2003 – Australian College of Arms left Melbourne; Scott and Dominic wanted to keep HEMA alive in Melbourne by starting a new club.
Melbourne Swordplay Guild was established to achieve this goal, running classes in Yarraville and Victoria University – Footscray Park campus, helping to promote and develop new HEMA schools in the region. With a focus on learning fundamentals of swordsmanship based on historical sources and not taking it too seriously. Many MSG members were encouraged to start their own schools, in what they were passionate about, leading to a dozen HEMA schools in Melbourne. MSG promoted HEMA at Highland Gatherings, participating at the Geelong Highland Gathering since 2010 with the hope of being swordsmanship to Geelong.
2014 led to the move to Werribee classes. With Melbourne HEMA growing strong, Dominic and Scott wanted to focus on smaller more personal classes favouring British swordsmanship systems and Armizare.
2019 was the formation of Barwon Academy of Arms, originally in Oberon High School and now in the Geelong Ballroom Dance Club in Hamlyn Heights..
2020, BAA and MSG quickly closed classes in response to COVID, relying on free sessions on Zoom for personal development and started “Sword and Snag” sessions at Rippleside Park in Geelong.
2021 will be focused on the same syllabus for BAA and MSG. The same lesson plans is used for each week.
Dominic and Scott have been focused on classes that are fun and engaging. The only thing we want you take seriously is the potential risk on what we practice. This is why MSG has a Fairy Penguin (Stabby) for their logo, and BAA, has the most metal of sheep, the Hebridean sheep.
We have promoted an inclusive culture in all our classes, making sure anyone who loves swords has opportunity to learn in a safe and encouraging environment. We encourage anyone who feels unsafe to feel fine to step out and speak to instructor, this could be from the level of protection, unsafe speed, or inappropriate behaviour.
We are all Learning
We teach from historical sources and we take an academic approach to our material. Despite the fact that Dominic and Scott have been teaching HEMA longer than anyone in Victoria we are very familiar with how much we and the community do not really know. George Silver is not going to raise from the dead and tell us how to interpret his 1599 work of “Paradoxes of Defence”.
We can and will quote sources and like to be engaged and challenged on our interpretations; Peer Review is the only way to develop. We only wish that such questions not interrupt the lesson flow but we will give space to discuss.
When we started in 2003, we did not know the material anywhere as well as we were comfortable. This meant being honest and transparent and be quick and decisive when we are wrong.
We seek to keep our clubs costs low. Monthly membership is via Martialytics which will allow a secure transaction to be performed. The monthly costs will not increase while you are on a subscription, even if costs increase for new members.
Our membership fees are to pay for Public Liability insurance, hall hire, any administrative costs (website, martialytics, etc); any additional money is used for class equipment.