Meet the Team

At our full-time training venue in Glasgow, we have three dedicated members of staff. Each instructor is experienced, with a fully up-to-date nationally recognised first aid certificate and child protection training. We like to bring modern teaching science into our lessons, to provide the best and most effective learning environment for students.


Keith Farrell

Keith Farrell is one of the senior instructors for the Academy of Historical Arts, based in Scotland. He teaches HEMA professionally, often at international events, and has an interest in coaching instructors to become better teachers. He has authored Scottish Broadsword and British Singlestick and the AHA German Longsword Study Guide, and is one of the regular contributors to the Encased in Steel online blog. He has been a member of HEMAC since 2011, and was awarded a HEMA Scholar Award for Best Instructor for research published in 2013.


Keith Farrell

Trained and qualified first aider PVG checked for working with children HEMA instructor at The Vanguard Centre HEMA tournament winner Archery instructor at The Vanguard Centre Crafting instructor at The Vanguard Centre

Alex Bourdas

Alex Bourdas began training in 2008, with longsword as his primary discipline, although he has many other interests as well. He has a strong interest in correct body mechanics, particularly in regard to working towards fixing problems in stance, mobility and muscular imbalances for the sake of long term health. He co-authored the AHA German Longsword Study Guide together with Keith Farrell and hopes this will help to make German longsword more accessible and easier to understand. He has been a member of HEMAC since 2013, and was awarded a HEMA Scholar Award for Best Instructor for research published in 2013.


Alex Bourdas

Trained and qualified first aider PVG checked for working with children HEMA instructor at The Vanguard Centre Archery instructor at The Vanguard Centre

Tom Coady

Tom Coady has been teaching blacksmithing and crafting at the vanguard centre for over a year now. He specialises in teaching Blacksmithing, but has interests in woodworking, leathercraft, upholstery, coppersmithing, and stone carving which he has acquired over years of research towards lessons and craft projects. Sometimes teaching himself, sometimes learning from professionals with 40 years experience, his passion is being able to know every step of a craft project so he can better explain it in classes, and so he can take you through every step of how a piece would have been made historically.


Tom Coady

Trained and qualified first aider HEMA instructor at The Vanguard Centre Crafting instructor at The Vanguard Centre

Jonathan Spouge

Jonathan Spouge has been training HEMA since 2010. He has taught at clubs in Dundee, Helensburgh and Glasgow, and is now teaching regularly at the Academy's full time training centre in Glasgow city centre. His areas of expertise are longsword and the Scottish fighting arts. In his spare time, he pursues various artistic endeavours, is a whisky ambassador, and tells wonderfully appalling jokes.


Jonathan Spouge

Trained and qualified first aider PVG checked for working with children HEMA instructor at The Vanguard Centre HEMA tournament winner Archery instructor at The Vanguard Centre Crafting instructor at The Vanguard Centre

Ben Kerr

Ben Kerr is one of the senior instructors for the Academy of Historical Arts, currently based in Florida. He continues to work with the Scottish AHA team members in developing courses and events. Ben holds an MA and an MLitt in History with a focus on early modern and medieval combat training methods. Ben's HEMA interests are Scottish martial traditions and battlefield training. He also provides the training and development of the organisation's crafting instructors and his craft work has been featured in the Burrell Collection. He has produced facsimiles of various books within the Triquetra Collection and in 2015 reproduced the work of Donald McBane. He has been a member of HEMAC since 2012.


Ben Kerr

PVG checked for working with children HEMA instructor at The Vanguard Centre Archery instructor at The Vanguard Centre Crafting instructor at The Vanguard Centre

Key to the Symbols

Trained and qualified first aider Trained and qualified first aider
PVG checked for working with children PVG checked for working with children
HEMA instructor at The Vanguard Centre HEMA instructor at The Vanguard Centre
HEMA tournament winner HEMA tournament winner
Archery instructor at The Vanguard Centre Archery instructor at The Vanguard Centre
Crafting instructor at The Vanguard Centre Crafting instructor at The Vanguard Centre