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True Edge Academy (Utah)


About the group:

True Edge Academy (Utah) is one of the oldest historical fencing groups in the United States.  Formerly a flagship study group of the HACA (Historical Armed Combat Association) and later known as ARMA Provo (a part of the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts and sponsored by BYU’s College of Military Science and Army ROTC), True Edge Academy currently trains at multiple locations in Utah and is an affiliate of the HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts) Alliance.

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 manuscripts themselves, to gain an appreciation of their importance and to learn directly from the teachings of the masters. 


Public classes:

Monday classes are held in Salt Lake City from 6:45pm - 9:00pm and Saturday practices are held 10:30am - 12:30pm at Crossfit Spearhead, 4540 S Highland Dr, Holladay, UT 84117 (Google Maps Link). If you plan to attend the Salt Lake City class please send an email to info(at)trueedgeacademy.com.

Wednesday and Saturday classes take place in Provo on the field north of the Wilkinson Center at BYU during the summer and inside during the winter.  Classes run from 7pm to 9pm on Wednesdays, as well as 10:30am to 12:30pm on Saturdays. 

Click here if you are interested in attending classes with True Edge Academy of Swordsmanship.



Senior Instructor:

John.jpgJohn Harmston studied Kempo and Tae Kwon Do for many years before discovering HEMA.  As a professional writer, John was interested in conducting research on historical fighting techniques for a novel.  He learned about ARMA Provo at an LTUE symposium at BYU; after just one class he was hooked and eventually became an ARMA General Free Scholar.  John is True Edge Academy’s resident arms and armor expert, owning a collection of replica weapons and armor.  He is the HEMA Alliance forum admin, a member of the Society of American Fight Directors, a member of the HEMA Alliance’s Governing Council, and is a contributor to the Wiktenauer. He is also the owner of AKnightForADay.com.


Instructor (Salt Lake City):

jeremiah.jpgJeremiah Smith heads up the Salt Lake City study group of True Edge Academy. A life long fan of the art of swordplay, his experiences in the art of combat include various Asian martial arts classes, training as a heavy fighter in the SCA, as well as a variety of self defense courses. After many years of searching, Jeremiah finally found a home at True Edge. With a passion for the source material, and a hunger to learn as well as teach, his goal is to give a solid foundation to those seeking to learn the fundamentals of historical European martial arts, and carry on traditions now lost to us. Jeremiah is a professional musician and a contributor to the Wiktenauer.


Instructor (Salt Lake City):

kristen.jpgKristen Argyle manages and leads the University of Utah study group of True Edge Academy. She's been studying with True Edge since 2010, and started the club at the University of Utah in Fall 2014.


Instructor (Provo):

james.jpgJames Carr leads the study group at Brigham Young University.


Senior Researcher:

Mike.jpgMichael Chidester has been studying Kunst des Fechtens since 2001, and has been working from the historical treatises since 2004. Until 2007, he was a member of the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts, where he achieved the rank of General Free Scholar and acted as ARMA Provo Study Group Leader. As principle architect of the True Edge curriculum, he has done extensive work studying and comparing the various manuscript traditions. His work in that area also currently forms the backbone of the Wiktenauer project, the world’s largest online database of HEMA information and research. In 2010, Michael received a BA in Philosophy from Brigham Young University, with a minor in Military Science.


Emeritus Senior Instructor:

Eli.jpgEli Combs was a practitioner of Tae Kwon Do prior to his study of HEMA and has a bachelor's degree in history.  He joined ARMA in 2000 and eventually became a Senior Free Scholar, “playing his prize” in the longsword.  He was one of the original founders of True Edge Academy and currently serves in the US Army.