The IAS Core Curriculum: How it Works

The International Armizare Society is a confraternal association concerned with the restoration, preservation and transmission of canonical Armizare as  a complete, traditional, but living and functional martial art. To this end, we have…

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The International Armizare Society’s First Provost Exam, Part Three: Combative Ability and Conclusions

One of the most important steps in the progression from the grade of scholar to master is the concept of prize playing. This is the western equivalent to the promotion testing of Asian martial arts systems. The “play for the prize” is comprised of two steps. The first step occurs as an internal event, comprised of written and physical tests to assess the student’s skills. The second step is for the student to submit a challenge for a public prize playing (free fencing exhibition), for the grade being tested for.

Section One: The Dagger Gauntlet

 Using an idea developed from IAS member and CSG daughter school the Rocky Mountain Swordplay Guild, the first part of the Provost’s Prize is dubbed the Dagger Gauntlet, and tests the candidate’s ability to employ dagger defenses creatively and spontaneously.

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The International Armizare Society’s First Provost Exam, Part Two: Board Examination
Students enter the „Natio Germanica Bononiae“, the german nation at the university of Bologna, image from the 15th century

The International Armizare Society’s First Provost Exam, Part Two: Board Examination

Once a student has cleared their school’s internal provost requirements, it falls to their instructor to arrange for an IAS Examiners Board. The board always comprises the testee’s instructor/sponsor, and then at least two other examiners. In this case, Mr. Mele was joined by Society co-founder Sean Hayes (Northwest Fencing Academy), and the board was rounded out by Marco Quarta (Nova Scrimia) and Devon Boorman (Academie Duello), both IAS Advisors. Since this was the Society’s first board, and thus the Board, as much as the Candidate, were under examination, we also asked Mr. Christian Cameron (Hoplologia), an IAS member and future candidate to join us. His experience both in modern fencing and sitting as an officer on US naval boards helped us streamline and refine the process as we went.

Candidate Introduction

The first part of the oral exams began with an introduction of the student. While this may at first seem a bit superfluous, after all, the candidate in this case was a long-time student of one of the Society’s co-founders, it serves several purpose. First, and most obviously, if the IAS is successful in its mission, there will come a time when candidates are not well-known to all, or even most, of their examiners. Secondly, questions such as Who are you and why are you here? or What do you get from the journey of mastering armizare? Why do you want this rank? give a glimpse into the candidate’s mindset, personal aspirations and how they see both the role of armizare and their lives, and theirs in the armizare community. In the end, martial arts (as opposed to simple combatives) are more than pragmatic combat skills; all the more so when the art in question involves using antique weapons: it can and should be about challenging each of us to be better, do better and challenge others to do the same.

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An Interview with Fiore dei Liberi’s stunt double….

Alphabet - The Akademia Szermierzy is a Polish HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) academy in Warsaw. While I knew of the Akademia and its members via Facebook, I wasn’t really aware of the focus or quality of their work, other than they were interested in Armizare.  So imagine my delight (and the entire Society’s!) when they released a short film presenting their interpretations of Fiore dei Liberi’s swordsmanship, not as a how-to or demo-reel, but as a dramatization of one of the old master’s five duels against rival fencing masters. Since it was released (Aug 13, 2016), the video has garnered 56,000 views and enthusiastic applause from HEMA students across the globe.  Certainly, IAS feels it is one of the most dynamic snapshots of our art currently online.  (See for yourself, then come back and read the rest of this article!)

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Writing Fiore: Fiction as a Window to the Master’s Mind

‘I, Fiore, am of the opinion that few in the world are Masters of this art, an art for which I want to be remembered’

[N.B. — IAS is pleased to have among its membership, renowned historical fiction and fantasy author Christian Cameron. An historian, former intelligence officer and long-time historical reenactor, Christian’s writing focuses on looking into the minds, lives and motives of “those who fight”, vividly bringing other times and places to life. In researching the world of the 14th century he discovered armizare , which plays a role in both his “Chivalry” and “Traitor Son” series, particularly the former, where a young Fiore dei Liberi himself appears as a character!

The young Fiore we first meet late in The Ill-Made Knight and learn a great deal about in the sequel, The Long Sword, is perhaps not the figure we would expect. Neither Yoda (nor even Luke Skywalker) nor Miyamoto Musashi in plate armour, he’s simultaneously brilliant and dense, blunt and emotionally awkward, suggesting a modern diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome on Autism Spectrum Disorder. Is this our man, or just a bit of fictive fantasy useful to Christian’s story? As you will see, Christian himself argues the answer may well be “why not both?”]

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Announcement: Declaration of Fraternity with the Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts!

The International Armizare Society is extremely pleased to announce a Declaration of Fraternity with the Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts, which can be seen IAS-AEMMA-Smith-Hayes-Mele-Signature_signed_mar18_2016.

About AEMMA
With chapters throughout eastern Canadam AEMMA is one of the first North American HEMA schools, and the group whose presence made the first Western Martial Arts Workshop (1999) in Chicago an “international” event, and long-time promoters of armizare taught in its fullness: from grappling to polearms, in armour and without. In particular, they have placed a strong emphasis on the importance of armoured combat, hosting the first HEMA-inspired armoured tournament (2000) in Toronto. Greg was an early collaborator on AEMMA’s efforts to create a viable system of historically-inspired armoured tournaments, and a decade later, the AEMMA system served as a model for a system developed  by Greg, Sean and IAS advisor Bob Charrette, which is now known as the DeKoven Conventions.  Furthermore, in 2008, AEMMA provosts Brian McIlmoyle and David Murphy stood as challengers at the first Chicago Swordplay Guild Free Scholar prize, where they and the CSG declared mutual recognition of each other’s ranks. “Your Scholars are our Scholars,” Brian said. This new Declaration is a natural outgrowth of that long-standing recognition. (more…)

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Fundamental Mechanics: Executing a Correct Fendente

From time to time IAS will release Member’s Area content (normally only available to affiliates) to the general public, in the interests of promoting L’Arte dell’Armizare and the Academy’s approach to it.  This post is an in-depth lesson and video detailing the execution of a fundamental action: the fendente, and is part of a series of in-depth Fundamentals videos.

The video details the specifics of the fendente itself; the lesson refers to partnered body mechanics exercises that are reviewed before the fendente lesson is begun.  Those videos are not shown here (but are in the Member’s Area).

Lesson 1: Fundamental Body & Sword Mechanics

Level: Fundamental/Beginning

Description: Students will learn to execute both mandritto and riverso fendenti from Posta di Donna diritta (mandritto side) and Posta di Donna sinistra (on the riverso side) using correct body mechanics.

Prerequisites: None.

Goals: To properly engage arms, shoulders, hips and legs to power the blow in a true time (hand before body and feet) into a tactically sound and physically stable ending position.

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