapons (Foil Epee Sabre) it was the one closer to reality with less rules, and having every part of the body as a valid target.

In the same period Andrei and Martin joined a course for stuntmen in movies, which apart from having fun learning to fall head first from a storey high building, making hand-brake turns with cars and shooting guns, it also offered lessons in theatrical hand to hand combat and sword-fighting. They soon found out that these lessons were taught by Sport Fencing Master Daniel Sammut. They were very pleased when he gladly offered to help them and their club members in their Italian Epee training, and to prepare Andrei, Carlos and Martin for their exams to become Sport Fencing Masters like himself.

In October 2005 Mithras Sword Fight Club, opened its doors to the public and a good number of people joined. The lessons taught were mainly Italian epee and Italain and French foil which were all approached with a good classical foundation.

During this year while still holding regular classes Andrei, Carlos and Martin, together with some selected experienced fencers started practicing the basics of the longsword, rapier and smallsword techniques from the theatrical background they have been taught by Daniel Sammut and books and media available. When everyone had put all his experiences and ideas together, they realized that they needed to know more.

In the meantime, while making research on Italian rapier techniques and methods of how it used to be taught, Andrei stumbled upon the name of Maestro Andrea Lupo Sinclair, who is the founder of the Federazione Italiana di Scherma Antica e Storica (FISAS). This federation is dedicated to the teaching of fencing as a true European martial art, as it used to be taught in the Sale d’armi as a means of combat and self defence. Andrei started corresponding with Maestro Sinclair and was invited to go to Italy for their yearly National Academy held in Rome. And so he did!

Over there he met up with Maestro Andrea Lupo Sinclair, and other instructors who, for a whole intensive weekend gave lessons in Rapier, Longsword, Side sword and Sabre. Attending the lessons were about 70 fencers mostly Italians and others from UK and Scotland.

Back from this experience Andrei brought back a new type of energy to Mithras Sword Fight Club, and a stronger determination to make their plans a reality. By this time the leadership of the club came entirely in the hands of Andrei as both Carlos and Martin resigned due to other commitments. Andrei made the very important decision, not to continue training towards a qualification of Sport Fencing Master under Daniel Sammut, in order to dedicate himself entirely to his research and training of Historical Fencing and European martial arts. He also made the decision of stopping any re-enactment practice.

In 2008 he co-founded a side project of Mithras Sword Fight Club called Show of Arms and gave the management to Robert Grima one of the club members. The idea was to make a clear distinction between re-enactments / stage fighting and historical fencing as a European martial art. Leaving Mithras Sword Fight Club be the place to practice the proper techniques with the intent of combat and self-defence. Later on Show of arms was taken over by Robert Grima and Daniel Sammut and it is now a totally detached and independent group involved mainly in re-enactments and shows in period costumes as a money making venture. Show of Arms is not associated with and not endorsed by Mithras Swordfight Club or the Malta Historical Fencing Association.

Many other visits followed in the recent past years to events organized by the Federazione Italiana Scherma Antica e Storica (FISAS). During these events Andrei took classes and made friends with teachers from Historical Fencing Groups from all over Europe and USA. In order to give our club members the most accurate and detailed teaching of such a complex and vast subject as that of Historical fencing, regular visits to similar events and seminars are always in the agenda of Mithras Sword Fight Club. Andrei Xuereb currently holds the title of Prevosto as a Third level Instructor in Longsword, Rapier and Dueling Sabre after passing public examinations under the FISAS system. He is the first non-Italian student to be qualified in the FISAS system and also the only instructor in Malta to be qualified in Historical Fencing.


Sessions

Sessions at the Mithras Sword Fight Club are held twice a week – Mondays and Thursdays from 18:00 to 20:00, except on public holidays.

The sessions are held by MHFA Instructor and President Andrei Xuereb. The structure of how the lesson are done may vary by the knowledge level of the students and at the choice of weapon is at the discretion of the instructor. They might vary from for example; footwork drills and weapon techniques to distance and strategy exercises.

In order to be faithful to our goal of reviving the European Martial Arts of the past, all the sessions done in the club are backed up by researched historical documentation from treatises left by masters of the past.

We are currently operating on the following schedule:

18:00 to 18:45 – Open for free assaults (sparring), private individual lessons, and individual practice.

18:45 to 19:00 – Group physical training

19:00 to 20:00 – Group weapon training (official lesson of the day)


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Or visit us at our location on Mondays and Thursdays from 6.30pm till 8.30pm:

Mithras Sword Fight Club
St.Publius Hall,
St.Publius Street,
Floriana
Malta