Hi, my name is Matthew Howden and I’ve been researching and practicing the Historical European Martial Arts since the mid 1990s. Most of that time has been spent studying Gerard Thibault’s Academie de l’Espee, but I’ve also spent a lot of time translating and studying in a number of other traditions and weapon styles including work with the Liechtenauer mixed weapons tradition and some Spanish saber out of the Destreza tradition. During that time, I’ve also logged thousands of hours developing curriculum and teaching in regular ongoing classes, private lessons, and workshops.

I’ve started this website as an online home for some of my research and projects. I expect it to grow over time, but I’m currently working on three main projects:

  1. The Visual Thibault will be a collection of drill-form descriptions of technical exercises from Academie de l’Espee along with video interpretations of those exercises.
  2. The Visual Frias will, likewise be a collection of descriptions and exercises in written, photographic, and video formats from Simon de Frias’ Tratado Elemental de la Destreza del Sable, a saber treatise first published in 1809.
  3. Purpose Oriented Training is an attempt to move toward a more systematic approach to training and improvement in martial arts based on methods and approaches used in other pursuits that require a combination of technical precision and artistic flexibility such as music, dance, and the fine arts.

I hope that you find what I’ve put together here to be of some use and I welcome your questions and feedback.