Chris Halpin – Head Coach / Club Owner

Chris studied a variety of martial arts arts such as karate, jujutsu, iaido, iaijutsu and kobudo before discovering European martial arts, eventually leading him to found the York School of Defence in 2013. The YSD is Chris’s full time profession, as such he has a diverse range of interrelated research interests including catch wrestling, pugilism, English longsword, broadsword/backsword, quarterstaff, and KDF. He also very much enjoys Filipino martial arts and also teaches a small eskrima class alongside a modern self defence session.

Lauren Ireland – Assistant Coach / Youth Coach

Lauren was introduced to historical European martial arts via the York School of Defence and discovered a love for Kunst Des Fechtens, especially the use of the langes messer, alongside a passion for wrestling and Victorian and Edwardian martial systems. Lauren is available for private lessons in Bartitsu, Suffrajitsu and related arts, and is steadily progressing with her research into the langes messer and other aspects of KDF. Lauren currently does an amazing job running up our youth and children’s classes at the YSD.

Lauren Stokeld – Safeguarding Officer

Lauren joined the York School of Defence in 2017 and has been a loyal member of the group, training a variety of disciplines to a high level and helping coach newer students in their first steps at the club. In 2021 Lauren stepped up to the role of safeguarding officer, she works tirelessly to ensure that that all the necessary steps are being taken to protect the people in the YSD should the need arise, and that we are fully compliant with safeguarding codes of conduct. Lauren enjoys training with the langes messer, quarterstaff, and wrestling regularly.

Mollie Dog – Morale Officer

Mollie the Wonder Sprollie, AKA Mollerina Bumblesnoot, is a spaniel-collie cross rescue who lives with us at our home in York. She sometimes pops down to our training venue to say hello, but if you visit for private lessons you will undoubtedly, if you so wish, get to meet her and give her pats, cuddles and shower her with affection for being a very good dog.