The ARMA aims its instruction efforts at guiding the experienced practitioner as well as directing the beginning novice. We offer professional accreditation in a cutting edge historical fencing curriculum. Our program is designed to take students through a complete curriculum, providing them with a certified set of historical skills.  We provide a series of drills and exercises (Armatura) that enable students to acquire the skill base to teach themselves and quickly make real progress.  

Our member certification program is interested in educating and sincerely training practitioners in these skills, not merely "endorsing" a student as "approved." Our Open Workshops are designed for general enthusiasts of all interest levels and dispositions, while courses in our Member Training Program (MTP) are directed for long-term practitioners and students seeking certification or eventual instructor-level rank from ARMA.

The ARMA Member Training Program (MTP) is presented as a series of ongoing cumulative day-long courses for associates wishing to begin serious study under the extensive ARMA system of historical fencing study.

The program content offers a composite approach derived from the teachings of a variety of historical  Masters of Defense and European fighting treatises from the late-14th to mid-17th centuries.  It is also specifically designed to assist students and practitioners over extended distances who are without the benefit of a competent instruction or practice partners. It focuses on different weapons and skill sets, beginning with the longsword and basic unarmed teachings.

Using an intense hands-on style of group and individual instruction, the MTP currently focuses on three main areas: Longsword, Side-Sword (cut-and-thrust short-sword), and Rapier. Other weapons and skills follow from these. The goal of each area is to advance the student’s comprehension of the true nature of weapon handling and of historical close-combat in the Medieval and Renaissance eras. These are rigorous workshops for serious practitioners, both the novice and the experienced.

Under the
Member Training Program (MTP) a student may first seek longsword adept ranking as a general Scholar then advance as a Free-Scholar, which consist of further longsword training and specializations in additional weapons or skills. These may include focus on short sword, rapier, messer, halberd, staff, grappling, or dagger and other weapons, as part of instructor or Provost ranking. See also Students and Ratings within the ARMA.

Each Training Program course is aimed at skill advancement and self-learning but also designed to progress the student toward eventual Competency Assessment for Certification in each area.  Following the ARMA system of training and using ARMA Director John Clements’ pioneering curriculum and teaching method, each session allows the student to as acquire knowledge of the underlying principles and concepts of the source teachings as well as learn their core fighting techniques.

The ARMA system of exploring real historical methods and techniques places emphasis on proper intent –i.e., learning and executing moves with realistic speed, force, and range in order to acquire a correct sense of counter-timing, leverage, balance, and motion. 

Prize Playng FightWe stress a “martial” approach to this subject –meaning, we emphasize that these skills and techniques were intended to be used with violent force to cause injury or death –even though we never use them for this.  To be relearned properly today it is only logical that they must –must –be performed in earnest, with good energy and speed and we must make the effort to practice them in this way.  This ability doesn't come at first and has to be developed over time. The practical degree to which each student achieves it may vary. Thus, one of the things we try to inspire in modern students is a realistic appreciation of the martial content of the subject we study.  We therefore place value on the mental or psychological aspects, including the inherent ethical component, as much as the physical or technical.

The primarily purpose of the ARMA system for practice is to offer a foundation of earnest martial skill through competency in un-armored fighting (Blossfechten) with the longsword. This is acquired through a holistic comprehension of specific principles and concepts derived from the works of the surviving historical treatises. The components of this foundation, including unarmed elements, form the basis for study of all weapons and fighting methods.

The ARMA is far more than a "web presence" or "local group." Ours is a martial teaching system that offers results in historical fencing skills, not honorary "titles".  We are no mere group of costumed reenactors that popped into existence with the recent explosion of the Web. Ours is not a curriculum derived from 19th century fencing styles or modern theatrical combat theories nor borrowed from popular Asian styles. The ARMA system reflects more than a decade of use in earnestly exploring the subject of Medieval and Renaissance arms and associated fighting skills as legitimate self-defense disciplines.  From our earliest efforts, our system's focus has been to re-develop genuine ability through serious study of surviving fighting texts. 

What makes the ARMA’s knowledge and training program for historical fencing unique?  The ARMA's classes, workshops, and seminars utilize our continually revised system of interpretive-application of the historical source teachings within a set of established drills and exercises –for which we have adopted the old Roman legionnaire’s term from Vegetius, Armatura.  Through our Study Approach and Training Methodology we strive to keep the martial in martial arts practice. 

For a list of seminar courses within our
Member Training Program go here

See also: the ARMA System for Historical Fencing

Open Workshops
Instruction for Non-Members

We also offer full 1 or 2-day open events for non-members worldwide. Our Renaissance Fencing Enthusiast Workshops are open to anyone to attend, not just members.  Beginners and novices are welcome as is anyone of any level of interest or experience.

Open workshops cover the historical and technical fundamentals of one weapon---such as longsword, side-sword (cut-and-thrust sword), or rapier---as well as foundations of the ARMA Study Approach and Training Methodology. 

These are presented as open events outside of the curricula of our certification seminars for members.  We assist in both promotion and registration of attendees once a suitable location is arranged and a date confirmed.   If there is sufficient interest in your area and you would like to host such an event, inquire about scheduling a Seminar by emailing us. 

We generally require a facility with a high ceiling and a large area suited to 10-30 people practicing, but are flexible.  We recommend starting with a longsword seminar as it is the foundation of our Art. 

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Senior Instructor
John Clements:

A range of group seminars on historical fencing featuring the ARMA system are offered by senior instructor, John Clements, a leading researcher-practitioner of historical fencing and a foremost instructor of Medieval and Renaissance swordplay, has over 30 years of experience in the craft and has taught in 11 countries. John has publicly instructed in this subject since 1992 teachings dozens of events on longsword, sword & buckler, sword & dagger, and rapier. Mr. Clements specializes in presenting introduction to Renaissance martial courses, individual advancement lessons, and the ARMA's certification seminar series.


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.