The chief purpose of the Advisory Council is to call upon the expertise of high level teachers of traditional martial arts to assist in the testing and establishment of the first generation of Magistri d’Armizare. Martial Advisors have been chosen for one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Pedagogical Rigor
  2. Cultural Proximity
  3. Parallel Knowledge

Pedagogical Rigor means that the Advisor is not only a trained expert combatant in a living martial tradition, but specifically is a trained teacher in a tradition with a refined pedagogy. As Armizare is part of the European martial heritage, Advisors chosen for Pedagogical Rigor are generally drawn from related, descendant Western traditions, such as classical fencing and wrestling.

In making a comparative study of Italian martial arts over the last six centuries, one finds that there is a common “vocabulary” of movement, body-mechanics, philosophy and tactics that infuses these traditions, despite a separation of centuries, evolution of weapons, or even class of society. Therefore, Cultural Proximity refers to Advisors chosen for their expertise in living martial traditions of the Italian peninsula, such as traditional saber, stick and knife fighting.

Finally, part of what makes Armizare distinctive is its use of grappling and diverse, archaic weapons in and out of full armour. Although no such traditions survive in Europe, there are some comparable arts that have been maintained in Asia. Advisors chosen for Parallel Knowledge are chosen specifically for their familiarity with armed grappling, polearms or armoured combat in the context of a living martial tradition.

 Council Members

DSC_0492Orazio Barbagallo (Italy) — Traditional Italian Knife and Stick Fighting

Maestro Orazio Barbagallo was born 1955 in Riposto/Sicily. He started his path within the Bastone Ruotato (“circling stick”), the traditional shepherd stick from Riposto, in the year 1964 under the tutelage of Maestro Franco Mille. In the same year, Maestro Barbagallo started to learn the Sicilian street knife called scerra by Angelo Fazio, a highly respected street knife fencer. In the years 1979 to 1991 he further practiced different martial arts, such as Greco-Roman wrestling, Wu Shu, Hung Gar, Sanda and Kick Boxing, and he won several championships. In the 1990s, he began training in the traditional circling stick with Maestro Scapellinu, the head of this system, and in the 21st century, he has studied intensively with Maestro Salvatore Scarcella from Riposto, one of the few icons of the knife system of the Ruotato school, used both in the form duel and the street encounters.

In 2003, Maestro Barbagallo founded the ASAMIR, an association for the preservation of popular Italian fencing traditions, especially the traditions of Sicily. Therefore, having studied and decoded the five major Sicilian schools of stick and knife fighting – the Battiri (“Beating”), the Missinisi (“From Messina”), the Riali (“Royal”), the Fiorata (“Flowery”) and the Ruotata (“Circling”). He is still the director of the ASAMIR today, and since 2005 he is teaching the traditions of Sicily also outside of Italy.
Devon Boorman (Canada) — Maestro d’Armi, Academie Duello

Devon Boorman has practised martial arts for more than 20 years. devon-boormanStarting first with Asian martial arts, including Kung Fu and Arnis, Devon discovered western swordplay through the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) which connected him with a burgeoning community of martial artists and scholars studying Historical European Marital Arts throughout the world.

Devon has travelled extensively, first as a student, then as a competitor, teacher, and researcher. He has won more than 40 European martial arts competitions, and worked on both stage and screen as a stunt person and choreographer. Devon is actively involved in the translation, interpretation, and revival of Western Martial Arts from surviving historical manuals, some of which are on display at his school.

Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques. He has taught workshops and seminars throughout the world on both the study and practice of historical techniques and on practical combat implementation.

Devon is the co-founder and director of Academie Duello, which has been active in the Vancouver area since 2004. Under his leadership the school has become a centre for swordplay with over 200 active students, a store, and an arms and armour museum. The Academie is currently the largest WMA centre in the world; a model that Devon hopes to help others achieve as the Western arts grow in popularity.


Richard “Puck” Curtis (USA) — Master-at-Arms, Classical Italian Fencing, Researcher, 16th c Iberian Martial Arts
Photograph courtesy of Mark Feenstra
Photograph courtesy of Mark Feenstra

Puck Curtis began studying historical fencing in 1992 and began researching Spanish fencing in 1994. He is the cofounder of the Destreza Translation and Research Project and maintains the Theory and Practice section for the website. Currently living in Davis, California, he is the primary historical fencing instructor for the Davis Fencing Academy. Puck is certified to teach classical Italian fencing (foil, dueling sword and sabre) as a Master at Arms through the San Jose Fencing Master’s program.

