About US

The London Longsword Academy (LLA) is the capital’s foremost school of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), run by world-renowned professional swordsman Dave Rawlings

Everyone is welcome to train, from beginners to expert martial artists, no matter what your age, gender or background may be. Here you will have the opportunity to study diverse medieval and Renaissance weapon styles, including longsword, sword and buckler, dussack, messer, rapier and dagger, in a safe, friendly and completely inclusive environment. LLA will help you find and exceed your limits, teaching you a martial art honed and made perfect through Europe’s many centuries of warfare.

Simple yet Sophisticated

Every technique shown is the simplest answer for the threat given, and the most effective way to attack and cover in one motion. What at first appears to be more complex, you will soon learn is the simplest way to deal with a more complex threat.

Powerful Body Mechanics

Applicable to most armed and unarmed martial arts. This art will teach you to fight using your entire body, maximising your power and honing your instinctive responses.

Logic and Geometry

At the LLA we use a simple four step training method. Each technique is based on logic and the demands of the situation, rather than clever or showy moves; it just happens that some techniques look damned good. The method breaks down each set of techniques into four steps, each student only progressing to the next part of the technique when they have mastered the first.

This means that as a beginner you can train with more advanced practitioners straight away and never feel left behind, while allowing you to advance at your own pace. Variations in the four steps allow for overlaps and cross- referencing of responses and pressures, thus building your understanding and repertoire of combat simply and quickly.

Inclusivity and Diversity

One thing we are at pains to point out at the LLA is the multi-cultural nature of these arts. Manuals such as I.33 & Paulus Hector Mair’s Fechbuch (amongst many others), show women and men, white and black training together and it is also known that several masters of these arts were Jewish. This diversity is part of our art and history; we feel it should be a proud part of its future. LLA has a zero-tolerance policy for discriminatory behaviour or hate speech amongst its students, and aims to be a safe and welcoming space for all.

About Dave Rawlings

Dave has been studying martial arts from the age of 5, and has over 15 years’ experience teaching Western Swordsmanship. He is one of only a very few professional swordsmen and bases his tuition on his extensive research of medieval to Renaissance swordsmanship texts.

As well as being featured as the sword expert on documentaries such as Richard III: The New Evidence (Channel 4),  Warriors (History Channel) and Bloody Tales of the Tower (National Geographic), he has also produced several highly acclaimed training DVDs. He advised the Wallace Collection on their recent exhibition The Noble Art of the Sword and has choreographed Monteverdi’s Tancredi e Clorinda. Dave has taught extensively across Europe and is held in extremely high regard for his ever-evolving martial understanding of the early sword arts.


Find us on: