Chosen Model and Example
In this modern revival of historical fighting skills, the very model
for our efforts and approach to recovering this forgotten wisdom is that
of the historical schools and guilds themselves --one that accepts the
authentic craft was (and must be) pursued with certain shared values,
shared standards, and shared sense of personal honor, loyalty, and brotherhood.
In doing so, we accept that these Arts were not (and should not be) pursued
as a mere ad hoc amateur collective run by some loose communal
affiliation of "lone wolves" without concern for the virtues and, yes,
ethics that once comprised their study. It is a singular truth of civilization
that the "tragedy of the commons" never produces excellence and great
martial artists are never made by committee.
historical schools we seek to emulate were a fraternity of arms for a very good reason that
went beyond learning self-defense. In our modern age where shameless
unprincipled selfishness has become an accepted norm, and mere sportsmanship
and predilection for violence are both commonly mistaken for true martial
spirit, this approach is needed more than ever. In countless fighting
schools and styles throughout history, conditions were placed upon instruction
and participation whereby individuals were asked to uphold pledges regarding
the support for the virtues of the craft and respect their teachers and
brothers in arms.
old guilds and masters of Europe were no different in this, and it is
their example we endeavor to emulate now. They readily understood what
every serious mature martial artist comes to know: that the physical,
emotional, mental, and moral are inseperable in becoming the best possible
fighter you can. What this means is not practicing "with anyone any time
anywhere" for mere sharpening of combative skill or gratification in competitive
sport. Rather, it means accepting that, ultimately, personal knowledge
and prowess are intimately tied to how, where, why, and with whom you
train. It is this underlying truth that our ancestors expressed in both
their combat lessons and their heroic tales. It is what has empowered
my own personal accomplishments and it is this central idea that is very
the basis for the ARMA's entire fellowship and our associated training
program. We are a member supported and maintained guild, a union with
a code, a testable curriculum, an experienced leader, and a vision and
mission greater than any one single individual's education. This must
be affirmed by anyone wishing to become a part of our efforts.
is a certain truth that applies to all high-level martial arts the world
over throughout history. One never says, "I just like to fight" or "I
just want to learn to fight." If so, then you have learned nothing. You
are a mere streetfighter, a brawler, a thug, not a practitioner of martial
arts, and not a warrior. You will never understand what the craft of Renaissance
fencing is all about because they were never concerned "just about
fighting" and "just wanting to be fighters." With such an attitude one
will never come to anything but a superficial understanding of this Art.
with many others around the world throughout history, the old guilds protected
the privilege of earning rank through the integrity of a unified curriculum.
There was no lowest common denominator reduction of content or watering
down of teachings to meet some general consensus mediocrity. They did
not disrespect martial spirit by reducing the craft to sportified contests
and mock play. Private masters chose who to teach and who not to teach
and membership in a fighting guild was not automatic to anyone who walked
in the door.
studying with the ARMA is a commitment to work with your fellows within
our program and to uphold the integrity of our community's values and
efforts. Just as with the historical Schools of Defence, we aspire to
be brothers-in-arms who are part of a fraternity of martial scholars.
One of the very reasons we exist is to help the novice solo practitioner
training alone. Many of us were once there ourselves ---and did so without
the guidance, network, and fellowship we now provide. This is why we promote
study groups of like-minded enthusiasts working together to reclaim this
craft through a common system pursued with shared value and concerns.
We invite all students of the craft to join us in exploring and reviving
our lost martial heritage.
If anyone rejects the above model or cannot sincerely accept its virtues
as their own, then they really don't belong here among us.
The ARMA Credo
Doing things the "ARMA
the Spirit of Renaissance Martial Culture