My discovery of English Martial Arts
Around 1979 I was reading a biography of Bob Fitzimmons the world boxing champion. In this book it mentioned that Bob was of the new generation of boxers who knew nothing of the backsword and quarterstaff; intrigued by the name backsword, a weapon of which I had never heard, I set about finding out what it was. This led me to Joseph Strutt’s Sports and Pastimes of the People of England,1810. This in turn led, eventually, to a whole raft of books and manuscripts detailing both armed and unarmed English martial arts which became the basis of my book English Martial Arts.
Before I had completed my book I decided to road test my interpretations of the techniques and principles that I had garnered from the various sources for English martial arts. Accordingly I placed an advert in a martial arts magazine for a small number of students to study English martial arts; This led to Frank Docherty contacting me, this was in 1994, and together we vigorously tested my work. When I was confident I had worked things out correctly I went ahead and published English Martial Arts.
From that point on Frank and I taught English martial arts as well as giving numerous demonstrations. Their hard work paid off and has resulted in many magazine articles being published as well as several television programmes featuring English martial arts. For a full list of both visit my website:
I am immensely proud that I was able to re-introduced England’s superb fighting arts to the world. Over the years many fine martial arts instructors have trained with me in English martial arts and to see their thoughts and comments about their experiences please go to this link:-
I had my own private training room (pictured below) which is where myself and Frank pressure- tested my interpretations of bygone masters of English martial arts.