True Edge Academy of Swordsmanship is a school of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), sometimes called Western Martial Arts (WMA) or historical fencing and is an affiliate of the HEMA Alliance. Our mission is to develop and teach a modern martial art rooted in the martial systems of Medival and Renaissance Europe.
The twin arts of die Kunst des Fechtens (German: the Art of Fighting) and L’Arte dell’Armizare (Italian: the Art of Arms) have a long tradition, and for centuries they shaped the history of warfare in the West. They were formalized from older regional martial arts styles in the thirteenth and fourteenth century by masters such as Fiore de’i Liberi and Johannes Liechtenauer. For more than three hundred years their descendants carried on the tradition and recorded their arts and secret teachings in martial arts manuals called Fechtbücher. Eventually, firearms came to dominate the battlefield and Europe’s martial arts fell into disuse and vanished, but these manuals remained, tucked away in the forgotten corners of libraries across the world.
True Edge Academy, along with other practitioners around the world, has taken up the work of resurrecting these martial arts. Our curriculum begins with these ancient martial teachings and applies modern organization and educational theory to them, resulting in a complete and unified fighting system. Our students begin their training with the longsword, the same weapon that held a place of supremacy historically. In the course of this study, they begin to internalize the fundamentals that underlie all martial arts, such as proper balance and footwork, effective use of offensive and defensive actions in a self-defense situation, and the ability to feel into an opponent and react appropriately to his movements.
Once scholars have built a basic foundation with the longsword, the curriculum begins to branch out into other weapons, including single-hand sword styles (such as sword & empty hand, sword & buckler, and sword & dagger), knife fighting, various types of staffs, and the complex unarmed art of Kampfringen (combat grappling). Scholars also begin a more detailed study of the ancient treatises themselves, to gain an appreciation of their importance and to learn directly from the teachings of the masters.
True Edge Academy began in 2000 as a HACA (Historical Armed Combat Association) study group, became ARMA Provo (a part of the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts) and final True Edge Academy with the formation of the HEMA Alliance making it one of the oldest historical fencing groups in the United States.