"But what if I am not a martial artist?"

There is no other subject quite like Renaissance martial arts within the realm of world fighting systems today and anyone can become involved.

Uniquely, our subject is to a large degree as much scholarship as it is fighting practice. Indeed, each benefits directly from the other. General research is equally important to our craft as is hands-on exercise for skill development. ARMA is a martial arts organization, but because of our historical component many ARMA members who are not active practitioners and who do not regularly train physically, spar, exercise in teh skills, or work-out still take part in this exploration and discovery. They read, they research, translate, offer technical analysis, do editing and proofing, contribute financially, or just assist the club's effort in other valuable ways.

While someone who does not in any way fence or train physically may say to themselves, "I am not a martial artist" and wonder what they can do, that is really beside the point if their genuine interest is in studying the history of their martial heritage. The practice of martial arts (i.e., the Arts of Mars, or historical fencing) is a great thing, but not everyone finds it appealing to the same degree or has the same aptitude for it. After all, a person may today be a valuable member of the armed forces but not be a "combat soldier" or they may work in an important area of the medical field and not be a nurse or doctor. Even if you personally aren't a Renaissance martial arts practitioner, by having joined, you have in effect shown that you recognize and appreciate the virtue of the martial mentality we value and the earnest approach we promote. In fact, most of ARMA's official Senior Advisors are academics and scholars.

In the end, everything we do is geared toward the goal of acquiring personal understanding and skill while raising the legitimacy and credibility of these arts. Thus, we suggest to members who do not consider themselves serious martial artists that they focus on the scholarship side of our craft-the area where we are all lacking: translation, transcription, pure research, etc. In the course of this you will over time naturally gravitate toward picking up a weapon and trying slowly to reason through the teachings of the historical sources--which in the end is really what all of us are doing. Those of a more academic bent work in concert with the more physically active to gain insight and spur a dialogue that augments and enriches our mutual study. Research is the bridge between scholarship and practice that validates our craft as historically authentic. To avoid becoming "arm chair" martial artists our "prime directive" must simply remain always that what we study be executable theoretically and practically against an uncooperative agent (i.e., combat effective).
One need not be an expert in something in order to revive it, support it, and help it grow.

Whatever your area of interest or expertise, everyone can contribute. In just a few years of our studies we have found valuable assistance from a wide range of fields, including: computer science, history, education, military service, law enforcement, the medical profession, forensics, psychology, archeology, anthropology, sociology, fashion, law, literature, poetry, drama, language, and many more. Ours is a multi-disciplinary approach to contribution. It is amazing what small tidbits of insight and kernels of knowledge turn out to be relevant and helpful. Even the role of "complete neophyte" itself has value for us. Each total beginner brings new and fresh perspectives as well as offering the necessary feedback that helps us become more responsive in addressing the needs of members just starting out on their path of learning.

There is a certain sense of excitement and exploration in the rediscovery and revival of historical European fighting arts and in ARMA we have learned unquestionably that everyone brings some thing of worth to the subject. Together we are artists, researchers, teachers, and fencers. But we are all students. And practitioner or not, martial artist or not, as long as we read and reflect and share with one another we are all scholars of Renaissance martial arts.



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