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No upcoming events at the moment


September 13th:

Some bad news.

Unfortunately Tommy Joe Moore can not make it up to Edinburgh to teach his workshop on Pugilism.

So that means we have a new schedule for the Saturday.

9:00am Doors Open/ Register

9:30am Steve Kilbane - Stick Wrestling 20mins

10:00am Paul Macdonald - Smallsword vs Backsword 90mins

11:45am Lunch 45mins

12:30pm Free Play 45mins

1:15pm Ben Hamilton - Staff 90mins

2:50pm Salute

3:00pm Doors Close

4:30pm Pre Dinner Drinks in The Bow Bar

5:30pm Dinner at Howies Restaurant

So as a result, you now have 45mins to play, fence a stranger, exchange ideas, pick an instructor's brain or take a bit more time with lunch.


September 6th:

Here is the Schedule for the weekend


1:00pm - 1:30pm: Meet at the Bow Bar (80 West Bow, EH1 2HH)

1:45pm: First group to leave for National Library

2:00pm: First group to attend Viewing & Handling Session

2:45pm: Second group to leave for National Library

3:00pm: Second group to attend Viewing & Handling Session (First Group to return to The Bow Bar)

4:00pm: Both groups back at the Bow Bar for socialising



9am Doors Open

9:30am Steve Kilbane Warm Up Stick Wrestling 20mins

10:00am Tommy Joe Moore Pugilistic Skills of the Stage Gladiators 90mins

11:45am Paul Macdonald Broadsword vs Smallsword 90mins

1:15pm Lunch 45mins

2:00pm Ben Hamilton Staff Fighting Skills 90mins.

3:30pm Free Play or Leave Early

4:00pm Doors Close

5:30pm Formal Dinner (Howies Restaurant, Victoria Street)

7:30pm Move to The Bow Bar



10:00am Doors Open

10:15am Steve Kilbane Warm Up Stick Wrestling 20mins

10:45am Tom Langhorne Sword & Targe/ Highland Survival Equipment 90mins

12:15pm Lunch 60mins

1:15pm Robert Brooks Close Play of the Broadsword Brawl 90mins

3:00pm Mike Smith 7 vs 1 60mins

4:00pm The McBane Challenge 30mins

4:30pm Presentation

4:45pm Salute


August 23st:

Tickets will be coming to a close this coming Sunday, August 27th. The Restaurant is now fully booked, so although you can still come and train with us, you will have to join us for drinks after the meal.


August 22nd:

The Formal Dinner menu will be sent out soon, along with a pre-order form. So please keep an eye out in your email, fill it out and return ASAP. The restaurant will require everyone's choices in advance.


August 21st:

For all those attending the Friday viewing at the National Library.

Please meet at The Bow Bar, 80 West Bow EH1 2HH at 1:30pm.

Those attending the 2pm viewing will be taken up at 1:45pm. Personal belongings can be kept at the bar.

I will return and collect those for the 3pm viewing and head up at 2:45pm

We will all return to the Bow Bar after 4pm.

Some rules:

No Food or Drink allowed in the reading room.

Pencils Only

Outdoor coats and bags to be left in lockers (you need a £1 coin deposit to open the locker)

Photography is allowed.

All health and safety announcements will be made on arrival

You will be issued with Visitor Passes on arrival, so we have to be on time.

Please don't be late as you will miss out


August 15th:

Just 1 month to go!

August 14th:

That's all the 5ft staffs ordered for Ben's class

August 13th:

After sorting through all the red tape and paper work, the National Library has confirmed that they are happy for us to bring original weapons in for the Friday viewing.

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August 8th:

Our 6th Instructor



Close Plays in a Broadsword Brawl






As Donald McBane was well aware during his tumultuous adventures at home and on the Continent, there often comes a time in earnest fencing when notions of gentlemanly conduct must be thrown out of the window. This workshop will explore the options available to a fencer when things get uncomfortably close in an open fight and how to maximise your chances of survival while minimizing and limiting your opponent’s ability to use their weapon. Required equipment: Mask, broadsword or singlestick, spadroon is permitted.

