FAQ

Joining

Where do you practice?


West Rugby Club, Hartlepool. (Back Field, away from the main road) Follow the dirt path on the left through the large gate. If we're there, you'll see our sign.




When do you practice?


Every Sunday (but get in contact to make sure, circumstances change!) 13:00 - 16:00 We recommend arriving at roughly 13:30 for your first time.




What / How / Why do you practice?


Vanguard's specific fighting style requires training to achieve a level of competency and safety. We train with two systems of combat: competitive and show style. Competitive training is a more sport-based method of training for on-target strikes. Show style gives fighters the practice to use more flair and more dramatic strikes.




What do you reenact?


We reenact a military encampment in England and Europe during the later half of the 13th century. However, we also participate in events from 1066-1314, seeing in the Norman Invasion under William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings and the Scottish Wars of Independence with the Battle of Bannockburn.




Do I need to bring anything?


All you need for your first day is comfortable clothes and a drink (preferably water). What you find comfortable is up to you: jeans, shorts or joggers. Anything goes.




What will I be using and wearing?


We'll provide you with a helmet, gambeson (a padded jacket) and hard-leather gloves. Your focus at first will be training with a sword, training your muscle-memory with a balanced weapon. As you progress, we'll give access to shields, spears, maces and other weapons.




Is it safe?


Incredibly! The likelyhood of injury is incredibly slim due to several factors:

  • we pull our blows; we train to score points against our opponent, not to leave us too bruised and bloodied to return to work!
  • fighting style - We're trained in a very specific and largely unique system.
  • protective gear - Trust the equipment, it will protect you.
  • new people dont fight eachother - for the first few weeks you'll only find yourselves against people already trained and safe with the style.




What are shows like?


During shows we're hired to put on a display for the duration of an event. Our authentic camp, where you will be spending your time between combat displays, is a display in and of itself. We accomplish this by ensuring everything inside of the ropeline is authentic to the period. The tasks that need completing means the display makes itself:

  • Someone will be cutting wood for the fire
  • Debearing swords and axes with a whetstone
  • Repairing ripped clothing
  • Practicing combat skills
  • Cooking meals over the fire, and preparing food
While we take pride in our living history, our true pride will always be our combat. During the combat displays, we will often have the following:
  • Dress the Knight - Audience watches as the Knight is armoured and armed for a tournament.
  • Knightly Duel - Knights with distinctive personalities and combat styles clash.
  • Serjeant Clash - One or a team of Serjeants, professional soldiers and mercenaries of the age, fight for their Knight's honour and favour.
  • Household Melee - Knights and their full retinue all clash in a bid to beat the opposing Household.
  • Grand Melee - All fighters will fight in a free for all.





Hiring

What do you reenact?


Primarily, we reenact England and Europe during the later half of the 13th century. However, our base kit allows us to accurately recreate the period 1066-1314, from the Battle of Hastings to the Scottish Wars of Independence.




Is it safe?


Incredibly! Our fighters are trained for not only their own safety, but also that of each other and the audience.

  • Double Roped - The combat arena is double roped, forming a no-man's-land, to keep a distance between the combat and the audience.
  • Verbal Queue's - Our members are trained with specific commands that allow us to know something has went wrong, and we need to hold all combat. (e.g. a child has wandered into the arena)
  • Handled Weapons - Audience members are often given oppertunity to hold the weapons, but our members will always keep one hand at the end so that it cannot be swung
  • Careful Backswings - The fighters are trained to be wary of their surroundings, especially of people coming into reach of a sword swing.




Are you insured?


Yes, we have Public Liabiltiy Insurance from Hiscox Underwriting Ltd.




What can you provide?


We can provide an authentic Living History encampment throughout the duration of the event - an area that is fully authentic to the period. Inside the camp you may find:

  • An elevated fire used to cook our food.
  • Peasants cutting wood for the fire.
  • Craftsmen attending the production or maintenance of equipment .
  • Knights and sergeants honing their combat skills.
We'll also provide one or more 10-25 minute combat displays of a household tournament melee. During the display you may see:
  • Dress the Knight - Audience watches as the Knight is armoured and armed for the tournament about to ensue.
  • Knightly Duel - Named Knights with distinctive personalities and combat styles
  • Knight against two Sergeants or Levies.
  • Serjeant Clash - One or a team of Serjeants, professional soldiers and mercenaries of the age, fight for their Knight's honour and favour.
  • Household Melee - Knights and their full retinue all clash in a bid to beat the opposing Household.
  • Grand Melee - All fighters will fight in a free for all.
Aside from the Living History and Combat displays, we're also known to:
  • Static Displays - A table/stall to display weapons and armour, with members to talk to members of the public about the armour and the hobby.
  • School Displays/Talks - A break from the routine of the classroom to be able to handle some of the equipment they've been learning about, and hear new perspectives of the battles and politics of the Early Medieval Period, can be excellent for a child's learning. (Members with DBS checks)
  • Unarmoured duel/display - A look into the unarmoured duels of the period; HEMA.
  • Film work - Extras with a high level of equipment standard and familiarity with combat/safety.