ARMA Director

The world's foremost practitioner
of authentic Chivalric Arts of Defense

    “After more than 37 years of study in this subject, I now have a focused interest on aiding the young student of the next generation of practitioners to achieve knowledge and prowess while avoiding the problems I had to deal with in my own learning.”

PBS Nova Secrets of the Viking Sowrd John Clements expert

"Consulting Sword-master"

Private Training Program Workshops and full Seminars available: Contact us with requests and information on fee and travel schedule. Presentation and lecture requests are welcome.  Private lessons also available. Special arrangements possible for video, motion-capture, and CGI modeling.

Advisory and Educational Services:
John Clements provides a range of consulting services and technical advice on Medieval and Renaissance close-combat skills, arms and armor, swordplay, warrior culture, and historical fencing. Previous project involvement includes working with: National Geographic, Sony Pictures, The History Channel, Fox Television, Six Flags Houston, and major video and board game producers. He has done professional consulting for game developers Blizzard, NCsoft, Xaviant, and Go-Time.To improve the historical accuracy and martial validity of your endeavor, send an e-mail inquiry. All fees are by negotiation.

Offering Professional Fight Arrangement and Fencing Stunt-work for Film, Television, and Motion-Capture:  John Clements brings an unrivaled mastery of authentic historical combat techniques for creating never-before seen action featuring a unique 'Spontaneous Arranged Fight Execution' --SAFE (TM) system-- of martially sound, historically accurate, visually dynamic, and physically intense material. Featuring an authoritative and pioneering program with a dynamic and highly original alternative outside the box of current standards, Clements offers a new alternative to the dry, over-used cliches of entertainment industry fight certification. Geared for actors and performers at all levels of production looking for martial arts, fencing, and stage-combat experience.

Ask about the Renaissance Martial Arts Lecture Series, Homeschooling Program, & Corporate Outings.

    "What we demonstrate in a presentation is a reconstructed exhibition of authentic European martial arts skills delivered not for amusement or stunt display, but education, cultural heritage, and self improvement." - John Clements

Email the ARMA Director at:

Co-host of the 2019 combat sport program
Knight Fight on The History Channel

John Clements Knight Fight judge co-host The History Channel

See "The Lesson" - celebrated original short

  Dueling& self-defence study

Armored combat exploration

Expert-level teaching of authentic historical source methods

Instructing in an unmatched historical curriculum

Arranging dynamic fight action sequences

Working with an authentic 12th century sword, 2018

Working with an authentic 15th century halberd, 2018

Presentation on motion at 2016 World Martial Arts Conference

Practice with an authentic 16th century halberd, Mexico 2016

Sword research, Austria 2015

With a 1000-year-old Viking Ingelri sword (2015)

Lecture on authentic fight movement at the 2015 RL Scott Conference

Presenting at the 2015 World Martial Arts Symposium

Giving a class at CombatCon Las Vegas 2014

Filming a pilot on Medieval history, UK 2014

Teaching in Italy, 2012

Performing at the World Martial Arts Festival, Korea, 2012

With a !4th Century Warsword, Scotland 2012

Examining an Authentic Two-Handed Sword, Scotland 2012

Presenting on Mare at the Kelvingrove Museum, 2012

Reenactment in Narni, Italy 2012

At the World Martial Arts Festival 2012

University of Bridgeport martial arts studies degree program
  Lecturing at the University of Bridgeport 2012


Filming with PBS Nova 2011

Teaching in Russia 2011

On National Geographic Channel 2011

At the Medieval Center, Denmark

Italian Rapier study
Researching Rapiers in Italy

Filming for commercial TV spot in Atlanta, 2012

At the International Martial Arts Symposium, 2011

At the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russa, 2011

With Hans Talhoffer's origin
al 1459 fight book in Denmark

At the World Martial Arts Union, South Korea  2010

Examining historical specimens, Spain 2009

Presenting on historical fighting methods, Portugal 2009

Teaching in Europe, 2009

A leader in historical fencing studies, reconstructing authentic methods and historical techniques

Private & class instruction
Lecture & Seminar Presentations

Youth Talks & Demos

Museum Presentations on Arms & Armor use (Kienbusch Collection, Philadelphia 2007

Evaluating & Testing Historical Fencing Products

Teaching longsword fencing
in Athens, Greece 2004

Renaissance swordplay seminar
on longsword in Haifa, Israel 2005

Longsword technique presentation
in Gaunajauto, Mexico, 2006.

