Ben Kerr

Ben Kerr

Brief Summary

Ben has always had a great fascination with history, and while living in the United States during his teenage years, he pursued this fascination relentlessly. In 1998 he contacted the HACA (run by John Clements) with regards to learning HEMA, which spurred his initial learning of the European sword arts beginning with the study of the German Longsword (mainly Talhoffer). The same year he began studying Okinawan Karate and later went on to specialise in, then teach, the Okinawan Weapon Arts, culminating in becoming a black belt in 2004.

He took up bagpiping in 2002 and qualified as a piper in 2003 where he went on to work with and perform for Palm Beach Pipes and Drums, Donald Trump, Universal Studios, the US Marine Corps, Florida Renaissance Festival and the British Army. At the same time he also began training in various heritage crafts, but most notably as a blacksmith. Prior to leaving the US he was awarded with a recognition of his devotion to the study of Historical Arts and swore an oath to his instructors that he would "learn all he could and teach all he knew"...this became his guiding motto.

In 2006 after returning to the UK to attend university, he founded the GUCDS as a way of fulfilling his oath. From the GUCDS grew the concept of forming the Academy and founding other groups as well. He continues to study HEMA, Heritage Crafting and Music, but is now strongly focused on training others to instruct these subjects, as this allows a much greater reach than he could manage alone. His primary HEMA interests are the study of battlefield combat and the training of individuals to take part in this activity. His two degrees have focused on this, and his Masters thesis caused his intense interest in the Highland Broadsword and Targe.

For contributions to the HEMA community, Ben received membership of HEMAC in 2012.

Quick links to items on this page:

- Teaching Experience
- Research, Editing & Collaborative Work
- Published Books
- HEMA Disciplines Studied
- Traditional Crafts Studied
- Musical Disciplines Studied
- HEMA Tournament and Competitive Experience
- Qualifications, Awards and Achievements
- Rates and Fees for Hire

Teaching Experience

Prior to founding the Academy, Ben was an instructor of Okinawan Weaponry and was also an instructor within the US Scouting Organisation.

As one of the founders and original instructors within the Academy, Ben has been instrumental in designing and teaching at almost all of the events run by the organisation. He also regularly teaches the new instructors within the organisation and works to develop the training of groups such as referees.

Since 2007 he has taught at the GUCDS in Glasgow and is a regular instructor at the SBC.

He is the senior music instructor within the AHA Corps of Musicians, teaching Highland Bagpipes.

He is also the senior crafting instructor within the organisation.

He has taught at several events throughout Scotland, including:
- AHA Loch Lomond
- HEMAC Glasgow
- AHA Vanguard

Outside of the Academy, Ben teaches annually at FightCamp and also teaches in Florida during his time there. He is unable to work outside of the UK and USA due to immigration issues at this time but hopes to begin instructing at other European and events further afield once his immigration status is cleared up.

Published Books

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
Roworth, Charles; Ben Kerr and Keith Farrell (eds.). The Art of Defence on Foot, 1798. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, October 2014. ISBN 978-0-9926735-2-9.

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
Angelo, Henry; Ben Kerr and Keith Farrell (eds.). The Guards and Lessons of the Highland Broadsword, 1799. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, October 2014. ISBN 978-0-9926735-3-6.

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
McBane, Donald; Ben Kerr (ed.). The Expert Sword-Man's Companion, 1728. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, January 2015. ISBN 978-0-9926735-5-0.

book cover
(More information about this book and where you can purchase it.)
Farrell, Keith (ed.). Encased in Steel Anthology I. Glasgow: Fallen Rook Publishing, March 2015. ISBN 978-0-9926735-6-7.

HEMA Disciplines Studied

- 15th century German longsword (for duelling)
Ben stopped studying this in 2007 a decade after being introduced to the sources by John Clements. He no longer practises any longsword discipline but hopes to return to it in the future.

- 15th century German messer
(main source: Talhoffer)

- 17th/18th century Scottish broadsword and targe
(main sources: Page, McBane, Penicuik Sketches)
This was the subject of his Masters thesis and is currently Ben's primary discipline.

- 17th/18th century Scottish regimental broadsword
(main sources: Angelo, Roworth/Taylor, Sinclair, Hope)

- Various missile weapons, with a special interest in the fustibola.

Ben's primary interest is in the battlefield arts and training people to work as units for battlefield combat.

Traditional Crafts Studied

Ben is the senior craftsman within the organisation and is constantly studying and practising a wide variety of traditional crafts. His work has been exhibited in Fashion Shows, Stage Productions, Galleries, and most recently in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow.

Some of his disciplines include:
- Leather work, with mastery in Cuir Bouille
- Blacksmithing
- Wood carving
- Musical instrument production
- Blade hilting
- Chainmaille
- Armouring
- Tent design and production
- Crossbow production
- Fletching
- Casting

HEMA Tournament and Competitive Experience

Ben hasn't competed in any recent tournaments of note after an accident during military training that damaged his knees. Instead he has put his energy into his role as a Senior Referee, and has worked to develop a professional and trained team of referees within the Academy, referees who are capable of meeting the ever-rising demands of the modern tournament.

Qualifications, Awards and Achievements

- leather work was exhibited in the Burrell Collection in Glasgow (2013)
- awarded Master Craftsman status for work into Cuir Bouille (2013)
- completed the training for an Emergency First Aid at Work certificate from St. Andrew's First Aid (2012)
- received membership of HEMAC (2012)
- received membership of the AHA Corps of Instructors (2011)
- graduated with a MLitt in War Studies from the University of Glasgow (2010)
- graduated with a MA(Hons) in History and Celtic Civilisation from the University of Glasgow (2009)
- completed the MTQ1 with the British Army (2008)
- received his Black Belt in traditional Goju Ryu Karate (2004)
- qualified as a bagpiper through Palm Beach Pipes and Drums, was awarded a scholarship from the Scottish American Society to attend the North American Academy of Pipes and Drums (2004)