thetruefight"the exercising of weapons puts away aches, griefs, and diseases, it increases strength, and sharpens the wits. It gives a perfect judgement, it expels melancholy, choleric and evil conceits, it keeps a man in breath, perfect health, and long life. It is unto him that has the perfection thereof, a most friendly and comfortable companion when he is alone, having but only his weapon about him. It puts him out of fear, & in the wars and places of most danger, it makes him bold, hardy and valiant." George Silver 1599

The True Fight

Learn Elizabethan English Backsword


Hi, I'm Oz.

I teach English Martial Arts as the Chief Instructor of the English Martial Arts Academy, and have been involved in HEMA for the best part of two decades now.

When I was younger I studied Karate, Shotokan to be precise, and it was only a snippet of overheard conversation that set me down the path I've been on ever since. I was at a re-enactment event and overheard two people talking about a medieval book that was written as a manual of swordfighting by a German swordsmaster called Talhoffer.

A large part of me didn't really think that such a thing existed, but it was a very appealing idea - a system of fighting created in Europe hundreds of years ago - and so I set out to try to find it if it really did exist.

Of course it did exist, and I found it eventually, but along the way I found something a lot more special.

I found George Silver's 1599 work "Paradoxes of Defence", and the later, unpublished work "Brief Instructions on my Paradoxes of Defence". I was instantly impressed by what Silver said, and not just because it was English.  He described some things that just made sense. That helped me look at fighting in a completely different way, a way that made me a better fighter without really trying. I dragged my friends outside, and handed them sticks, and slowy, over the course of many years, figured out exactly what Silver was saying.

I started a club to teach what I'd learned, and over the next 2 decades I developed a syllabus that not only made it easy for people to learn Silver's system, but made them great fighters.

So What's The Deal?

"The True Fight" is a monthly subscription course that allows you to learn the fighting art of the Elizabethan English Backsword wherever you are in the world.

It is based entirely on the tried and tested syllabus that has been used in the English Martial Arts Academy for many years.

Each month's lessons build on the previous month, so that you get a real depth of knowledge, allowing you to understand how to fight in the safest, most effective manner.

Whether you are already involved in HEMA, an SCA fighter, a LARPer, or a re-enactor, this will noticeably improve your swordsmanship.  And if you aren't already training with a sword there's no time like the present!  The True Fight helps you hit the ground running with the best possible start to your swordwork.

What do you get?

Video Tutorials

Each month has numerous videos all looking at specific areas of the subject in question. From explaining the original source material, to detailing how it fits in the context of the rest of the fight, to practical drills you can do to improve your swordfighting ability, the majority of the course is contained in videos.

Original Source Material

It is all well and good having a modern day Instructor explaining what it is you should be doing, but HEMA is based on ancient, effective, treatises.  And so the original source material is provided so you can read it for yourself.


George Silver's works are hundreds of years old, and two out of the three works are handwritten.  Because of this, reading them is a skill in itself.  Transcriptions are provided to enable you to follow them more closely.

Supporting PDFs

Because video can only teach you so much, and it is tricky to watch it as you practice, each technique has a supporting PDF that breaks it down into the stages you need to work through to make it effective.

Individual Learning Goals

Each month has a breakdown of individual learning goals provided in a printable check-list to enable you to maximise your learning throughout the course.  This course follows a tried and tested syllabus, and these goals ensure you reach your true potential with a sword.

Does It Actually Work?

If you mean Elizabethan English Backsword then yes, it really does.  There is no denying it.  For a while it fell out of favour due to the "modern" rapier being much more fashionable, but when the English Civil War started people very quickly ditched their slim thrusting blades and reverted back to exactly what George Silver recommended.

If you mean does the English Martial Arts Academy Syllabus work? Then yes, it really does. I've been teaching this for two decades and both me and my students have had all sorts of success with it.

If you mean does the online course work? Then it's best if I let you read the words of people who have done it.

Having spent several years studying HEMA I am always looking for new ways to supplement my training and and give me the edge in sparring whilst remaining true to the source material of Silver. The True Fight from is a great resource to help achieve this.

Martin Austwick's lessons provide instructions and insights into the use of the Backsword that keeps the seasoned practitioner interested and improving whilst remaining clear enough and easy enough for the newcomer to HEMA to follow.

Using The True Fight has helped me up my game in all aspect of Backswording, from the basics to the the more complex techniques and theories.

I'Il will be recommending this course to my fellow students.

Mark Randall

The modern world of HEMA is now rich with historical sources to many of the old masters' legacies. Rare, however, are those with functional experience in those legacies and, rarer still, are those with the ability to teach. Martin Austwick brings his extensive experience in pugilism, wrestling, and historic swordplay to bear in his interpretation and presentation of George Silver's treatises on backsword. Mr Austwick's new online program, gives fencers and scholars around the world an opportunity to dive into a unique and practical approach to swordfighting, from an age when fashion was threatening to suppress function. Through drills, facsimiles, transcriptions, and references to other period works, Mr Austwick has created a thorough, easy to use program that we, soldier or scholar, can all benefit from.

Chris Siren
Pittsburgh, PA

Martin Introduced me to classical Pugilism a few years ago which I thoroughly enjoyed. When he mentioned he was going to create a backsword training system for his students on-line I was sold! I'm am only in month 1 at the moment however its extremely well put together compared to other on-line courses I have used. It gives a beginner like me everything I need to know step by step with clear video instructions. Thoroughly enjoying it and I am looking forward to the coming months! Cant wait!

Scott Paterson

The course is straightfoward as the instructional videos Oz Austwick published in Youtube: simple and meaningfull. He tells what have to be told to transmit the knowledge but without overvaluing the 'mystical obscure biomechanical secret art'. He teaches Silver's Defense Principles and its application to backswords. That is it. No beating around the bush.

Rafael Ramos da Costa

I have been practicing martial arts and live roleplaying for more than a decade. In that time the HEMA I have been practising with Oz is the first martial art which I have been able to apply directly to my LARP fighting. Oz’s teaching style is excellent and he is a master of breaking complicated techniques into very simple drills. His online course exemplifies this with an elegant combination of explanatory videos, pictures of the original manuscripts and transcriptions as well as well-structured goals to ensure achievement and progression. I highly recommend both his online courses and getting tuition from the man himself.

Dave Thompson

What Does It Cost?

It's really important to me that this is completely open and transparent.  There are a lot of people out there who will try to hide the true costs of their programs, and if I'm being honest I think that is despicable.

So I'll lay this out in as straightforward way as possible. If you sign up today it will cost you $10.  That gets you complete and full access to month 1 of the course.  There are no extra fees, no hidden charges and no commitments to a minimum membership term.

If you don't want to continue, then you can simply cancel your membership.  If you do want to continue you will be billed at $25 a month from then on.

Each month a new page containing a complete set of drills, lessons, and learning goals will appear as if by magic. I'm so confident that you will like this course, that I'm willing to guarantee it.

100% 30 Day Money Back Guarantee

I know it’s cheesy, but I think it is important. If you sign up for The True Fight and decide within 30 days that it isn’t worth it, just give me a shout and I’ll refund you your money.

All Payment details are encypted and payments take place via secure servers and are part of the English Martial Arts Academy, all materials remain the exclusive property of the English Martial Arts Academy and must not be reproduced or shared without prior, written permission.