We train hard, we study the works of the masters at length; and then we take our physical training and our study and put it into practical application. We believe that only in this balance between application and study, can we properly recreate an art of combat that is not only beautiful in its various forms, but also highly efficient and devastating when put to use.
HEMA stands for Historical European Martial Arts.
Our members come from many different walks of life. All of them joined in their passion for the fighting arts, as well as the unique bond of brotherhood that develops through intense yet friendly competition.
For every weapon around the world, there is a corresponding way of maximizing its effectiveness against an opponent. Some arts were passed orally, others like most of our arts, were written in detailed manuals. There are hundreds of manuals in libraries around the world, in various languages and dialects.
We couldn’t tell you, we have never seen or handled one that heavy. Most swords were between 1.5 and 6 lbs. Like any fighting art, the forms and the physical conditioning take a bit of getting used to. Before you know it the class will be over, you will be covered in sweat, sore, and still wanting one more fight.
Just comfortable gym wear and no shoes.
Our Founding instructor Lee Smith has been Canada’s top Historical Fencer, and top Historical fencing coach for more than a decade.
With an impressive competitive career spanning 15 years, Lee boasts 50 first-place tournament finishes in a variety of disciplines from combat knife to longsword and everything in between, even having fought in the first-ever televised historical fencing final on ESPN.
In addition to his own successes, he is a proven coach with his students winning and placing in dozens of tournaments over the course of his career before formally retiring from competition in 2019. Many of these students have gone on to start their own successful clubs in a variety of countries.
Today Lee spends much of his time producing videos for our successful YouTube Channel, training coaches in other clubs, and improving the methodology of other Historical fencing instructors. His focus currently when he is not teaching or fencing is learning and refining his own teaching methodology, his skill set, and improving his education. Currently, he holds a health sciences associate degree (pre-med focus) and is an ISSA-certified personal trainer
Nicole’s skill and passion for Historical European Martial Arts comes from a lifelong love of reading, history, and competitive sports. Nicole is a noted rapier and Women’s longsword champion and is widely considered to be one of the world’s top female HEMA practitioners. Before she retired from competition in 2019 she would often make it into the final rounds of any competition she entered. As well, Nicole is one of North America's only women teaching Historical Fencing and has taught at noted events around the world. She is extremely well-rounded in her practice and understanding of the art. She spends much of her time fencing, training, and testing her theories with a sword in hand. Her specialties are the rapier, longsword, and messer. She is also known for her skill with the dagger/knife, and late-period sword and buckler. Nicole is also one of the faces of our popular youtube channel as well as its editor.
Stephen hails from a long martial background in multiple styles ranging from TaekwonDo to Historical European Martial arts over the course of more than 20 years
12 years ago Stephen first picked up a sword and began his HEMA journey, competing all across North America in tournaments and teaching a wide variety of weapon sets including but not limited to Longsword, Sword and buckler, Modern Knife, Side-sword, Single stick, and cutting.
Over the course of his career, he has earned more than 20 medals in multiple weapon sets including gold medals in sword and buckler and cutting as well as sharing the medal podium with many of the world's top competitors.
a founder of Forge Pioneer, also happens to be its resident bookworm and is a patron of all things sword related. Being an accomplished fencer in his own right competing in various tournaments, he is one of the instructors certified by Blood & Iron's Instructor Certification Program and now offers his wisdom to his pupils with unique insights and viewpoints.
Is a perpetual student of sword combat and a co-founder of Forge Pioneer, dedicated to bringing together and training like-minded martial artists. Rafael began fencing at an early age and went on to win a tournament, compete in the Asia Youth Championship, and be a member of his college varsity team. Currently focused on HEMA, he has earned his instructorship from Blood and Iron, and is pursuing his dream and passion of swordfighting by serving as Forge Pioneer's instructor.
A South East Asian Games gold medalist in fencing among others, is an accomplished swordsman, trainer, and recognized instructor. His passion for the sport is reflected not only by his competition record, but also by his commitment to training the next generation of duelists. Now with his founding of Forge Pioneer and his instructorship from Blood & Iron, he is training the next generation of HEMA fighters for success in both the competitive arena and their personal growth as accomplished swordsmen.