School of Historical Defense Arts

The School of Historical Defense Arts (SHDA) is a group of Brisbane-based historical fencing organisations which study and practice European martial arts in a variety of weapons and styles under the general leadership of Henry Walker.

The core of SHDA is to take instruction and theory from historical manuscripts and make them practical, effective and applicable in actual fencing combat situations. SHDA has four sub-schools.


School of Historical Defense Arts

Weapons & style

SHDA teaches Italian Renaissance and Elizabethan rapier, working through the skills of rapier alone and a variety of companion items including dagger, buckler, gauntlet, cloak, rotella (shield), and 2nd rapier. SHDA also helps students to specialise in individual styles from historical masters including smallsword, basket hilt broadsword and others.

Historical period

Renaissance to Georgian, late 1500s through to mid 1700s.

Source texts

  • Giacomo di Grassi’s True Arte of Defence, 1594 (original Italian 1570)
  • Vincentio Saviolo’s Practice in Two Books, 1595
  • Ridolfo Capo Ferro’s Art and Use of Fencing, 1610
  • Salvator Fabris’ Scienza D’Arme, 1606

Brisbane Swords

Weapons & style

Brisbane Swords teaches Italian medieval longsword in the style of Fiore and Vadi, and early German sword and buckler from the i33 Tower Fechtbuch. Other weapons include unarmed, dagger, single sword, spear and polearms.

Historical period

Medieval, early 1300s to late 1400s.

Source texts

  • Fiore Furlano dei Liberi’s Flower of Battle, circa 1409
  • Philippo di Vadi of Pisa’s Art of Swordsmanship, circa 1485
  • MS i33 Tower Fechtbuch (Walpurgis manuscript), circa 1320

Brisbane School of Iberian Swordsmanship

Us 😊


 Australis Scherma Scuola di Spada e Sciabola.

Focusing on 19th Century fencing studying French Foil, Italian Sabre & Neapolitan Dueling Sword.

Solo lessons are avilable in 16th Century Longsword.