Southampton Historical Fencing Constitution

1: Name

The club shall henceforth be known as Southampton Historical Fencing (SHF) and will be affiliated with the Academy of Historical Arts (AHA).

2: Aims and Objectives

The aims and objectives of SHF are as follows;

  • To teach Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) focussing on (but not limited to) 16th/17th century Sidesword and Rapier.
  • To provide a welcoming and friendly environment for anyone who wishes to study HEMA.
  • To increase the wider knowledge of HEMA whilst ensuring that we do not tarnish the image of the practice.
  • To encourage members to increase their knowledge and experience through personal study, competitions and attendance at other clubs, seminars events etc.
  • To ensure a high standard of care to our members and to reject any form of discrimination or misconduct.

3: Membership

Members will be held equally and by joining will be assumed to have accepted the rules and regulations set out within this document.

All members shall be members of the AHA. They shall be held to the standards set within this document and those of the AHA.

Membership is open to any consenting adult (18+) who agrees to follow the rules set out in this document and uphold the values of SHF.

Membership is also open to younger applicants between 14 and 18 providing that they are accompanied by a supervising adult.

Membership can be revoked by the Chief Instructor at any point should a member be found in contravention of any articles in this document.

Membership may be subject to a fee as well as the attendance fee which will be set and advertised by the Chief Instructor subject to the clubs needs and financial requirements.

4: Officers of the club.

The Chief Instructor is responsible for management of the club, handling of fees, booking of training spaces, ordering any required equipment, teaching sessions and any other roles required to ensure that the club runs sufficiently smoothly.

The Social Media Officer is responsible alongside the Chief Instructor for managing any social media accounts and gathering photographs and video for publishing. They will work on growing our online presence and boosting our reputation. 

The Extracurricular Activities Officer is responsible for organising non HEMA related activities such as (but not limited to) paintballing, archery etc. Their goal is to foster activities outside our normal sessions and promote a sense of community within the club. They will work with other officers to reach these goals.

The Extracurricular Socials Officer is responsible for organising nights out and other social events. Their goal is to foster activities outside our normal sessions and promote a sense of community within the club. They will work with other officers to reach these goals.

As the club grows there will hopefully be a point where more roles may be delegated and further club officer roles will be created. At this point this document will be updated to reflect that.

New roles are at the discretion of the Chief Instructor and will be voted on by the existing officers. 

5: Moneys

SHF will have a bank account for management of club funds. Any profit raised over the course of the financial year will be reinvested to the benefit of the club.

6: Member Conduct

All members shall act in a responsible manner aware that the arts we practice are inherently dangerous. As such all instructors commands shall be heeded without hesitation.

Members will ensure that they treat all other members and instructors with respect and will under no circumstances be discriminatory or bully anyone.

SHF operates a welfare officer agreement with Tree of Shields, they have a nominated member as a point of contact should any members feel that they have concerns or feel mistreated in the club. SHF also has a nominated officer for Tree of Shields who acts in this capacity for them.

Members who are credibly accused of sexual assault, other predatory, discriminatory or other unacceptable behaviours will be summarily banned from the club. The safety and welfare of our members is paramount. The Chief Instructor has final say on these matters however any accused members can argue their case to the Chief Instructor before actions are taken.

Less serious infringements from members will be subject to a warning followed by expulsion should further action be required.

Members are bound by the rules and regulations set out within this constitution.

Members should be aware that when training whether that it in a private training location, public space or another clubs event (e.g. visiting another club or attending an event such as Fight Camp or a Wessex League tournament) they represent SHF and their conduct should reflect the clubs values and not degrade the club’s reputation.

Members should be aware that when wearing SHF branded clothing or discussing SHF in public they are responsible for the reputation of the club in the wider community.

7: Uniform

At the moment SHF does not require branded uniform. However at training sessions we do ask that members follow the SHF uniform policy as it makes the club look more professional to non members, venues etc. The SHF uniform policy does not enforce branding or style merely a colour scheme to keep a unified look.

Members should wear clothing suitable for exercise the majority of which should be black (where possible t-shirts with non HEMA related logos or designs are discouraged).

Jacket and other fencing gear is not enforced under these rules however we do encourage members to opt for black when shopping for jackets, breeches, gloves etc.

Members should wear footwear suitable for the training environment, trainers are encouraged for outdoor sessions. For indoor sessions trainers are acceptable as are thinner soled shoes, all shoes worn indoors must be clean and not mark the floor.

8: Health and Safety

Members should be aware that HEMA has inherent risks. As such they must maintain responsibility for themselves, their training partner and anyone else.

The following requirements are intended to minimise risks, however members should accept that training in any martial art, especially armed martial arts will involve physical contact (from weapons but also from bodies through grappling etc.). As such bruises will occur, unfortunately very little can be done to completely eliminate the chances of this.

  • When partaking in paired drills with weapons members must wear at least gloves and masks. When the drills are sped up further equipment such as gorgets, jackets etc may be required at the instructors discretion.
  • When drilling members must follow the instructors commands and ensure that they are practicing to a level of speed and intensity acceptable to their partners.
  • When partaking in sparring with light synthetic weapons (such as the Red Dragon wasters, or rubber training knives etc.) members must wear as a minimum level of protection suitable gloves, mask and gorget. Members are also encouraged to wear a box, jacket, hard joint protection back of head protection etc.
  • When sparring with heavy synthetic weapons (e.g. Black Fencer wasters) or steel training weapons members must wear as a minimum level of protection suitable gloves, mask with back of head protection, gorget, jacket, hard joint protection. Male members must also wear a box. Members are also encouraged to wear chest, shin and forearm protectors.
  • Steel weapons must be manufactured specifically for HEMA sparring and be in good condition free from rust, burs and bends. If in doubt please check with an instructor before purchasing or using said item. Tips must be folded, spatulated or covered with an appropriate cap.
  • Synthetic weapons must be manufactured specifically for HEMA sparring and be in good condition, free from cracks, bends and burs. If in doubt please check with an instructor before purchasing or using said item.
  • New members will only be allowed to spar or engage in free play when authorised by an instructor. Members engaging in sparring or freeplay must do so aware that they are engaging in an unscripted and potentially risky habit. They must make sure that they have appropriate space, other members are aware of them and that they agree a level of intensity appropriate for their equipment.

9: AHA Policies

SHF shall abide by the requirements set out in the AHA Equal Oppurtunities, Protection, Data Privacy, Complaints and Disciplinary policy.

Furthermore it is to be noted that SHF has a zero tolerance policy towards any form of discrimination, bigotry or bullying.

11: Dissolution

Should the time come that it is decided that SHF must disband all membership fees paid in advance will be refunded to the appropriate members.

Any club equipment, materials etc. will be offered for sale, firstly to members then the wider community, with the proceeds going to a charity chosen by the membership.

12: Ammendments

Any changes to this document must be agreed by a majority of the Officers (the Chief Instructor has the tie breaking vote in case of a deadlock).

Any changes to the above document will be published on the Facebook group and on the SHF website.


SHF hereby accepts the above document as its constitution and will abide by the rules and values set out within.