John has been studying longsword since 2006 at Western Swordsmanship Technique and Research, after seeing them demo in a 4th of July parade. As a kid, he had always played with sticks, and was intrigued by the idea of learning that art more seriously. The opportunity to study two blocks from his house was too good to pass up, and he moved up quickly from student to teacher within the school, starting teaching in 2011.
As a teacher, John most enjoys imparting the nuances and techniques of German longsword skills. He is skilled at helping his students understand the finer mechanics of strong fundamentals in order to make them more effective. Having studied German translation in college, he brings his direct translation skills and knowledge of fighting techniques to old texts in order to make them accessible to his students.
When he’s not teaching, John also enjoys playing with polearms, peasant weapons, saber, fishing poles, woodworking, and gardens.
Jeremy has been studying HEMA since 2006 at WSTR and has been a lead instructor at the club since 2011. His background in classical and sport fencing – starting in 1997 as a competitor and later a coach at the University of Rochester and Weslyan University clubs – heavily influences the training pedagogy at WSTR. Training techniques in context is stressed, so that students learn both how to DO the technique and how to USE the techniques tactically in a fight.
In addition to the teen and adult program at WSTR, Jeremy has run a fencing program for teens and adults through East Haddam Parks and Rec and two youth groups at local schools, putting swords in the hands of kids as young as six.
For the past several years, Jeremy has been researching the fencing systems taught by the Berliner Turnschule in the early 19th century and has translated and published several manuals. Yes, he's that kind of sword geek.
Scott began studying at WSTR in 2017. He has always been interested in naval combat of the Napoleonic wars of the late 18th and early 19th century and wanted to learn to fight like Captain Jack Aubrey. To this aim, Scott has mostly focused his studies on military saber with forays into spadroon and smallsword. He is also studying cutlass, pistol, spear, musket and bayonet to round out his knowledge of all weapons used aboard ships.
Scott is also a passionate educator, and had over 10 years of experience teaching ballroom dancing and college biology before he began teaching swordsmanship. He loves to focus on the biomechanics of the techniques to find simple fixes that make large improvements in a student’s fencing.
A.J. began studying HEMA in 2005 at Western Swordsmanship Technique and research at the age of 12, after seeing a newspaper ad for the program. As his skills progressed over the years, he found himself teaching occasional classes on a variety of weapons, as well as filling in for John or Jeremy as needed.
A.J.'s martial background is in German longsword, though he has studied and taught messer, dussack, dagger, sword and buckler, and various polearms. In teaching, he emphasizes structure and minute adjustments in position, and how they impact techniques. He also enjoys teaching about the historical context and physical characteristics of each weapon, and the effect that they have on the techniques.
When he is not practicing, A.J. enjoys swordsmithing and researching historical examples of weapons.
Kyle began studying at WSTR in 2016, after getting way too into the Witcher franchise. After his wife caught him swinging a plastic sword around in the backyard, she decided that he should have some idea of what he's doing and signed him up for classes as a gift. What started as a casual interest in sword choreography revitalized his childhood love of martial arts, and he has since become a competitor, instructor, and coach at our school.
Kyle specializes in saber, dagger, and ringen (medieval German wrestling), as well as preparing our students for competition at local tournaments and events. He also has experience in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, Army Combatives, Tae Kwon DO, and Kempo Karate, and leverages his mixed experience to inform his teaching methodology and coaching strategies.
Ashley has been studying HEMA with WSTR since 2017. After being introduced to many weapons, Ashely found her true love for the rapier. She began to study various rapier masters from the 1600s and began teaching Italian rapier at WSTR. Her goal is to read as many of the masters as possible and to study the similarities and differences in the different styles. In addition to solo rapier, Ashley is also interested in studying rapier and dagger, as well as other weapons that can be paired with the rapier. While rapier is her passion, she continues to study other weapons such as smallsword, spadroon, and longsword.
When not practicing swords, Ashley is a proud (crazy) cat mom of three black cats and spends her time doing various crafts.