MEET OUR INSTRUCTORS
Freifechter Derek Nash
Derek’s casual lifelong interest in the martial arts went largely unfulfilled until the spring of 2009, when he watched a historical fencing demonstration during a trip to Scotland. Fascinated by the fencers, but skeptical about his chances of finding such a group in Oklahoma, he started looking for an East Asian style school upon his return. To his surprise, he found the Cymbrogi. He joined the group that fall, and has been with them ever since. More than a decade later, he is thrilled to find that there is still so much to learn, and so many good people to practice it with.
In addition to his own practice, Derek has years of experience with assisting with class instruction and with running classes without direct support. He is honored to mentor his fellow students whenever they seek his advice, and provides a strong example of how they should approach their training. He encourages a focused effort in the classroom that is well-suited for preparing students to fight their future battles within and without the classroom. As one of Cymbrogi’s most experienced tournament fighters, he is heavily-involved in preparing them for the latter.
Derek is a founding member of the Cymbrogi Tournament Team, and has been an active competitor since its founding in 2016. He is a well-decorated longswordsman who has fought in no less than eighteen events outside of the school since 2015, and has never failed to reach the upper echelons of competition, frequently ending up on the podium. His consistent good performance on the national and international stage has given him a reputation as one of the nation’s top longsword competitors, and ample experience with which to mentor fellow Tournament Team members.
Fechter Kyle Toelle
In his career, Kyle started training in martial arts at 7 years old in Tae kwon Do and made it to Junior Blue belt. He began training Okinawan Goju Ryu Shoriekan in 2003 under Chris Pollman Karate Academy with Sensei Chris Pollman and Senpai April Shore. He received a second-degree black belt and taught for eight years professionally ages three to sixty-five years old. While there, he trained in Western Kickboxing, Freestyle Wrestling, Tai Chi, and traditional Japanese weapons.
During his training in Karate, he also began training under Guro Daniel Farris in Kombaton and Modern Arnis. He also trained in Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do under Guro Ron Balicki where he maintained the rank of Advanced Student. As part of his employment under the Karate Academy he taught Karate at a step-down program for severe juvenile offenders and participated in annual public exhibitions.
In his later years at the academy, he trained in Dutch Kickboxing, Shootwrestling, BJJ, and Japanese Jujitsu as part of his MMA training. He also fought in two amateur heavy weight bouts and helped train and trained alongside Garic Johnston and Art Parker Middleweight Champions. He taught MMA independently in 2012 to 2014 at SWOL Sports Performance with Aaron Wall who is now their BJJ instructor.
Before leaving to Oklahoma City to pursue his career as therapist he taught self-defense courses for the Social Work and Psychology program at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Read more...
Fechter Garrett Baker
Throughout his fencing career he has strived to balance high intensity combat with martial prowess in multiple different weapon systems by learning base techniques and building a strong foundation in them. Garrett finds it important to further his skills into masterful plays and techniques while always remembering where he came from in his principal learnings. He enjoys traveling and competing in many tournaments around the US where he’s had a considerable amount of success.
Currently, Garrett is ranked in the top 100 longsword fencers in the world on Hema Ratings and aims to be in the top 50 before long. While he does thoroughly enjoy longsword fencing, he also likes to partake in saber, dagger, wrestling, poleaxe and spear fighting. A founding member of the school’s armored division along with Ryan Hetchler, Garrett sports a full Italian harness and weapons that match a knight’s arsenal. His aim in the future is to keep to the school’s ideals and help broaden them where he can while enjoying the journey in doing so. Cymbrogi will always be a top tier school for fighters to train at and Garrett intends to help keep it that way.
Fechter Ann McKinney
Fechter Ann McKinney was introduced to Cymbrogi in 2013, but didn’t become a student until early 2016 after coming to the realization that she couldn’t resist the fight any longer.
She has found success in and out of the ring. She is a member of the Cymbrogi Tournament Team, and founding member of the Night Witches, the competitive female division of Cymbrogi. Ann is also one of the instructors within Cymbrogi, empowering others to follow in her footsteps. Ann competes in both open and women’s events. She believes that to become the best, you have to fight the best, no matter size, gender or anything else, and encourages others to do the same.
