ARMA's Member Training Program Seminar Series

Below is a current list of official Member Training Program (MTP) courses that can be scheduled for active associates. We assist in both promotion and registration of attendees once a suitable location is arranged and a date confirmed. We require a facility with a high ceiling and an area of at least 30x30 square feet of room.  Let us know which course or series and what dates you are looking for. Both weekends and weekdays are available.

The current fee rate for a 6 to 7-hour course is approximately $1100, or $1350 for a 2-day combination event.  Plus travel and lodging.  Participation per student typically runs hosts $75 - $125 per member.  While non-members may attend Open Workshops, participation in MTP courses is for for members only. Students must be registered as an active ARMA member at least 6 months prior to participating or else request a waiver.  All courses are offered by certified ARMA instructor-qualified members.  To inquire about scheduling an instructional event, or arranging a special presentation, just email us.

For for non-member instruction see our Open Workshops here.

MTP Course 1.0 - Longsword Foundation 

Suited to all students seeking a firm grounding in the martial arts of Renaissance Europe, but ideal for every practitioner, this introduction covers primary fundamentals of unarmored long-sword.  This seminar features an inclusive holistic interpretation of material for "fighting with the sword" unarmored from the leading German and Italian masters of the 15th and 16th centuries. It establishes the basis for all Renaissance martial arts study. Components include: basic principles and key concepts of timing, range, leverage, stances and warding, posture and gripping, displacing, core movements and steeping, strikes and counter-strikes,binding and winding, and Meisterhau, plus essential terminology and central practice routines for training under the ARMA Study Approach. Included is the basis of our essential Armatura drills and exercises of the ARMA system. Presented in a simple, concise, and effective historical structure, this course prepares the practitioner for Scholar rank certification as a longsword Adept, but is intended to be repeated as much as necessary by any ARMA student. 

MTP Seminar 1.1 - Longsword Progression

Building from MTP 1.0, this course focuses on individual skill development and proficiency in comprehension of core elements and application of key fighting techniques. Intended more for long-term oriented practitioners seeking eventual instructor-level certification from ARMA, it stresses self-training and use of proper intent in actions. This session also prepares the student for eventual Free Scholar rank in Prize Playing with the longsword.  Content includes:

  • Using the Armatura (conditioning exercises and drills) for improving understanding of distance, timing, leverage, covering, strength, agility, control, and fluidity in actions
  • Developing Floryshe routines
  • Introduction to trapping and disarming techniques
  • Half-Swording Fundamentals
  • Free-Play / sparring with wasters and featherswords / blunt practice weapons (unhelmed & unarmored)
  • Development of strong, fluid, and unpredictable technique
  • Comprehension of core principles
  • Proficiency in the Meisterhau
  • Safely using grappling and wrestling moves

Following this, additional Progression courses may be undertaken that offer material extending from the fundamentals to incorporate more specific teaching of historical source works. Content of additional progress courses may continue with: Improving form and Fighting Tactics, Proficiency in closing and disarming, Key grappling holds and takedowns, Test-cutting with sharps, Introduction to armored swordplay,  facing long-staffs & spears, Fighting multiple opponents, Facing two-handed and single-hand swords, Facing shields & bucklers,and dagger vs. long-sword. Further Progression courses consists of advanced lessons in preparation for Free-Scholar Prize Playing or more. Subsequent sessions tailored to the individual student or Study Group may be repeated as desired. 

MTP Seminar 2.0 - Single-Sword / Sword & Dagger

Prerequisite: MTP 1.0. Introduction to Renaissance military cut-and-thrust swordplay of the side-sword (shorte-sword, field sword, and 16th century arming sword). Aimed at students seeking a firmer background in historical fencing skills, but ideal for every practitioner, this material covers the 16th century style of unarmored fencing with slender tapering single-hand blades, as well as back-swords. Discover the origins of the weapon, its application, and its relationship to the rapier as you learn about these major Renaissance sword forms and their misunderstood fighting style. Building on the holistic simplicity of earlier methods of swordplay, course content includes: 16th century sources, the geometry of warding and stepping, basic stances and footwork, fundamental cut-and-thrust attacks and counter-attacks, cutting versus thrusting, seizures and closing, facing double-hand swords and pole-arms, as well as core drills, exercises, and practice routines. Emphasis is also placed on coordinating the sword with the dagger in defense and combination attacks.  The course is also structured so that both new and returning students benefit form participation. 

MTP Seminar 2.1 - Sword & Buckler

Required Prerequisite: MTP 1.0.  Content covers the distinction in the unarmored use of earlier 14th and 15th century arming swords or short swords as well as the messer / falchion, both alone and with the buckler or small rondel.  Emphasis is placed on the similarity and differences to methods of double-hand swords as well as the skills of coordinating two weapons. Other material includes tactics and techniques for facing the sword & dagger, great-sword, polearms, and larger shields. The course intentionally relates  teachings on this fighting style to those the longsword as a way of more easily integrating skills together. The course also prepares the student for eventual Prize Playing for Free-Scholar rank or above with the sword and buckler.

MTSeminar 2.2 - Cut & Thrust Progression

Required Prerequisite: MTP 2.0. For returning students, this course builds on earlier instruction but focusing more on proficiency in techniques, comprehension of concepts, and individual skill development.  Intended more for long-term oriented practitioners seeking higher rank certification, content covers application and integration of actions and moves in free-play, facing dissimilar weapons, as well as advanced training dynamics. The course prepares the student for eventual Prize Playing for Free-Scholar rank or above with the sword and dagger. Subsequent sessions tailored to the individual student or Study Group may be repeated as desired. 

MTP Seminar 3.0 - Rapier Foundation

Recommended Prerequisite: MTP 1.0 and 2.0.  As an introduction to Renaissance civilian swordplay of foyning fence this course includes fundamentals of thrusting attacks, foundational footwork, voids and parries, second-hand use, closing and entering, trapping and disarms, proper use of cuts, and combination techniques with the dagger, as well as the rapier versus the side sword and longsword. Material is presented in a simple, concise, and effective historical structure that demystifies this unique weapon while connecting to the larger methods of Renaissance fighting arts.  Content covers: rapier origin and anatomy, gripping, source literature foundation, basic stances and footwork,  defense fundamentals, essential thrusting strikes and edge blows, second-hand use, closing in and seizures, key thrusting exercises and footwork training.

MTP Seminar 3.1 Rapier Skills Progression

Prerequisite: MTP 3.0. For returning students, this course builds on earlier instruction but focusing more on proficiency in techniques, comprehension of concepts, and individual skill development. Material includes: grappling techniques in rapier combat, rapier versus swords, tactics of foyning fence, and rapier free-play essentials. The course also prepares the student for eventual Prize Playing for Free-Scholar rank or above with the rapier / rapier and dagger. Subsequent sessions tailored to the individual student or Study Group may be repeated as desired.

MTP Seminar 4 - Renaissance Grappling & Dagger Fighting

Recommended Prerequisite: MTP 1.0. The core fundamentals of unarmed combat -- Ringen / Abrazare -- principles and techniques up to and including closure, take downs, joint locks, submission holds, from 14th - 17th century sources. Fundamentals of 14th - 16th century European close-combat techniques for fighting with rondel and edged daggers. Program arranged on request.



Skill Assessment Sessions and Private Tutoring – An examination for ranking certification available to eligible students having successfully completed prerequisite courses. Additional senior-level classes are designed to certify the student in teaching the ARMA system of historical fencing study up to their current proficiency rating in all study areas.  Scheduling by appointment. Prerequisite: MTP 1 and one other course. 



Historical Source Classes – Special classes are frequently scheduled to cover in-depth the teachings of any one particular Master of Defence or the material of one specific source work from the period, such as the Walpurgis Manual, Fiore Dei Liberi, Camillo Agrippa, Giacomo Di Grassi, Joachim Meyer, Salvatore Fabris, George Silver, Vincentio Saviolo, Capo Ferro, etc.  Other classes may cover individual weapons such as the polaxe, the staff, dagger, messer, or spear. Programs arranged on request.

The ARMA MTP workshops provides for a safe, realistic, and practical opportunity for students and enthusiasts to engage in historical fencing activities.  After teaching this subject on and off in both public and private classes since 1992, full-time historical fencing researcher and ARMA senior instructor, John Clements, Director of ARMA, offers these comments: 

“...We have developed in ARMA a proven system through our approach, our methodology, our interpretations of the sources, and our martial spirit. It produces quick results and real self-defense skills.  It enables a student to grasp the core fundamentals of the historical teachings that leads to genuine ability. But its real strength lies in giving the student the tools to effectively teach themselves...” 

To be re-constructed and revived properly today it is only logical that the skills of Renaissance combat arts must –must –be performed in earnest, with energy and speed and we must make the effort to practice them in this way.   This doesn’t come at first and has to be developed over time. The degree to which each student achieves it may vary. While other organizations may focus more on the pageantry and role-playing of knightly tournaments or on the “deportment” of proper “technical exchanges” within a conception of gentlemanly duels, ARMA does not.  Although these may be historical approaches, we feel such things are more ritual than martial and that ritual combats of the period were far outweighed by real fighting.  The ARMA believes understanding of Medieval and Renaissance fencing must involve much more than simply posing and “dancing” with a weapon, or scoring imaginary “points” in a game, and certainly far more than artistically “faking” a fight.  To demonstrate sound fighting skills with documented historical techniques requires not choreography, nor 19th century duelling styles, but real self-defense ability and historical authenticity. 

In ARMA, we have a set curriculum of study and frequently present Member seminars and workshops in various cities when are arranged there by local members or other interested parties. We have an established skills certification program for testing members seeking recognition within our curriculum. Testing for ranking follows a set standard of required skills and knowledge laid out in Study Sheets. Essentially, each individual Associate Member or Study Group pursues the curriculum for core skills and specific weapons as they can, and as they see fit, from their own personal interest and or any official instruction they have received at official ARMA events as well as guidance from our member online training materials. 

The primary sources for our MTP curricula include but are not limited to:
  • The MS. I.33 Sword and Buckler text of c. 1285
  • The Liechtenauer Tradition - 14th - 15th century teachings of the German Fechtmeisters
  • The 15th century Italian Masters: Fiore Die Liberi & Filippo Vadi
  • The teachings of early 16th century Italian masters such as Achille Marozzo among others
  • The Teachings of Giacomo Di Grassi, 1570
  • The Kunst de Fechten of Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer, 1560-1570
  • English and Italian sources on 16th and 17th century Rapier teachings, such as Salvatore Fabris and Capo Ferro
  • The Compiled Teachings of Paulus Hector Mair's compendia, c.1540
  • The Grappling and Combat Wrestling from15th and 16th century guidebooks
  • Dagger Fighting from 15th and 16th century manuals
And many, many more...

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