Rob Brooks is a medievalist and professional Historical Combat Instructor with almost 30 years of hands-on experience in the field. His work in the revival of historical European martial arts began in 1994 and has since seen him teach and lecture in over 30 countries on five continents. He has provided expert consultancy for TV and film including BBC, Channel 5, PBS Nova and the History Channel, and participated in ground-breaking research including the Bronze Age Combat Project at Newcastle University. In 2003 Rob founded the Hotspur School of Defence in North East England, and turned professional in 2014. Rob was also a founding member of the British Federation for Historical Swordplay, serving as its Secretary from 1998 to 2004, and was elected President in September 2013. He is a fully-qualified BFHS Instructor and Assessor, and also the author of “At Your Mercy: The Foundational Guide to Messer”, which was released in early 2023.

August 7th:

Our 5th Instructor


Broadsword v Smallsword

On the Edge and to the Point

This class is a salute to Donald McBane's first two duels by the sword.

Prepare for an ultimately engaging workshop in the unique techniques and counter-techniques specific to broadsword versus smallsword - A World of dramatically close actions which test the skill and nerve of any expert sword-man.

Equipment - Fencing mask, glove, forearm protection if owned, smallsword (or fencing foil), broadsword or singlestick (a number of both foils and singlesticks will be made available for use).

Maestro Paul Macdonald has been engaged with fencing for over three decades and has run the Macdonald Academy of Arms since 2001.

As a Highlander, soldier and Fencing Master, Macdonald carries sympathetic cultural and professional understandings with McBane, though no musket balls in his body at this time.



July 21st:

Our 4th Instructor Announement


'Sword & Targe / Highland Survival Equipment'

Tom is best known from his YouTube channel “Fandabi Dozi” and his video series on 17th Century Highlander survival skills.

In one of Tom’s recent videos, he teamed up with Paul MacDonald to test the age-old question: “Can a Targe stop a musket?”.

At the event he will bring the Targes he tested along and discuss the results and teach some basic broadsword and targe skills.

He will also share his general findings from testing 17th century Highlander equipment and clothing in the wilds of Scotland.

Other than his Youtube channel, Tom is also a freelance Survival instructor and mountain leader with a background in Ecology.

Tom’s main mission with his work is to help reconnect with our natural and cultural heritage through the practice of wilderness living skills, in order to ground ourselves in the foundations of human resilience.



July 8th:

Our 3rd Instructor Announcement


'Staff Fighting Skills'




‘’…for whoever is master of the staff, may defend himself against any one man,..’’ – Donald McBane

Understood to be a devastating weapon in its own right, as well as a training tool for many weapons and martial concepts, Staffs have been used by many different cultures to many different effects.

Staffs can range from 8ft beasts to thin walking poles. During this class, we will focus mostly on exploring how to fight with medium sized staffs of about 5 ft.

Primarily working with texts taken from the French baton and European stick game traditions but also exploring insights from McBane and contemporary staff fighters. We aim to build up several fluid methods of defending the whole body, as well as look at the unique mechanics for striking with this type of staff when fighting one or multiple opponents.

Ben Hamilton is an instructor and co-owner of Saorsa: Scottish swordsmanship. Ben trained in Stage combat and modern fencing throughout his youth and teenage years. At the age of 18 he found HEMA and never looked back. Medalling well in competitions up and down the country before finding a love of teaching and opening a school in Glasgow alongside Victoria Clow in 2021.

Since then he has taught at multiple UK events, and has been invited to teach in Europe and Canada.

Bens primary Focus is the Scottish broadsword. However, he found a deep appreciation for quarterstaff while helping Tom Langhorne create a series of videos on the subject and has since been exploring many British and European staff fighting traditions.

When not swordfighting he is studying to be a physiotherapist, focusing on helping people access health through movement.


July 2nd:

Making our third announcement!

The McBane Challenge!

This year, we introduce a new idea to the weekend, in the way of our own idea of a tournament.

However, it is not a tournament!

The McBane Challenge will take place after the 7 vs 1 workshop, and you guessed it, the challenge is to test yourself against 7 opponents based on the workshop.

You will be judged on 3 different criterias by 3 judges, plus you must defeat a minimum of 5 opponents with in the time limit.

Your quality of fencing, survival and safety is what will see you pass, and be presented with the McBane Challenge Badge.