Ann is listed in the top twenty female fighters in Hema Ratings. She has numerous medals and awards that adorn her history in HEMA and attributes all her competitive success to the environment of fraternity, learning, and martial prowess that embodies Cymbrogi School of Western Martial Arts. Ann aspires to inspire other students that cross her path while maintaining and improving her own knowledge and skill.
Fechter Darrell Vannostran
Darrell Vannostran studied karate as a small child and has always kept an interest in martial arts throughout his life. He has trained in wrestling, aikido, bojutsu, boxing, and Kung fu San Soo. In April of 2016 he wanted to pick up sword fighting and found Cymbrogi. Since joining he's found a passion for learning all of the different aspects of historical European combat and is eager to train with any weapon he picks up. Having never been a fan of sport competition he's found great pleasure in tournaments that test his martial abilities within western martial arts. He’s been on the Cymbrogi tournament team since 2017. He enjoys coaching and one on one training with other students.
2nd place in Advanced Longsword -Gesellen Fechten 2018
2nd place Advanced Longsword- Fall Fechten 2018
2nd place Advanced Longsword - Summer Fechten 2019
3rd place Single Sword - Summer Fechten 2019
3rd place Dagger and Ringen Heavyweight - Summer Fechten 2019
2nd Place Intermediate Longsword - summer Fechten 2020
Fechter Ryan Hechtler
Ryan has always been interested in swords, knights, and medieval history. In high school he learned about HEMA, and that people were actually still fighting with medieval swords according to medieval fighting manuals.
"Wow! If only there was something like this somewhere near me," he said, then in May of 2017 he found Cymbrogi and took his first Intro class. Needless to say, he never looked back, and slowly began learning more and more of the Art and started competing casually at local tournaments.
In the tournament season of 2019, he began taking a more serious approach to tournaments and his martial arts in general, and made that mental shift from having fun to training. That spring, he had put together his first attempt at a full suit of armor and he fought in his first harnischfechten event to great success. He took this experience home with him, and he would then play a major role in establishing and growing the harnischfechten/reenactment community across Oklahoma and Texas. He has since gone from being the only one in class with armor to helping over a dozen people start to armor up, and now teaches the Sunday armored class and Wednesday longsword classes at Cymbrogi.
In December of 2019, after rigorous testing, he earned the rank of Fechter at our school. He has found that his love for fighting extends across all weapon systems in every context and he has placed in finals and won medals in several tournaments in several different weapon systems. Since then, he has continued to practice, teach, and develop his understanding of the Art, always eager to do more and to learn more.
Fechter Kelsey Moran
I found Cymbrogi School of Western Martial Arts in November of 2017. After taking my first free class, I was hooked and came to every class possible! In February 2018, I entered my first open tournament in Austin, winning 3 of 8 fights against seasoned competitors. Two months later, I competed in my first international open as well as my first women's tournament at Purple Heart in Texas, making it through to elimination rounds. In June of 2018, I took home silver in the women's longsword at Baton Rouge after an amazing fight against Cymbrogi's Ann McKinney who took gold!
Training continued through 2019, but I took a break from competition to enjoy being a newlywed
My biggest achievement happened in August 2020, after the studio safely reopened from the covid19 shutdown. I passed the most grueling test I've ever taken and earned the rank of Fechter.
Currently, as a Cymbrogi Certified Instructor, I have the privilege of teaching Nueling and Lehrling classes.
Fechter Sam Beardsley
Sam began his fencing journey with Olympic/sport fencing between 2003 and 2007. In 2015 he entered the HEMA scene in Denver Colorado and later co-founded the Denver Historical Fencing Academy leading their intermediate longsword classes. In 2019 he joined Cymbrogi and looks forward to contributing to such a deeply skilled and knowledgeable institution. His areas of expertise include longsword, rapier and being left-handed.
Sam believes that during sparring and training you can learn from anyone regardless of their experience level.
2nd Place Basic Cutting - Longpoint 2016
3rd Place Single Rapier - Rocky Mountain Krieg 2017
1st Place Mixed 1 Handed Sword - Gesellen Fechten 2019