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Mark McMorrow

Review: "Here they fight with Messer - God help them!"

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Quote Originally Posted by Christopher Halpin View Post
I have recently returned from attending an event organised by Hotspur School of Defence in Alnwick in the UK aptly titled "Here they fight with Messer - God help them!" Set in beautiful surroundings and under the expert tutelage of guest instructor Jörg Bellinghausen and the watchful eye of host Bob Brooks a group of eager students from as far afield as the US and from all four corners of the UK were treated to a series of fantastic messer lessons over the course of the weekend.

Jörg was a splendid instructor to work with and learn from. His instructions were concise and clear, he was very attentive and helpful with every member of the class and everyone left with an even greater respect for and understanding of the messer. We were guided through Lecküchner step by step starting with a series of basic fundamentals and advancing from there, and Jörg is wonderful at placing things into context for the benefit of the class. With four sessions over the course of two days there was a lot to work through but the pace was excellent and lessons were structured in such a way as to build on previous work, I for one (touch wood) seem to have retained the vast majority (if not all) of what I learned over the weekend.

Outside of the actual lessons host Bob Brooks ensured that the event went swimmingly and there was always something to do or see. Alnwick and it's surroundings are stunning, and Bob had organised a sublime venue for the weekends swordplay in the shape of nearby Lemmington Hall, an 18th century mansion with a 15th century tower-house built on (if memory serves) foundations that pre-date this, so it was truly a privilege to have the run of almost the entire hall during both days. Friday night saw a spirited drinks reception with Bob, Jörg, and many of the students who had travelled to attend the event. On Saturday we took dinner in a treehouse, or should I say The Treehouse, a stunning restaurant in nearby Alnwick Gardens. It has to be seen to be believed, and whilst I could wax lyrical about the setting it was the company that made it special, and this holds true for the entire weekend.

I was very sad to have to have to leave on the Sunday evening, but it was a pleasure and an honour to fence alongside such sterling individuals under such expert tuition. Amidst the clashing of swords and imbibing of drinks friendships were forged, hopefully this is just one of many truly international events to be hosted by the Hotspur School of Defence and I very much look forward to popping back up to Alnwick to train with them in the future.

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