Active Instructors

Active instructors are either ranked or provisionally ranked instructors who are teaching independent classes at NYHFA branches. Although holding Rank 3 is required to be an active instructor, there can be exceptions in the absence of those holding such a rank when the instructor in question has demonstrated sufficient skill, knowledge and capability. 

The following instructors are listed in no particular order. 


Jay Tsulis

Rank 3a
Head Instructor, NYC Branches

Jay Tsulis started his HEMA studies with NYHFA and has been practicing since April 2015. He is a veteran of the international special operations community and uses the insights he acquired over combat tours in multiple theaters to increase his understanding of the art and spread that understanding to others.  

Director, Longpoint Historical Fencing League, April 2019 - Present
Director of HEMA Programs, Sword Class NYC, July 2019 - Present


Flower of Battle 2019, PA, USA
1st Place, Ringen (Heavyweight)
1st Place, Dagger (Heavyweight)

Clash of Claymores 2019, PA, USA
2nd place, Premier Longsword

Longpoint Historical Fencing League 2018

Top 8

Long Island Point 2018, NY, USA

Top 8 Medalist, Open Longsword

Steel City Open, 2018, PA, USA
2nd Place Open Longsword

Wrath Point 2018, WV, USA
1st Place, Open Longsword

Long Island Point 2017, NY, USA
Tournament Champion
Technical Excellence Award
1st Place, Paired Technique

Fechtschule NY 2017, NY, USA
3rd Place, Longsword Biathlon

Fechtschule New York 2016, NY, USA
3rd Place, Longsword Biathlon
Finalist, Cutting

Seminars, Classes and Presentations

Preparing for Competition, Clash of Claymores 2019
Fuhlen and Indes as One Principle, Longpoint 2019
Fuhlen and Indes as One Principle, Long Island Point 2018
Fuhlen and Indes as One Principle, Wraith Point, 2018


Steven Viani

Rank 3a
Instructor, Longsword, Chapter “City”

Steven Viani was one of the original members at NYHFA NYC. He currently teaches beginner longsword classes and assists with the teaching of intermediate students at NYHFA's NYC branch.


Longpoint 2014, MD, USA
3rd Place, Paired Technique


Peter Concannon

Rank 3a
Instructor, Longsword, Chapter “Montgomery County”

Peter Concannon has been interested in martial arts and medieval history since childhood. He has a background in judo, jujutsu and aikido. In college he studied under Dr. Steven Pearlman and began approaching the study of martial arts in terms of their fundamental and universal principles. He began studying Historical European Martial Arts, specifically Liechtenauer’s Kunst Des Fechtens, under Tristan Zukowski of the New York Historical Fencing Association in 2013 and shortly after began studying and teaching dagger combat, using the works of Fiore Dei Liberi and other medieval and renaissance masters as a guide and relying on his previous experience to interpret their intent. He began fencing competitively in late 2013.


Longpoint 2017, MD, USA
2nd place, Paired Technique

Lord Baltimore’s Challenge 2018, MD, USA
1st place, Sidesword

Long Island Point 2017, NY, USA
1st place, Paired Technique

Longpoint 2017, MD, USA
2nd place, Paired Technique

IGX 2013, MA, USA
1st place, Basic Longsword


Jeff Kim

Rank 2
Head Instructor, Chapter “Rensselaer”

Jeff Kim is one of the better-travelled members of NYHFA, having started in Kron and South Coast Swords in the summer of 2016 then transitioned to Mike Edelson’s upstate branch the following autumn. Being fortunate enough to consistently train under 2 schools, Jeff was quickly brought up to speed on a variety of fencing theories and traditions. After studying and practicing for 3 years and competing for 2, Jeff turned what started as a means of spiritual and physical therapy into a lifelong passion. Jeff teaches at NYHFA Rensselaer, and at times either assists or runs classes at the mothership branch (NYHFA North).  


