A CARLISLE combat group is encouraging people to get involved with 'history in an active way'.

The Exiles Carlisle is a branch of a national group which specialises in a number of different forms of combat including unarmed, dagger, and longsword fighting that feature on a 15th-century Italian manuscript, the Fiore dei Liberi.

Unlike other manuscripts from the same time period, the Fiore features a number of pictures as well as descriptive text, with the group, which was formed in the city in 2018 by Mark Lancaster, mixing the examination of this historical text with a practical application of combat.

News and Star: The group trains its members to wield weapons such as longswordsThe group trains its members to wield weapons such as longswords (Image: The Exiles Carlisle)

Dave Reynolds has been a member of The Exiles Carlisle since 2020 and explained in more detail what the group is about.

He said: "We do two classes a week with a big mix of members, a mix of age groups, a mix of backgrounds and it is a great way to use your body in a way that you don't get to these days.

"We have a number of different disciplines that use unarmed combat such as wrestling and striking and stuff like that, we have dagger fighting and longsword, and then poleaxes and spears, but the thing that people most enjoy is the grappling and the wrestling.

"As a grown-up, you don't often get to just wrestle and get thrown about so it is a good way to get back in touch with that playful side of yourself.

"I think it is a great way to get in touch with history in an active way, you are not just reading about it, you are physically doing it and it is a great way to understand history in that sense."

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Dave also detailed how he became involved with the group and explored the benefits that come from this unconventional form of fitness.

"It was the reason I started, I started just after Christmas and I'm not a very sporty person so it was the interest in the historical side that drew me into but then the fitness benefits have been fantastic.

"It is great for increasing your strength, and your cardio fitness, nothing wears you out more than dagger fighting with someone."