Robert Brooks is a professional Historical Fencing teacher, founder of the Hotspur School of Defence and a former President of the British Federation for Historical Swordplay (BFHS).
A native of North East England, Rob has taught nationally and internationally, including Bologna, Italy; Valetta, Malta; Antwerp, Belgium; Bremen and Hamburg, Germany; Utrecht, Netherlands; Vigo, Spain; Pretoria and Cape Town, South Africa.
As a teenager he became a keen sport fencer, studying under the reknowned Professor Pat Pearson and excelling in sabre.
In 1994 Robert joined the fledgling Dawn Duellists Society in Edinburgh, alongside Guy Windsor and Paul Macdonald, while studying at the city’s Napier University. The DDS went on to become one of the world’s oldest and most respected HEMA groups and is still going strong more than 20 years since its foundation.
Robert was a founding member of the BFHS, serving as its Secretary from 1998 to 2004, and was elected President in September 2013. He is also a fully-qualified BFHS Instructor and Assessor.
In 2003, he established the Hotspur School of Defence, which has become a respected name within the international HEMA community for its study of medieval combat treatises dating from 1389 to 1482. The School has a firm focus on German and Italian sources, teaching the following disciplines – longsword, messer, arming sword and buckler, dagger, wrestling, pollaxe, and spear.
In 2012, the HSD was invited to become one of the founding schools of the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association, a confraternity of like-minded HEMA schools across the world which promotes the ideals of historical fidelity to the study of ancient treatises.
Although an ardent medievalist, Robert has retained a great passion for 19th Century swordplay including sabre and the Italian spada (epee) and owns an original copy of Agesilao Greco’s 1912 treatise on duelling.
He has also conducted extensive personal studies of Highland broadsword, greatsword, dussack, duelling shield, smallsword, duelling sabre, spada da lato, Italian cane and Italian bastone (great stick) over the last 23 years.
In 2013, he was asked to join the Jury of the first ever HEMA Scholar Awards.
In 2017, Robert was approached to join the instructing team at Global Security Centre, an elite UK-Polish training company founded by Close Protection and Military Contractor operatives along with extensively experienced security specialists.
He has also appeared as an expert consultant in the BBC4 documentary ‘Britain’s Pompeii: A Village Lost in Time’, as well as having screentime in the US television series Ancient Assassins and a three-part Channel 5 documentary on the life of Elizabeth I.