Our background

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Our background


Beginnings of the SSA

We began life as the Sussex Rapier School in Brighton in 1997, focussing primarily on Italian rapier. As our repertoire increased we decided to rename ourselves to the Sussex Sword Academy (SSA) to better reflect the range of weapons that we offered.

A Centre of Sword Study

We cover all things sword and sword related in our current curricula as well as an evolving unarmed system. The SSA’s aim is to become a centre for the study of Western martial arts.

Flexible Learing

In addition to the weekly programme, one to one tuition, weekend workshops and bespoke courses are available on request. All levels of ability welcome, from beginner to advanced.

There is a defined SSA level system, whether the student wishes to simply learn the art of defence, or would prefer to study in order to become an instructor and, in time, a master at arms.


Evolution of European Martial Arts


Martial Art and Competition Fencing

In the 20th Century sword play has become a very different entity, mainly to achieve Olympic status; changing the martial art into a sport. The swords as well as the methods have been adapted to achieve athletic and sporting success – to score points. The weapons and techniques are adapted to the rules as they changed over the years, the grips in particular have become unrecognisable as martial grips; footwork is secondary to speed and gamesmanship. As a result although sports fencing has a great amount of skill and athleticism, it is not a martial art or indeed a real construct of duelling. As a result, European martial arts had all but been forgotten.

Revival of European Martial Arts

A revival was in the air when a number of Victorian scholars and fencers rediscovered these arts, by studying and documenting treatises of the earlier masters. Unfortunately, too many of these scholars were killed in the First World War and again these arts went into hibernation. During the last 20 years or so there has been an enthusiastic revival all over Europe and the USA in particular of our Martial Arts and as a consequence there is a new generation of Masters, Instructors and students.


SSA Teaching

The Sussex Sword Academy (SSA) instructors teach European Martial Arts. They teach their systems for the different martial styles (listed in the menus above) through the instructors studies over many years. The SSA applies its principles in practice through formal classes, training exercises and free assault.

The SSA makes these arts relevant to people today, providing a fun environment for exercising the body and the mind whilst stimulating the intellect.