Seminar in Mexico City, 2007

ARMA Seminar
in Athens, Greece 2007

authentic pieces
at the Oakeshot Institute, 2007

Examining antique blades

Practicing in armor at
the Royal Armouries, Leeds UK

Rapier practice in Europe

Classroom Training

Examining an antique rapier in Switzerland

Training with antique blades

Consultation with noted authority
Dr. S. Anglo

Meeting with famed sword expert the late
Ewart Oakeshott

Consulting with the late sword expert Hank Reinhardt
& swordmaker Paul Chen
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Test-cutting with sharp swords at the 2000 Renaissance Martial Arts Expo Atlanta
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Workshop Demonstration in Canada

Examining an original 1536 fencing
text by Achille Marozzo

Lecturing & instructing in Germany
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Examining a great-sword of c. 1400 at the Royal Armouries, UK 2001

Trying out an antique
two-handed sword from c. 1550
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Presentation at the Sarasota Medieval & Renaissance Studies Conference 2002

Lecturing at Texas A&M University 2003
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Examining a 1000-year-old viking sword

Examining an original edition of Fiore dei Liberi's Flos Duellatorum c.1410

Demonstrating cuts and thrusts on raw meat with an actual antique
16th century swept-hilt rapier

Lecturing at New York University 2003

Researching an original 1553 edition
of Agrippa's famed fencing text

Handling authentic 16th century swords
in the Swedish Royal Arnory

Consulting with noted master swordsmith and researcher Peter Johnsson

Hefting a fine 16th century antique
ring-hilted rapier of the Swedish Royal Armory

Exploring the original 1410 Pierpont-Morgan
edition of the "Flos Duellatorum"
fighting manual by Fiore dei Liberi

Researching swords in
Budapest, Hungary 2004

Program at West Point 2003

Presentation Demo at Ashokan Sword 2000

Training with an authentic 16th century bastard-sword -  2008

“Every Art has this property of being clear to those trained in it,
so that thence comes this maxim,
‘Believe the man who is skilled in his art.”

- Anonymous Parisian theologian, 1398

John Clements is a leading authority on historical fencing and the world’s foremost instructor of Medieval and Renaissance fighting methods. As a long-time Western martial artist who has been studying historical fencing since 1980, John is the most prolific writer on the subject of historical fencing. He has practiced European cut-and-thrust swordplay and for more than thirty years, taught on it in 17 countries, and researched arms and armor on four continents. He instructs both nationwide as well as internationally and (since 2005) from his one-of-a-kind private facility, Iron Door Studio, based outside Atlanta, Georgia.

An international lecturer and researcher on historical European martial arts, John is featured in PBS Nova's Secrets of the Viking Sword (2012) and performed and directed foot-combat sequences for the 2011 National Geographic Channel documentary, Medieval Fight Book --the first ever television program of its kind to cover the work of a historical European Master of Defense.  He was also featured prominently in and co-wrote the 2009 documentary film, Reclaiming the Blade. He also appeared in the documentary special featurette, "Knights in Training," on the 2008 special edition Blu-Ray re-release of the film, First Knight.  He was also the writer and producer of the first of its kind web documentary on Renaissance martial arts.

As a professional fight consultant, John's writings on swordsmanship and historical close-combat have appeared in eleven different published books since 2001. His research on interpretation and application of historical combat teachings was featured in Late Medieval and Early Modern Fight Books (Brill, 2016). He was a contributing author on close combat and fighting arts to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology (2010).  John was a major consultant for the youth title, Warrior VS Warrior (Kingfisher 2010), and was senior editor and contributor on, Masters of Medieval and Renaissance Martial Arts (Paladin Press, 2008). He has written on the nature of historical bladed combat for the anthology, Spirit of the Sword (Krause Publications 2010). 

In his work on reviving forgotten European fighting arts, Clements teaches, lectures and writes on historical European martial arts professionally and has authored articles on swords and weapon fighting for magazines in seven languages, including: Medieval Warfare Magazine, Military History, Renaissance Magazine, Tactical Knives, Journal Of Martial Arts Anthropology, Karate International, Histoire' Medievale, Le art de la Guerre, Master at Arms, Game Developer, The SwordHop-Lite, Sword Forum International, Rapio Journal, Pallasch, and Dragon magazine. He was  a contributor on arms and combat to the archaeological anthology, Cutting Edge (Tempus Pub. 2007), and the anthology, Hundred Years War: A Wider Focus (Brill, 2005), as well as a major contributor on historical fencing and editorial board member for the new Martial Arts of the World encyclopedia from ABC-CLIO Press (2001). In just the first decade of the 21st century, no fewer than nine current or former students of John's have gone on to author books on this subject. No other instructor of the subject can make anywhere near a similar claim.

As a fight instructor and experimental historian, John Clements has given fencing seminars and workshops in 25 states and across North America and Europe. He presented demonstrations of Medieval and Renaissance martial arts at the Royal Armouries in Leeds and the Wallace Collection Museum in London, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as well as exhibited at Oxford University, the Danish Medieval Center, and the National Arms Museum in Budapest, Hungary.  In December 2011, he presented the first ARMA seminar in St. Petersburg, Russia. John has also lectured on Mare (the "martial arts of Renaissance Europe") at the University of Bridgeport.

John has been featured twice on The History Channel, instructed cadets and officers in historical fencing at West Point, and was a keynote presenter at the Sword 2000 event of the New England Bladesmiths Guild, as well as the Schola St. George Medieval Swordsmanship Symposium 2001 in San Francisco. In 1982, he founded the original Medieval Battling Club, and in 1999 was the creator and a founding member of the original Swordplay Symposium International He also presented at the 2001 Texas Medievalists Association annual conference in San Antonio, the 2003 conference at the University of St. Thomas, and the 13th Biennial New College of South Florida conference on Medieval-Renaissance Studies 2002. He has lectured for the History, Anthropology, and Military Science departments at both Texas A&M and Texas A&M International Universities. He has presented on Medieval and Renaissance combatives to classes at Brigham Young University, Rice University, Sam Houston State U. and Furman Universities.  John has lectured on historical combat at the Origins gaming convention 2002 and has consulted professionally on historical close combat for the video game industry. In 20016, Clements became the official sword-master for Windlass Steel Craft acting as a consultant for product development.

Abrazzare lesson on unarmed Italian martial art of Fiore dei Liberi

In September 2010, John was inducted into the World Martial Arts Union (WoMAU) as the official representative for the martial arts of Renaissance Europe. Under the official patronage of UNESCO, the WoMAU is a Non-Governmental Organization for sustaining Intangible Cultural Heritage.  As a delegate to the Union, John advises for the promotion of authentic Western European fighting arts from the 14th to 17th centuries.

Clements is also a founding patron member of the Oakeshott Institute, has consulted for the US Army's unarmed combative systems program, and has taught historical European martial arts to underprivileged kids at a college-preparatory academy in Houston. Previously, in 1993 he taught two semesters on swordsmanship at Western Nevada Community College, and in the state of Texas is a Court certified Expert Witness in the area of bladed combat. From 1997 to 2004 he taught public classes and private lessons in Houston, Texas.

John is also the author of the groundbreaking books Medieval Swordsmanship: Illustrated Methods & Techniques (Paladin Press, Nov ’98) and Renaissance Swordsmanship: The Illustrated Use of Rapiers and Cut-and-Thrust Swords (Paladin Press, March '97).

John trains primarily in longsword, sword-and-buckler, sword-and-dagger, spear, rapier, and is an ardent promoter of non-competitive weapon sparring and test-cutting experiments. In the past 16 years, he has had the opportunity to practice with actual historical swords, handling more than 300 antique European blades from the 12th to 17th centuries in private and public collections across 15 countries.  John is a member of the British Arms and Armor Society and helped pioneer the realistic use of both historical wooden training swords (wasters) and steel training swords (federschwerter). In September 1994, John took first place in the Advance Weapon-Sparring competition of the US National's Kung Fu tournament, in Orlando, Florida. He is a member of the Georgia Association of Historians and was a feature presenter on Renaissance swords at the 2006 Blade Show in Atlanta.

Sword Combat Fight Arranger Fencing

As a promoter of the restoration of historical fencing as valuable part of our intangible cultural heritage, Clements has long advocated a true fighting discipline  approach toward the study of forgotten European fight literature. 

As a full-time professional writer and practitioner of historical fencing, Clements has committed his life to a career in advancing and promoting the study of  Medieval and Renaissance combatives.  He presently teaches and researches on historical fencing full-time while working on book, video, and consulting projects about the subject.

To quote ARMA instructor, John Clements: "As a historical fencer and Renaissance martial artist, I can think of nothing more satisfying than to simply declare, '...Yes, I am a swordsman.'"

sword and shield combat

As of June 2005, John Clements is also the owner and operator of Iron Door studio, the nation’s first and only historical fencing hall built as an actual modern "school of arms" facility exclusively dedicated to the study and practice of Renaissance Martial Arts.  

As head instructor of ARMA, Director Clements has always maintained a cutting-edge curriculum with a holistic approach to the study and interpretation of the historical teachings.  Between 2006 and 2007, John began implementing a revolutionary new understanding of Renaissance combatives. Following his new ideas on the nature of the subject and the meaning of longsword teachings as fundamental to the craft, he worked at presenting this program in eight countries as well as through private instruction at his Iron Door Studio facility.  In 2008 this new method --- emphasizing a radical understanding of the value of motion, balance, leverage with timing, and centered binding and striking --- became the de facto basis of the ARMA’s core fighting curriculum.


Read some of John Clements' articles here:

The Sword in Duel

The Sword in War

Our New "Rosetta Stone" - Advancing Reconstruction of Forgotten European Fighting Arts

Why Are There So Many Kinds of Swords?

Top Myths of Renaissance Martial Arts

What did Historical Swords Weigh?

The Sword & Buckler Tradition

Historical Fencing Study - The British Legacy

Martial Art or Combat Sport?

Pinder's Contest - 16th century rural English Prizing

Peachey the Shoomaker's Challenge

The Myth of Cutting vs. Thrusting Swords

Wasters - The history of wooden swords

Intro to Historical European Martial Arts

Renaissance Martial Arts Literature

Using the “F" Word – The Role of Fitness in Historical Fencing

History of the Pell

Questions and Answers About the Rapier

The Weighty Issue of Two-Handed Great-swords

Some sample videos:

"The Lesson" - original short film

Authentic Longsword Teachings

A Lesson on Side-Sword vs. Longsword at IDS (2011)

Longsword technique practice at Iron Door Studio, 2009

Free-Play with Federschwerter at Iron Door Studio, 2007

Practice of unarmed disarming counters
against vertical cuts from a longsword (Jan 2008)

On Practicing cuts with intensity (Aug 2010)

2006 test-cutting demonstration on bamboo
using a completely blunt bastard sword

An ad hoc demonstration of some long-sword
counter-strikes & half-swording techniques. c.2003

Ely rapier "duel", July 2000
6mb .mpv

John performs a few well
placed edge blows on melons with
an antique arming sword, c.1999. 6MB 

"I have known John Clements  -  in his various roles as practitioner, researcher, and teacher in the field of late medieval and Renaissance martial arts  -  for over fifteen years;  and I have enjoyed watching his increasing mastery in all these three aspects of his work.  ...Clements has himself  -  by dint of hard practical experimentation and diligent study  -  moved the subject forward to considerably  greater sophistication.   He has a considerable knowledge of historical sources  and especially of the mass of pictorial evidence which he has helped make available to scholars and practitioners through his ARMA project and website and his many essays  -  which have been powerful agents for increasing scholarly awareness of  Western martial arts as well as for encouraging students to participate in such activities with a fuller appreciation of their historical background and a better understanding of their practice.  ...his work (like that of all successful teachers and pioneers) is going to bear fruit in the future as well as in the present.  ...I would characterize John Clements’s contribution to his subject as an impressive combination of enthusiasm, energy, and a willingness never to stop learning and developing.

- Sydney Anglo, FBA, FSA, FLSW, Emeritus Professor in the History of Ideas, University of Wales, October 2013

"There are attributes and principles common to the martial arts all around the world, core concepts that reflect the innermost essence of our being...
And yet these central principles are not often understood. John Clements has been able, by freediving into the depths of the European martial tradition, through scholarship, persistence and sweat, to firmly grasp an understanding of the martial arts uncommon to this decade. He is an extraordinary martial artist and swordsman." 
- Kostas Dervenis
The Pammachon System,

"John Clements a leading authority on Medieval and Renaissance Combat.  He has shaken the dust off of the real history of our European Combat Heritage and has brought it back to life accurately and honestly, in all its brutal and elegant forms.  Seeing John in action is a testament to the effectiveness of the actual fighting skills that these knights and nobles perfected and used in real life and death combat."
- Ernest Emerson
Emerson Combat Systems,

“John Clements is a very knowledgeable and insightful martial artist. His research and methods, particularly in the interface between fighting with weapons and grappling, have been very helpful to the development of our program."
 - Matt Larsen
Director, U.S. Army Combatives [martial arts] Program
Author FM 3-25.150

“I have found John Clements' workshops on Medieval and Renaissance martial arts  in Houston and  on the Texas A&M campus to be both mentally and physically challenging.  I have been particularly impressed by his desire to keep the practice of these arts "real," while maintaining high safety standards."
 - Tom Green
Associate Professor (Anthropology), Texas A&M University, Editor and contributor, Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia, Veteran of more than 30 years training, teaching, and research in the martial arts, including capoeira, freestyle wrestling,  and six styles of Chinese and Japanese martial arts.

"I thoroughly enjoyed and learned much from the ARMA seminar that I participated in. I found John Clements to be very knowledgeable and skilled in the use of realistic weaponry of medieval and renaissance Europe. I look forward to training with John again soon."
 - Rick Tucci
Founder of the world renowned Princeton Academy of Martial Arts in Princeton, New Jersey. Member of the Board of Directors for the World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (WEKAF), Guro in Lameco Eskrima, Full instructor and third degree black belt in Doce Pares Escrima.

“The ARMA training curriculum is just about as solid as you can get. It's progress from simple drills to full speed applications is the best I have seen. This is reality training at it's best. John projects an intensity in his instruction that is hard to not get caught up in. His energy and zeal are remarkable."
 - Col. Dwight McLemoore, Ret.
Frontier Americana Martial Arts instructor & author

"I have found John Clements to be expert lecturer on subject of Western Martial Arts. John possesses understanding of both framework of martial arts in general, as well as minute details - and that combined with his passion makes for very enjoyable seminars."
- Milan Petracevic
Croatian national fencing team member, Alberta provincial fencing champion, International fencing competitor & multiple medal winner Western Canadian Fencing Championships.

"As a fight director determined to bring as much historical authenticity as possible to my work, I personally consider the ARMA organisation a major resource for anyone interested in the history of European martial arts…."I've no doubt that through his lifelong studies in the field of historical swordsmanship, both academic and practical, John Clements can lay claim to being a modern expert of Europe's Medieval and Renaissance martial arts."

- Keith Ducklin
Combatant, Royal Armouries Interpretation Department, Leeds, UK, Teacher Member, British Academy of Dramatic Combat, Co-author of Sword Fighting: a Manual for Actors and Directors.


“John Clements is a superb martial artist and exemplifies this in his use of the longsword…anyone who wants to explore Western martial skills should take any possible opportunity to train with John Clements."
 - Dale Seago
Bujinkan martial arts instructor and Western martial arts researcher


"John Clements is a pioneer, Western martial artist, eclectic reconstructionist, and accomplished author. His unswerving dedication to uncovering the Western  martial arts is unparalleled. This renaissance has given practitioners connection with their heritage."
- Prof. Ronald A. Harris, Ph.D.
Edged weapons expert: Master, Original Filipino Tapado (Stickfighting) Association, Bago City, Philippines; Master, Negros Occidental Arnis Federation, Bacolod City, Philippines; 10th Degree Red Belt, Eskrima, Doce Pares Club, Cebu City, Philippines; Lakan Guro, Pekiti Tirsia System of Kali, Albuquerque, NM; Instructor, Muay Thai School of Saint Louis, Missouri; 1st Degree Black Belt, Shotokan Karate, Vasquez Martial Arts Center, Philippines; 3rd Degree Black Belt, Combat Judo, Doce Pares Club, Cebu City, Philippines; 4th Degree Black Belt, Taekwondo Jidokwan, Seoul.

“John Clements and his associates at ARMA put on a wonderful demonstration for a focused audience at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.  His researched lecture included fascinating illustrations of art and history that helped illuminate the Museum’s collection and our commitment to the artistry of martial objects.  Of course the highlight of the workshop was the fighting demonstration that allowed the audience to experience first-hand a different—and equally important—artistry. Many audience members expressed their enjoyment in seeing weapons in action and the techniques and strategies of Renaissance martial combat.  All in all, John Clements presentation was excellent; it gave new life to the objects on view in our galleries.”
-- Adam Johnson, Staff Lecturer for Academic Affairs
Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2007



Note: The word "ARMA" and its associated arms emblem is a federally registered trademark under U.S. Reg. No. 3831037. In addition, the content on this website is federally registered with the United States Copyright Office, © 2001-2022. All rights are reserved. No use of the ARMA name and emblem, or website content, is permitted without authorization. Reproduction of material from this site without written permission of The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts and its respective authors is strictly prohibited. Additional material may also appear from "HACA" The Historical Armed Combat Association copyright © 1999-2001 by John Clements. All rights are reserved to that material as well.