Flower of Battle 2019, PA, USA
2nd place, Premier Longsword

Longpoint 2019, MD, USA
4th place, Light Pentathlon

Capitol Clash 2019, VA, USA

1st Place, Cutting
4th Place, Open Longsword

Longpoint Historical Fencing League 2018

Top 8

Long Island Point 2018, NY, USA
2nd Place, Sword & Buckler

Iron Gate Exhibition, 2018, MA, USA

Combined Award (top ranking overall competitor)
1st place, Cutting

All's Faire HEMA Tournament, 2018, WA, USA
1st place, Open Steel Longsword
3rd place, Longsword Cutting

Queen's Gambit, 2018, NC, USA
2nd place, Longsword Biathlon
3rd place, Longsword Cutting


Jose Neves

Rank 2
Instructor, Longsword, Chapter “North”

Jose Neves, a father of 3, started studying HEMA in late 2016. He began his training as a form of physical therapy, having lost much of his strength and coordination after suffering a stroke.  HEMA helped him recover almost completely, and in the process became his passion. Alongside his longsword studies, he is looking into styles and weapons from his native Portugal. 

Jose teaches the beginner class at the NYHFA North Saugerties location. 


Peter Haas

Rank 1
Instructor, Longsword / Messer, Chapter “City”

Peter J. Haas is the Creative Director and co-founder of Squinting Rabbit Productions, a media company that fuses his passion for HEMA and his career as a writer and editor for film and television.  A practitioner of Liechtenauer’s Longsword, Langes Meßer, and Toyama Ryū, Haas created the Kollektiv des Messerfechtens in July of 2018 to promote the study of the German Langes Meßer through a variety of historical and contemporary contexts.  He is ambivalent towards turtles, but finds the peregrine to be a majestic example of nature’s apathy to our existence. He fell to planet HEMA in 2015 holding a Lime-A-Rita. [Photo credit: Deena Sadek]

Co-Founder and Creative Director, Squinting Rabbit Productions, 2016 – Present


Hildo Biersma

Rank 1
Instructor, Sword and Buckler, Chapter “City”

Hildo Biersma started started with NYHFA in 2014 and teaches our sword & buckler class. He previously led the sword & buckler and dagger study groups. ]

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Patrick J Paglen

Rank 1
Instructor, Longsword / Dagger, Chapter “City”

Patrick J Paglen was introduced to Historical European Martial Arts in 2016, coming with a decades-long background in other martial arts, especially Filipino Martial Arts, where he has participated and medaled in international tournaments through the World Escrima Kali Arnis Federation. He currently teaches medieval Dagger as well as longsword.


Longpoint 2017 MD, USA
2nd Place, Paired Technique


Stelian Serban

Rank 1
Instructor, Longsword / Sabre, Chapter “City”

Stelian Serban has been a member of NYHFA since 2015, regularly attending classes at the NYC chapter. As a HEMA practitioner, his weapons of interest are the longsword and, lately, the Polish saber. He has acted as organizer at the seminar “Schwertübungen Siebenbürgen”, in Sighisoara, Romania, both in 2017 and 2018

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Kenny Mai

Rank 2
Instructor, Longsword / Spear, Chapter “City”

Kenny Mai joined NYFHA in late 2015. His studies include Late Medieval German and Italian longsword, Renaissance German staff, spear, and polearms, and Northern Italian foil and rapier. He is an active practitioner of both HEMA and Classical Fencing.


Katie Kopajtic

Rank 0
Assn Instructor, Physical Ed, Chapter “City”

Katie Kopajtic started her HEMA training in 2017. In addition to her performing arts career she is a Tier 3+ Personal Trainer and Swim Coach with Equinox. Certifications include Precision Nutrition, Pre / Post Natal and StrongFirst Girya Level 1 (Kettlebell). She currently teaches “HEMA Brain x Body”, a HEMA-specific physical education program.


Flower of Battle 2019, PA, USA
Finalist, Rookie Longsword