raining Programs Overview

Academy of European Medieval Martial ArtsThe training programs employed at AEMMA are the result of of years of extensive research & development, reconstruction and practice based upon surviving manuscripts and illustrations found in a variety of historical treatises and other period sources, with emphasis on the early period fencing [ 1 ] of the XIV and XV centuries. The reason for focusing on the XIV and XV centuries is that the material to study prior to this period were rare and sketchy at best. The most comprehensive martial arts system description is Fiori dei Liberi's "Flos Duellatorum" [ 2 ], while the most formalized and earliest swordsmanship treatise first appearing mid-13th century describing sword & buckler techniques. The author of this treatise or "Fechtbuch I.33" was unknown, but appears to have been written by German monks in both German and Latin, describing a system of fighting using the sword & buckler. Other period sources were illustrations depicting historical events with little "martial-oriented" text. The early 15th century was a landmark for the historical treatises, which includes material used as a source for the design and structure of the AEMMA training programs.

Recruit Level of Training

The principle source and foundation all levels of training at AEMMA is Fiori dei Liberi's "Flos Duellatorum". The reason that Fiore's treatise was selected as the principal source is that it is considered by AEMMA as being the most comprehensive compendium of a complete martial arts system known as l`arte dell`armizare or simply as armizare recorded in the early 15th century (1410), and therefore, both the recruit and scholler training programs structure imitates this system. To that end, the recruit training program includes the foundations found in the three core components of training:

The abrazare or grappling component of the recruit training will develop the student's sense of distance, timing, footwork and confidence in hand-to-hand form of combat. Techniques learned include evades, throws, arm bars and locks. It is thought that Liberi's students may have trained abrazare for possibly years before gripping the sword in training because he used the grappling for not only developing the student's fighting skills, but also as a "filter mechanism" in which those who were truly not interested in training in the art of swordsmanship, would not be interested in training in the core fundamentals that grappling offers. However, at AEMMA, the three components listed are offered concurrently, with each practice focused on one of the components and rotated through the practice sessions.

The daga or dagger training leverages the techniques and skills developed in abrazare training with the introduction of a weapon, that being the dagger. All of the principles learned through abrazare is leveraged to dagger training. Other fighting attributes are further emphasized such as distance, timing and place. With the weapon, the students are now spaced a bit further apart as compared to fighting hand-to-hand in abrazare. The weapon adds a degree of complexity to the fight thus enhancing the student's skills with respect to the combative principles of fighting.

The last component covering spada or sword introduces the second weapon in the recruit's repertoire, that being the arming sword. The arming sword was carried by individuals in the period to provide them defense in a civilian environment. The arming sword usually accompanied with a dagger were worn as part of the normal day-to-day wear of the period. The arming sword is a single-handed weapon and provides the maximum instructional benefits in terms of the student's developing their sense of timing and distance and other core fencing concepts.

Sequenza or Drills

An important part of training for both recruit and scholler are drills which are designed to isolate certain combative attributes or principles. These attributes can be as simple as drills focused on distance management, or timing. Other drills are designed to provide the opportunities to deploy certain techniques of the focus of the particular training session. Although some sequenza are formalized, such as phase 1 through to phase 4 drills, additional sequenze are being developed concurrently with training by the instructors of AEMMA to further enhance the student's experience training at the Academy, while furthering their particular skills development in the fighting stye studied.

Scholler Level of Training

The scholler training and above will not only conduct a more in-depth study of "Flos Duellatorum" with respect to abrazare, daga e spada segments, the scholler will also develop intimate familiarity and skill with the rest of Fiore's treatise. The entire list of fighting styles studied are:

* sword & buckler, although not part of Fiore's system, AEMMA believes that it is a fascinating and useful weapons mode, offering schollers a logical transition from arming sword to longsword. The sword and buckler offers a high degree of protection for the hands, and at the same time, offers the scholler a "sense" of longsword. The sword & buckler training is sourced directly from the Tower Fechtbuch I.33.

The training program mimics the sections in Fiore's Flos Duellatorum, structured into segments, each training segment concluding with a segment test. The scholler may also study one or more historical additional sources and references in order to compose a dissertation in preparation for their free scholler rank, such as Joachim Meyer, 1570, "Gründtliche Beschreibung, and Hans Talhoffer's "Fechtbuch aus dem Jahre 1467", "Fechtbuch aus dem Jahre 1443", "Alte Armatur und Ringkunst 1459", or other sources, including George Silver, Sigmund Ringeck, Giacomo di Grassi and Achille Marozzo to name a few.

The objective of the overall AEMMA R&D effort, is to create a modern interpretation of the training methods described in the period manuscripts examined and then integrate them into a viable training program employed today. There is nothing "unique" about the training program, nor is it an "AEMMA" proprietary training program or methodology. It is simply an interpretation of historical techniques and methods as a result of the study and research conducted.

General training segments overviews are available by clicking on any one icon displayed below. The overviews briefly describes the particular program segment employed today as an aid to assist students to successfully challenge for the prize of scholler or free scholler.

Training Overviews by Weapons/Fighting Style

Click on the fighting style icons below for a more general description of each style trained @ AEMMA.

Grappling Training  Dagger Training  Longsword Training  Armoured Combat Training  Pollaxe Training  Medieval Longbow Training  Mounted and Horsemanship Training  Siege Engine Training

Fees, Schedule, Location

Training occurs weekly, on Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and monthly on Saturdays (open training session). Click on the Academy's training location or training schedule or fees structure for more info.


  1. Early Period Fencing (XIV and XV Centuries) a periodization for the classification of the eras of the history of fencing based on the various periods in the development of the historical European fighting arts. See the International Masters at Arms Federation (IMAF) website for more info.
  2. Fiore dei Liberi, a swordsmaster born in Cividale del Friuli, a small town on the river Natisone in north-east Italy sometime between 1340 - 1350 wrote his treatise entitled "Flos Duellatorum" or "Flower of Battle" in 1410.

Copyright © 2000 Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts  (AEMMA)
Released: November 09, 1998 / Last modified: June 19, 2010