Bringing history alive is the passion of Steaphen Fick, founder of the Davenriche Martial Artes School (DEMAS), located in Santa Clara and Morgan Hill. Based on an ancient European style of self-defence (old English spelling), students from age six to seventy-six learn how to safely swing swords, fight with long sticks, daggers and rapiers, and learn other techniques that were part of the tradition of knights centuries ago.
Fascinated by the "days of yore," Steaphen began sword fighting in full armor for a tournament company in 1989. Initially, he learned how to compete through what might be called the literal school of hard knocks. However, while on his honeymoon in Europe, he had the good fortune to spend over six months in Edinburg, Scotland, and on a return trip, was able to study 11 different weapons, as well as age-old wrestling techniques and styles. Steaphen studied and learned:
14th-16th Century Long Sword
16th -17th Century Rapier
16th Century Side Sword
15th Century Dagger
19th Century Sabre
When the tournament company dissolved, Steaphen founded his school, DEMAS, as a way to continue to share his enjoyment of the art. In addition to his adult classes in Long Sword Fencing, and Rapier and Dagger, and his Long Sword Fencing classes for children, Steaphen also offers a special class in street safety for women called, "Be S.A.F.E." (Secure, Aware and Free Empowered) in which women are taught how to best avoid potential harm, as well as simple maneuvers to escape from an attacker.
While playing with swords is "fun," for the children, teens and adults who attend his classes, Steaphen is quick to emphasize that the techniques one learns can be used in situations where one needs to defend oneself. For example sword techniques can easily be applied to a cane, a pool cue, or a heavy cardboard tube as well as the open hand. In the same way, the technique one learns with a dagger can be applied to a folded up newspaper or magazine, a pair of gloves, a purse strap or a closed umbrella. These techniques also work with your bare hands.
Steaphen is currently working on a new project called International Medieval Tournament Association (IMTA) that will bring armoured tournaments to the public. This association is based upon boxing and MMA rules, and will allow the public to watch a medieval tournament with all the excitement and thrills without all the role playing of renaissance faires or re-enactment groups.
The IMTA's goal is to bring the medieval martial arts into the 21st century. While there are many groups and schools around that may have different interpretations of the medieval arts, and the students of each will steadfastly support theirs as the best interpretation, the arena will tell the truth of their research and practice.
If you haven't been to our school before, please refer to our directions. Your G.P.S. may misguide you.