Roberto Gotti (Italy) — Italian Renaissance Swordsmanship (Scuola Bolognese)

roberto gottiRoberto began studying fencing 22 years ago, specializing in the two-handed sword of the Italian Renaissance . He attends many HEMA events in Europe and Italy as instructor. Author of Caino, a meticulously researched book on the history of Italy’s most important sword-manufacturing region, he is also the founder and director of Guardia di Croce, a small society in northern Italy dedicated to preserve and promoting Italian martial history. The society has a growing collection of original weapons and treatises, and maintains a private sala d’arme for the reconstruction and training in the school of Achille Marozzo. He is a member of the Federazione Italiana Scherma Work Group on historical fencing, and a founding member of Associazione Italiana Maestri d’Arme (AIMA).

stock2_genua_norditalienRoberto Laura (Germany) — Traditional Italian Knife and Stick Fighting

Roberto Laura was born in the beautiful San Remo at the Italian Riviera. In 1975 he moved to Heidelberg, Germany, were he lived till 1994. He currently lives with his family in Neckarsulm, close to Stuttgart.

After many years within boxing, Filipino and Japanese martial arts, in 2001 Roberto started training in the traditional Italian knife fencing systems with knife and stick. The systems taught by Maestro Roberto Laura are primarily the dueling and self-defense systems from Liguria, Apulia and Sicily, all probably from the 18th or early 19th century. He was the first to teach them outside of Italy.

In 2015, Maestro Laura founded TIKF – Traditional Italian Knife Fighting. The TIKF is not a system in itself, but is rather a “holding tank” for transmitting the different traditional arts he practices, trains and teaches. He also founded the AMICI-Group, a voluntary union of maestri, instructors and groups teaching the traditional Italian arts. Maestro Laura is also the head of the ASAMIR (Associazioni Sportive Arti Marziali Italiane Riunite)-Germany, an international recognized association dedicated to the preservation of the Italian and – most of all – the Sicilian fighting traditions.

Marco Quarta, Ph.D (USA and Italy) — Nova Scrimia, Modern and Traditional Italian Knife, Stick and Empty-Hand Fighting

This image is part a series depicting modern day sword fighters in attendance at the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium in February of 2013. Photograph courtesy of Mark Feenstra

Marco grew up in Bologna, Italy. His journey in the martial art world at a young age started with judo and jujitsu (where he earned a 3rd dan black belt) to eventually cross mixed martial arts (currently practicing BJJ). His interest in Italian martial traditions started in the early Nineties with formal training in modern fencing, boxing and wrestling. He eventually joined Graziano Galvani and his Italian martial arts research group (Circolo della Tavola), that later grew into the organization known as Nova Scrimia. As a co-founder, he served as senior instructor of the Nova Scrimia brotherhood from 1999 until present time. He is also maestro of historic fencing at Scrimia Scuola d’Armi. Since the late 90s, he has been teaching and promoting IMAs with publications, lectures, festivals, tournaments and seminars at Italian and International Universities and fencing/martial arts symposia (such as University of Bologna, Stanford in California, Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium, Western Martial Arts Workshop in Racine, WI, or at the Bone Breakers MMA Academy in Mexico City). In 2008 he moved to California, and founded Nova Scrimia International (; teaching and promoting IMAs in Canada, USA and Mexico. Since 2000 he opened Salles d’Armes in Bologna (IT), Padova (IT), San Francisco Bay Area (USA) and Mexico City (MX). He is also one of the founders of “Hic Sunt Leones”, a fighting club inspired by traditional assaults and combat rituals.

Professionally, Marco Quarta is a biomedical scientist at the School of Medicine of Stanford University, CA, USA. He has a particular scientific and research interests on history and on biomechanics and neurophysiology of duels and self defense in Western Martial Arts. He also teaches and promotes Italian Martial Arts (IMAs) at Stanford and in the San Francisco Bay Area, focused on applying original Italian martial art traditions in modern combat and self defense methods He also practices, researches and promotes Italian regional/folk IMAs in unarmed, knife and stick martial arts of living traditional schools and methods. In Italy he is currently producing and directing documentary series on traditional IMAs for the international community, closely working with the Masters, their families and their closed circles, who inherited these centuries-old living legacies.

Marco has a personal interest in the body-mind-spirit elements embedded in the core of western martial arts and fencing traditions, including the symbolic and philosophical aspects.