Terry Brown is the man who introduced England’s indigenous fighting systems to modern audiences. It was Terry (who began his research in 1979) who coined the expression English martial arts, the name by which these fabulous fighting arts are now known throughout the world.
Martial arts schools (or scholes of fence) were known to have existed in England at least as early as the 12th century giving English martial arts a provenance of at least nine centuries. This means that English martial arts are actually older than many oriental martial arts being taught today.
From at least as early as the 1500’s English martial arts were controlled by a legally recognise company of maisters (masters) of defence which was the title given to martial arts masters in England. The ranks within English martial arts are scholler, free scholler, provost, maister. From scholler to provost (the first teaching rank) took a minimum seven years. From provost to maister took a further five years making a minimum of twelve years from beginner to master.
English martial arts encompass the use of a huge variety of weapons, for example, halbard, forest bill, black bill, battle-axe, tipstaff, shortstaff (quarterstaff), longstaff, threshalls (corn flails), spear, pitchfork, backsword, broadsword, sword & dagger, sword & buckler, sword & target, bastard sword, two-hand sword, falchion, seax, single cudgel, double cudgels. To which must be added barefist boxing and wrestling at which the English also excelled.