Chris has a lifelong love of swords, and as a kid would swing around a wooden sword he made himself.
- In 2010, he began learning the Italian Longsword of Fiore de’i Liberi with Schola Saint George in Charleston, South Carolina.
- In 2014 he started training German Longsword with Eric Wiggins and helped build the HEMA subgroup within Ordo Procinctus in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
- Since 2016 he has lived in Pittsburgh, PA, and in June 2017 he started Steel City Historical Fencing with his wife Ashleigh Hobbs and Jim Brooks.
Chris has a natural love of teaching, and emphasizes the importance of reading the source material. He encourages students to explore and figure out what works for them. Most importantly, he is always willing to work with students one on one, whether they need a concept broken down or want to go more in-depth into the material.
Chris has won more than a dozen medals in Open Steel Longsword competitions since 2015, including first place at the Arnold Fencing Classic 2018 and Fechtschule New York 2017.
- In 2000 Jim Brooks began his journey into swordplay when he joined a historical living history group in Southern California. His first weapons were pike and dussack.
- In 2010 Jim joined Kron Martial Arts and the HEMA community. There he began studying the manuals of Talhoffer, Liechtenauer, Ringeck and Meyer.
- Upon relocating to Pittsburgh in 2014, he searched for fellow sword enthusiasts. This was met with some success, and lead to his focus on teaching Liechtenauer’s Longsword and Meyer’s Dussack.
His goal has always been to spread the knowledge and love of these arts. As an instructor, Jim encourages studying the primary historical sources, and provides a patient, nurturing environment for each student. He understands that everyone learns in different ways, at different rates. Jim has a desire for each person to experience confidence and success in their study of HEMA.
Ashleigh handles all the details of running SCHF, such as finances, event coordination, public relations, marketing, and recruitment. She learned some Italian Longsword in 2010, and has been practicing German Longsword since 2015. She has three Silver medals in Open Steel Women’s Longsword tournaments, from Swordsquatch 2016 in Seattle and SERFO 2016 & 2017 in Atlanta.
She is now in her second year serving on the Governing Council of the HEMA Alliance, a national non-profit community service organization. She also works as Customer Service for Purpleheart Armoury, the largest distributor of HEMA gear in North America.
While living in Louisiana, Ashleigh provided the same administrative role at Ordo Procinctus HEMA. During that time the Southern Historical Fencing League was created, and she played a major role in its establishment and function until moving to Pittsburgh in 2016.