Professor Mark P. Donnelly (S.S.S./ E.A.A./ B.F.H.S./ K.A.D.S./ H.M.C.A.) has been actively studying armed combat in various incarnations since 1982. After decades 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.
While in England he was one of the founding fathers of the British Federation of Historical Swordplay (BFHS). He became a full-time Historical Combat Instructor in 1998 and founded the Society for the Study of Swordsmanship (S.S.S.) which expanded to cover 7 chapters throughout the north of England accounting for roughly 150 students. He also created the Edenhill Academy of Arms in 2002 as a specialised research body. With Edenhill Academy (enjoying both an Anglican 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, the Royal Shakespeare Company 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 (you would have to ask someone who knows) and of S.W.A.S.H.-UK (Symposium on the Western Arts of Swordsmanship through History) which he organised and hosted on behalf of the BFHS at the Royal Armouries in Leeds for several years before eventually moving back to the US. Prof. Donnelly has been honoured 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; The American Smallsword Symposium, The International Sabre Symposium, The international Bartitsu Congress and, of course, S.W.A.S.H. as well as many others.
He has lectured on and demonstrated historical combat in the US at Hampton House, Johns Hopkins University, H.A.C.C, Amherst College and Fort McHenry. He currently resides in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania where he serves as the primary instructor for K.A.D.S. – The Keystone Academy of Dueling and Swordsmanship He is a life-time research associate with H.M. Royal Armouries in Leeds as well as with The Tower of London and with the National Maritime museum, at Greenwich. He is additionally an experienced stage combatant and licensed fight director. Professionally, 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 nearly thirty books currently in print (most of which focus on historical subjects). An article which appeared in a July 2011 issue of The Village Voice in New York City stated: “Donnelly [is] an articulate, polite and thoroughly charming gentleman firmly in possession of a subtle but sure confidence that comes with the ability to kick ass at will.”