|There are several terms used at present to refer to the practice of various forms of
Western swordsmanship or "historical fencing". These may be the study,
reenactment, replication, or performance of any number of styles and methods of European
swordplay ranging from ancient times to the 19th century. They may be practiced as martial
arts, martial sports, fantasy games, or performance arts. To bring clarity to this
sometimes confusing picture, ARMA presents the following list of definitions are provided:
Historical Swordsmanship the practice of
Medieval and Reenaissance methods as true martial arts. It is concerned with the realistic
reconstruction and replication of historical Western fighting skills under antagonistic
conditions. This is the primary focus of efforts by ARMA. This definition may also
include the study of Ancient swordplay (i.e., Greek, Roman, Celtic).
Classical Fencing concerned primarily with
the practice of epee and foil fencing (and saber to a lesser extent) of teh 19th century
prior to advent of electric equipment and international competitive rules. There is also
considerable interest in the practice of the late 17th and early 18th century small-sword.
The general idea is to return to following more of fencings gentlemanly dueling
intent and revive the state of modern sport fencing.
Sport Fencing the modern 20th &
21st century competitive sport of Olympic and collegiate foil, epee, and saber, conducted
either with electric or "dry" practice equipment. It is an athletic, exciting,
quick international game with rules devised early this century and now far removed from
its martial origins.
Theatrical Fencing stage-combat or
performance fighting is a tool of acting intended to create an effective illusion or
performance for entertainment through rehearsed choreography or arranged movements relying
on a foundation of martial techniques and principles.
Arranged Performance Fighting
A distinct activity which can be clearly distinguished from both theatrical
fencing and historical swordsmanship, it combines elements of arranged drills and preset
routines of techniques for the direct purpose of demonstration and education --as opposed
to an exclusively martial study (as with historical swordsmanship) or entertainment and
dramatic storytelling (as with theatrical fencing). Fight sequences are conducted for
display by delivering techniques in-range, at speed and with intent, but stopping prior to
injury. Some weapon-to-body contact is employed for purposes of illustration as are
certain exaggerated movements or assumed reactions/results.
Mock-Fighting & Martial Sports - various other
approaches to historical Western swordplay that are not easily classifiable and which do
not fit into the above categories of mock-fighting. While "combative arts", all
of these other martial sports range considerably in their historical accuracy,
physical intensity, complexity of rules, and martial content. Their many forms include the
simulated battle reenactments of living-history groups, or the play-fighting of live-action
role-playing games. Other manners of simulated historical Western combat are concerned
with conducting knightly tournament bouts, large-scale fighting scenes, or personal duels
of honor. They also can differ considerably in their goals and motivations.