Bringing History Alive!

Bringing history alive is the passion of Steaphen Fick, founder of the Davenriche Martial Artes School, located in San Jose and Gilroy, California. Based on an ancient European style of self-defence (old English spelling), students from age six to seventy-six learn how to safely swing swords, fight with long sticks, daggers and rapiers, and learn other techniques that were part of the tradition of knights centuries ago.

Fascinated by the "days of yore," Steaphen began sword fighting in full armor for a tournament company in 1989. Initially, he learned how to compete through what might be called the literal school of hard knocks. However, while on his honeymoon in Europe, he had the good fortune to spend over six months in Edinburg, Scotland, and on a return trip, was able to study 11 different weapons, as well as age-old wrestling techniques and styles.

Learning from dusty, old historical manuals sequestered away in libraries and museums, Steaphen studied and learned: the 14th-16th Century Long Sword the 16th -17th Century Three Musketeer's style Rapier the 16th Century Side Sword - cut and thrust the 15th Century Dagger - similar to our modern day dagger the 15th Century Billhook - a six foot pole with various blades, hooks, and Pugilism - the art of fencing with one's fists.

When the tournament company dissolved, Steaphen founded his school, Davenriche, as a way to continue to share his enjoyment of the art.

In addition to his adult classes in Long Sword Fencing, Pugilism, and Rapier and Dagger, and his Long Sword Fencing classes for children, Steaphen also offers a special class in street safety for women called, "Be Safe," in which women are taught how to best avoid potential harm, as well as four simple maneuvers to escape from an attacker.

Women who take Steaphen's classes consistently report feeling more confident in their ability to protect themselves. Teens who take Steaphen's classes also gain confidence, as well as experience a sense of fluidity, balance, awareness, and control over their bodies that other teens don't possess. Parents note that Steaphen's classes not only increase younger children's confidence, but help them also gain greater awareness of their bodies, their surroundings, and where other people are in relation to themselves.

While playing with swords is "fun," for the children, teens and adults who attend his classes, Steaphen is quick to emphasize that the techniques one learns can be used in situations where one needs to defend oneself. For example sword techniques can easily be applied to a cane, a pool cue, or a heavy cardboard tube. In the same way, the technique one learns with a dagger can be applied to a folded up newspaper or magazine, a pair of gloves, a purse strap or a closed umbrella.

Always one to share his passion, Steaphen gives demonstrations in schools, participates in international fencing tournaments, and teaches at international seminars, including the Western Martial Arts Workshops (WMAW). For the past two years, he has also hosted and organized the Renaissance Fencing Camp in San Jose. In addition, he is a member of the Association of Historical Fencing, and the Dawn Duelists Society of Edinburgh, Scotland.

Ready to step back into history? Be a "knight today!"

Contact: Davenriche Martial Artes School, Steaphen Fick, for information about upcoming classes.


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