There will be no 'winner', so while we hope this brings a new element to the event, we don't want to see a competitive streak spoiling people's fencing, instead enourage good quality fencing while really testing yourself.

Will you take on the McBane Challenge?


June 27th:

Announcing our second workshop:


'Seven vs One'











This workshop first featured at the 2019 McBane Event and we reviewed the footage on the Online 2020 McBane Event.

So that makes it a tradition and a return of the now famous 7 versus 1 workshop.

One of the many amazing stories from McBane’s adventures involved him being a sore loser in a pub game, losing his borrowed money before stealing it back and fighting 7 armed men…. and succeeding! We will look at the small recorded evidence and imagine what methods would be applied when facing so many blades. McBane’s evidence are the wounds given and received, and when you dig further McBane gives a lot of advice that would be applicable to such a scenario.

Building up the techniques with a sword in one hand a stick in the other, students will gradually increase the number of opponents they face.

All this will lead to something new, but more on that later.

Mike started Historical Fencing at the end of 2004 with the Macdonald Academy of Arms just weeks after moving to Scotland from Australia.

After becoming a Free Fencer, Mike became Chief de Salle of the Academy and was teaching students at various levels.

Having taught at international events, Mike decided it was time to set up his own school, and in 2016, The Cat’s Glove – School of Traditional Defence was born. Becoming the sister school to the Macdonald Academy, they both teach the Scottish backsword, and Mike has done his own study into Fixed Bayonet Fencing which is offered at his school, as well as few other weapon styles.

In 2007, Mike started the Commando D – Living History Group with Paul Macdonald, which focuses on training in the close quarter methods of fighting as taught to allied special forces in WW2. Mike continues to teach these methods in his school as a warmup to every lesson.

Besides from organising the annual McBane Event, Mike has taught in Canada, Italy, Malta and across the UK. Mike’s day job is managing a well-known whisky and beer bar in Edinburgh’s Old Town, and has been known to work as an artist on the sides.


June 26th:

Introducing our first instructor and first workshop for this year's McBane Event


'Pugilistic Skills of the Stage Gladiators'











A fistic tour through the techniques, strategies and tactics deployed by the stage gladiators of the McBane era. How to explore the fine art of boxing as designed for the exercising gentleman at salle, persons looking for self defence from the ruffian abroad, or to hone one’s skills for bouts upon the stage. Brought to you by historical martial researcher and modern boxer Tommy Joe Moore.

Tommy still competes as a boxer, has taught unarmed combatives to special forces in Ukraine and teaches a wide range of arts all over the world. He is most known for his material on Bartitsu, WW2 Combatives, Boxing for Self Defence and Self Protection. He has competed in Thai Boxing, Judo, Savate and a range of other disciplines alongside his historical interests.


June 25th:

All spaces for the Friday viewing of original treatices and weapons at the National Library of Scotland have been reserved.

The 3 day ticket is no longer available. If any spaces become available for the Friday, I will notify here and it will be offereed on a first come first serve basis for anyone who purchases a 2 day ticket going forward (difference payable on the day).


June 18th:

Early Bird Tickets now live!

June 16th:

We almost a full line up of instructors, and it's looking great!

May 1st:

The National Library has confirmed their room will be available for the viewing


April 26th:

Waiting for confirmation from the National Library if major works are going ahead which will decide if the weapons and original treatise will go ahead. Once we know we can open up registration again.

August 13th:

Introducing our last Instructor



Stick Wrestling Part 1 & 2

To get us all moving first thing, we’ll be doing stick wrestling. This warm-up drill is a long-time staple of Macdonald Academy. We’ll take the opportunity to show how good grounding, redirection of force and body mechanics help in the stick-wrestling game, and how they translate into martial actions. The two warm-up sessions will feature different techniques.

Stephen Kilbane started his journey into historical fencing when Macdonald Academy of Arms first opened its doors in 2002, serving for many years as chef de salle under Maestro Paul Macdonald. He is the only person to have taken and passed the Macdonald Academy instructor exam. In 2016 he co-founded the Cat’s Glove School of Traditional Defence, a sister school to Macdonald Academy, where he is co-instructor to Mike Smith’s lead instructor. Stephen has taught historical fencing workshops and seminars at events in England, Scotland, Italy, Malta and the USA.

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