Mark Donnelly profile

Professor Mark P. Donnelly (S.S.S./ E.A.A./ B.F.H.S./ S.W.A.S.H.) has been studying armed combat in various incarnations for roughly 27 years. After years of research and training in the disparate disciplines of western martial arts, sport fencing, stage combat, tournament fighting and eastern martial disciplines, he moved from the US to England in 1996 to undertake a PhD in Medieval Archaeology through York and Oxford Universities.

While in England he was one of the founding fathers of the British Federation of Historical Swordplay (BFHS) (along with Paul MacDonald, Andrew Feest, Milo Thurston, Guy Windsor and Mark Hillyard).

He began teaching full-time in 1998 when he founded the Society for the Study of Swordsmanship (S.S.S.) which has expanded over the last 10 years to cover 7 different schools throughout the north of England accounting for 100-150 students. These schools can be found in Sheffield, Leeds, York, Durham, Whitby, Hartlepool, and Newcastle. It was due to his work with the S.S.S. and the B.F.H.S. that he was awarded the title of Professor of Arms.

He also created the Edenhill Academy of Arms in 2002 as a specialised research body dedicated to uncovering and translating hitherto forgotten and/or lost combat treatises and military manuals. With Edenhill Academy (enjoying both a Bishop and a Royal Prince as patrons), he has worked with HM Royal Monuments, English Heritage, the National Trust, National Maritime museum at Greenwich, Sandhurst Military Academy, as well as the HMS Trincomalee, HMS Victory, The Cutty Sark and the Grand Turk.

Prof. Donnelly is also the auteur of both the Tontine and of S.W.A.S.H.-UK (Symposium on the Western Arts of Swordsmanship through History) which he has organised and hosted on behalf of the BFHS at the Royal Armouries in Leeds for the last several years. S.W.A.S.H. rapidly became not only the biggest and most respected historical western martial art event in Great Britain, but one of the biggest and most prestigious events in Europe.

Prof. Donnelly has been instructing full time (daily) within Britain for over ten years and in that time has been honoured to be invited to instruct at major national and international events such as: F.I.S.A.S. in Verbania, Italy; H.E.M.A.C. at Dijon in France; A.E.E.M.A. in Madrid; A.R.G.O. in Prague; B.F.H.S. AGMs and Instructor Training; and, of course, S.W.A.S.H. as well as many others.

He is a life-time research associate with Her Majesties Royal Armouries in Leeds England as well as with The Tower of London and with the National Maritime Museum, at Greenwich.

Professionally, Mr. Donnelly writes and produces historical documentaries for: Discovery Channel Networks; History Channel International; National Geographic; PBS; BBC; and several other international affiliates.

He is also the author and/or co-author of over a dozen books currently in print (most of which focus on historical subjects).

In October of 2008 Prof. Donnelly returned to the US for both personal and professional reasons. He currently resides in Pennsylvania and is looking forward to meeting the New World contingent of instructors and students as he fears he may be in danger of going into teaching withdrawal.

25 thoughts on “Mark Donnelly profile”

  1. I met Mark thru Thomas at Bruteforce and visited him this last Monday with my fiancée Stacy. If he wants to teach with new students I would be honored to learn Bartitsu.

  2. Thoroughly enjoyed the bartitsu sessions at Steampunk World’s Fair in May! My husband and I wished we could have gone to the workshop in NYC last month, but we had a schedule conflict (kung fu exam). We enjoyed his session on a brief history of the sword and would have gone to another of his sessions but there wasn’t enough room to fit everyone!

    There’s another Steampunk event in Fitchburg, MA, mid-September. Would the professor have time for it, perhaps? It looks like it will be well-attended; in fact registration is doing well enough that they’ve already booked an even larger venue for 2012, in CT. Web site is: (The Greater New England Steampunk Exhibition).

    Have a lovely day!

  3. My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting Mark at the 2012 Steam Punk Fair in NJ. He is an excellent lecturer and exceptional instructor. Not onlly did he share a wealth of information on the various martial arts and history of swordsmanship, he also was able in just a 1 h session impart a good foundation of self defense techniques that both my wife and I found both informative and quite valuable
    Without a doubt, he’s a great teacher and someone who truly enjoys sharing his knowledge.

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