Hungarian Polish Fencing – In Pollards Hill!

Who knew?

Hungarian Polish Fencing in Pollards Hill?

Well, we did, actually.

The entwined history of Poles and Hungarians and this old form of sabre fencing is little known.  Personally, and I know there are not a lot of British people who think in the same way as I do, I always had a little unanswered question itching at the back of my mind about Stephen Báthory.  His name LOOKED Hungarian but he was also revered in Poland and indeed there was a famous Polish ship named Stefan Batory. I am sorry to say I never got around to getting to the bottom of this historical conundrum.

That is, until last summer, the lovely Krzysztof Sienkeiwicz got in touch via our friends at the Polish Family Association.  Quite apart from the mischievous pleasure that it gave me to make my colleagues in the Bookings Team spell his name correctly on all the paperwork, the fact that Krzysztof is a very talented designer running AND that he too has a famous Polish surname – Sienkiewicz – I was also able to finally solve the Batory riddle.

Stephen Bathory was the Duke of Transylvania who was crowned on the Polish throne (for very complicated reasons I won’t go into here) in the 16th century.  During his reign, the Sabre was introduced as an essential part of a soldier’s equipment.  Sabres gradually replaced swords and gifted the rest of Europe with the Hussar sabre, which we now think of as a typically Polish weapon.

So because of Stephen Bathory, Hungarian fencing masters taught Polish craftsmen and fighters how to make sabres and how to use them in battle.  Poles, Hungarians and the art of sabres have been tied together ever since.

Today there are seven Hungarian-Polish Sabre Fencing Schools in Poland; in Warsaw, Lublin, Łódź and Wrocław.  They work closely with nine schools in Hungary run under the auspices of the Magyar Szablyavívó Iskola. The schools collaborate with many cultural institutions both in Poland and Hungary, such as the Embassy of Hungary in Warsaw, the Polish Army Museum, the Warsaw Museum of Independence, the Hungarian Cultural Institute in Warsaw, the Hungarian Military Museums of Budapest and Debrecen.

AND, the eighth school is in London, and last year, moved to the New Horizon Centre in Pollards Hill.

We are delighted to host this regular group of charming athletes, and were especially pleased when they agreed to take part in our Christmas Lights event in December.  There were a few children’s eyes on stalks at the sight of the sabres and the fencing stances.

This group meets on Tuesdays from 7pm.  They are looking for new students of this elegant and historic sport and art-form from all backgrounds.  Email to find out more.

Connect on Facebook: Sabre Fencing School London Facebook Page

Blog supplied by Naomi Martin, New Horizon Centre, Pollards Hill

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