Black Flag HEMA is a Historical European Martial Arts club located in North Tampa. Our key philosophy is "Equality, bravery, and exploration." Members of the club are expected to treat each other as equals, be brave against both opponents and personal hurdles, and always be exploring new interpretations, texts, techniques, and methods to better themselves and the club.
We have a zero-tolerance policy towards bullying, sexism, racism, and excessive force. There is no reason to gatekeep this art and hobby, nor is there ever a reason to endanger the mental or physical well-being of a clubmate. Resident or visiting fencers will be asked to leave if they cannot adhere to these standards, or if they exhibit behavior that signals they are a danger to themself or others.
Club curriculum can vary significantly. The longsword curriculum is primarily derived from the works of 16th Century master Joachim Meyer, which has led to the study of the dussack and dagger curriculums and cross-comparison with contemporary masters. The rapier curriculum is primarily developed from Capo Ferro's 1610 Manuscript, especially Guy Windsor's interpretations and translations, although there is the occasional bit of Giganti or Fabris as well. Saber/broadsword curriculum begins with Allanson-Winn's Sabre Exercise for foundations, and then moves to more complex sources like Roworth, Taylor or McBane.
Black Flag HEMA is a HEMA Alliance Affiliate Club.
About Black Flag HEMA
Club Founder/Lead Instructor
With the rich Tampa Bay tradition of swashbuckling pirates, Black Flag HEMA was founded by Tampa-native Alexander Craddock with the goal of creating an inclusive, practical, and exciting environment to practice HEMA in the North Tampa area.
Alexander began learning sword work and martial arts as a stage combatant in 2006 and fencer in 2007, which would eventually include Kunst des Fechtens, Northern Shaolin, Italian Rapier, classical fencing, and several other disciplines. Alex has both trained and fenced in tournaments on three continents, and holds medals in both longsword and rapier competition.
Along with teaching at BFH, Alex also choreographs and trains the stage combat performers and fire dancers for METROCON in Tampa.
Rapier Free Scholar:
Brian has over a decade of fencing experience in rapier and accessory weapons, with a focus on 15th and 16th century Italian and English systems. Brian participates in the SCA as Don Brian Robertson, and has received many accolades for service, chivalry and martial skill. Brian embodies the goals and principals of the club through active inclusion and participation.
Longsword Free Scholar:
Seth is a long-time stage combat veteran, and has added Meyer's Longsword to his repertoire beginning in 2016. Additionally, Seth brings teaching experience from the theatrical environment that is both broad and deep, and seeks to ensure both accessibility and skill progression in every lesson.
Ranking at Black Flag HEMA is a simple system, based on skill progression, commitment, and exhibition of the core values of the club.
MEMBER - All new club members are simply that - members. Enjoy your new sword hobby!
SCHOLAR - Upon completion of your "patch test", you are given the club patch to affix to your jacket. The test is a simple skills test, and only must be completed for your primary area of study (rapier, saber, or longsword). You are now free to "move about the cabin" of HEMA, representing our club at tournaments and events safely and proudly. You may also begin exploring other source material, weapons, etc. with the blessing of the club. Scholars are distinguished by the Black Flag patch on their jacket/kit.
FREE SCHOLAR - Senior club members who have demonstrated the ability to assist with instruction in at least their primary weapon or area of study, and potentially to lead instruction for Scholar-level members on their own. Free Scholars are expected to be able to help coach fencers to improve their practical skills, as well as have an understanding of the historical source material to build lessons and answer questions. Free Scholars are distinguished by a blue sash around their offhand calf/leg.
PROVOST - Provost is the highest achievable rank in the club. Provosts are expected to be able to lead class on their own, to test Scholars for their patch, and to be fluent in all styles the club offers (at least enough to provide feedback and informed coaching to students of the style). Provosts often will travel to participate and exchange knowledge at larger events around the globe, and disseminate that knowledge to the club. Provosts are distinguished by a red sash around their offhand calf/leg.