Reborn in 21st Century
we find ourselves in a new age of discovery, a
Renaissance of the European martial arts. Old
myths and outdated beliefs are being challenged by new scientific
knowledge brought about by the rediscovery of old texts. Due
to the rediscovery in recent years of forgotten, lost, or
previously unknown European works concerned with self-defence
and the handling of arms particularly swordsmanship
we students of the subject find ourselves in a period of rebirth.
Like the caravel ships that took explorers across the
oceans, we now have our computers that sail the Internet,
opening routes of communication and trade to bring together
a vast community of practitioners, amateur researchers, and
historians questioning the outdated assumptions of traditional
fencing and who are eager to relearn and bring to back to
life our lost martial heritage.
The ARMA system of exploring real techniques
places emphasis on proper intent i.e., learning
and executing moves with realistic speed and range in order
to acquire a correct sense of counter-timing, balance, and
motion. ARMA stresses a martial approach
to this subject by this we mean emphasizing that these
skills and techniques were intended to be used with force
to cause injury 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
energy and speed, and we must make the effort to practice
them in this way. This doesnt come easily at first
and has to be developed over time. The 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
as well as the physical or technical. We provide a system
of Armatura (drills & exercises) that enable the student
to make quick progress and to teach themselves.
As with the practice of popular forms of Asian
martial-arts, there are noticeably different approaches to
the study and practice of historical Western fighting arts
emerging today. You can choose between a "hard"
or "soft" style of Karate, or an "external"
or "internal" style of Kung Fu, and note fundamentally
different attitudes between a Tae Kwon Do class and a Jujitsu
class, or between Aikido and Tai Chi as opposed to Tai Boxing
and Jeet Kune Do. A student finds one that fits their needs
and their interests and their attitude. So it is with Medieval
and Renaissance weapon study to a large degree now.
regard to studying and practicing historical European methods,
there are those who focus merely on stage displays and performance,
those who play fantasy games, those who focus on tournaments
and competitions, those who reenact the later Code Duello
or aspects of some particular master's Schoole of Defence,
and those who might do a little of everything. The martial
spirit and intensity found in their training varies depending
upon the goals, attitudes, knowledge, and methods of the participants
When it comes to the ARMA, and the Houston Study
Group in particular, although we resist the use of the phrase
we could nonetheless be described as one of the "hard,
external styles." Our effort is focused on late Medieval
and Renaissance swords and weapons. We emphasize contact-sparring,
drilling with wooden wasters and steel blunts, training with
replica weapons, grappling & closing techniques, research,
scholarship, unarmored combat, and test-cutting with sharps.
We emphasize a realistic approach to historical
fencing as a true martial art of self-defense, not a sport
of scoring points or a staged entertainment. Ours is a killing
art extracted and extrapolated from the many texts of historical
masters-at-arms and Masters of Defence combined with hands-on
experience with accurate weapons.
For more information
the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts