Charter

The IAS charter serves as a set of guidelines for the regular operations of the IAS as well as defining iaslogo_display_500pxroles for the various parties.

This document forms the constitution for the International Armizare Society as pertains to membership and the rules concerning the governing body, voting and general governance. Much like other documents in the IAS portfolio, it is a living document, and may be amended given the general approval (by vote) of its Governing Council.

Preamble

The International Armizare Society (heretofore referred to as IAS) is an historical and chivalric European martial arts confraternal association concerned with the restoration, preservation and transmission of canonical Armizare as recorded and left to posterity by the Founder, Fiore dei Liberi, and the work of successors determined to be within his tradition as a complete, traditional, but living and functional martial art. In furtherance of these goals, the association shall:

  1. provide a common set of curricular and performance objectives such that inter-school rank recognition by signatories is facilitated.
  2. form a testing body and formal testing regimen for instructor certification to ensure transmission and proper preservation of the dei Liberi Tradition, as the Society understands it.
  3. develop an Advisory Council of recognized experts to assist the Society and oversee the testing of its first master-level candidates.
  4. maintain an active content-rich website of academic, interpretive and instructional material to assist in educating the public about medieval/early Renaissance Italian martial arts in general and armizare in specific.
  5. dialogue with other martial artists in order to increase awareness of armizare in the large martial arts community.

The Society’s overarching goal is therefore the revival of a tradition and the establishment of lineages for the continued transmission of the Art, as stated in its mission and objectives and to this end, the organisation has also put forth formal testing requirements and will institute mechanisms for forming on-going testing and governing bodies.

In furtherance of these goals, the association shall provide a common set of curricular and performance objectives such that inter-school rank recognition by signatories is facilitated. As a result, the IAS will also form a testing body and formal testing regimen for instructor certification in an effort to ensure transmission and proper preservation of the dei Liberi Tradition, as the IAS sees it.

The IAS concerns itself principally with the disciplines set forth by Fiore dei Liberi, and can be summarized by the treatise’s title: Flos Duellatorum in armis, sine armis, equester et pedester, “Flower of Battle in armour, without armour, mounted and on foot.” It is a holistic presentation of knightly combat in all its forms: grappling, dagger, sword in one hand, sword in two hands, spear, poleaxe and mounted combat.

As the preservation, study and refinement of historical martial arts, and specifically l’Arte dell’Armizare is an ongoing endeavour, any document should be considered a “living document”, and may be reviewed and revised at any time with the consent of the governing body.

I. Membership

There are three levels of membership: Member schools, Affiliate schools and Endorsed schools.

Member

I.a Membership is granted to schools having a member having attained a minimum rank of Provost according to the IAS conventions. Should a ranked member, upon which member status was granted, leave the according school, membership is suspended until such time as the school can rank another member. Failing that, membership will be revoked (or demoted) after a maximum one year suspension.

Affiliate

I.b Affiliate schools are schools following the IAS methodology and pedagogy. They may be working “at-large”, or as “branch” schools, directly mentored by a specific, IAS instructor.

Endorsed

I.c Endorsed or recommended schools are not members, but schools of good repute known to the IAS, without necessarily following the IAS methodology and structure.

Becoming a member

The IAS is neither a “school” nor a “federation” in the strictest sense, but is rather more analogous to a trade guild: an association of craftsmen looking to refine and maintain a high standard in the practice of their craft. This sort of relationship exists on an individual teacher-student, with the specific goal of developing a qualified “next generation” of instructors to carry armizare forward. Therefore, membership in the Society consists of two forms:  accreditation and mentoring.

I.d Accredited teachers are those who have gone through the Society’s certification process and currently hold the ranks of Provost or Magister (see “membership”). Schools run by these instructors are considered member bodies, but it is contingent upon the instructor’s rank and affiliation with the IAS. In other words, if you have joined a school led by an IAS instructor, then you are already a part of the organization!

I.e Mentoring is a key component of the Society’s mission. There are many interested students of armizare who find themselves without a local teacher, a small study group with little formal curriculum, or excellent personal skills but little pedagogical training.  Our Instructional Resources page has a growing repository of training materials, including class handouts, detailed curriculum, video lessons and seminar footage to help. In reviewing these materials, you feel that you would benefit from direct affiliation with the IAS,  then there are two ways to do so.  First, this website lists all IAS certified instructors; find one whose biography, school or proximity appeals to you and contact them directly! A number of our member schools have affiliated branch schools that began in just such a fashion, and this method is likely the best choice if you are new to armizare or are working alone.

A second option, more ideal for existing schools and study groups, is to contact the Society directly and ask to become an Affiliate. In the process of affiliation, we will want to know more about you, such as the size of your group, how old it is, where you train, your prior martial experience, and so forth. A mentor will be assigned to you, largely based on geographical proximity, to help you through the process and answer any question you may have regarding our criteria or the process of becoming a member. It will be required to host one of the members of the governing council in order for there to be oversight into the QoE and QoI of the petitioning school/students.

Finally, a vote must be held by the governing council to admit any petitioner to the IAS, according to the voting rules and procedures in force.

II. Ranking and Certification

II.a The International Armizare Society, with its associate schools, shall employ a historical rank structure based upon that used by the fencing guilds of the 15th and 16th centuries.  Ranking shall consists of four grades, in ascending order:

  • Scolaro (Scholar),
  • Laureato (Free Scholar),
  • Rettore (Provost)
  • Magistro d’Armizare (Magister).

The first two of these ranks shall be considered student ranks, while the latter two constitute senior instructor ranks. Although the Society shall establish recognizable standards and minimum requirements for all four grades, the authority for testing and granting of rank for the lower ranks of Scolaro and Laureato to its member academies.  Conversely, member bodies agree to external examination and certification by the association for the rank of Provost or Master at Arms, once all requirements internal to the member academy have been met.

II.b For proper rank recognition by the IAS to take place, the following factors shall be evaluated.

  1. Content
    1. practical
    2. theoretical
  2. Quality of execution
  3. Quality of interpretation
  4. Academics
  5. Instructional

As personal pedagogy forms an important part of the requirements for proper transmission of the art to take place, and as such is included and evaluated for these ranks.

II.c Certification granted by the Society pertains to the discipline of canonical armizare, as understood by the Society, and conveys no rank or privilege in any other discipline or martial art.

II.d  The IAS shall not grant “paper” or “honorary” ranks, beyond the internal ranks granted by its member schools, nor shall any candidate be granted the rank of Rettore or Magister without having met the certification requirements.

II.e External to the organization the Society’s Governing Council is given the authority to create reciprocal recognition with other governing bodies, as it deems necessary or appropriate. Such recognition shall not constitute rank or membership within the Society. The Society neither warrants nor refutes the ranks granted by any organisations outside its member bodies or recognized affiliates.

III. Governance

III.a The Charter of the International Armizare Society calls for a semi-democratic structure in which the Society is overseen by a Governing Council working in concert with both Research and Martial Advisors. We call the system “semi-democratic” in the sense that, as martial arts are inherently hierarchical and elitist, only magister-level candidates are generally eligible to serve on the Governing Council.

The Society will be led by a Governing Council, comprised of five Magistri d’Armizare, consisting of the three founding members, plus two additional members, elected from the membership. Elected members serve a term of 3 years. The Council sets policy, review requests for Affiliation and conducts examinations.

Until such time as there are five Magistri d’Armizare available to form a full Governing Council, the Founding Members shall be entrusted to act as a Governing Council Pro Tempore.

III.b For issues pertaining to governance and policy, a vote of the governing council must be held. Such vote will be held in the following cases: policy change, criteria change for ranking, QoI or QoE changes, or any other issue in which there may be a difference of opinion and which may have an effect on the quality or internal functioning of the organisation.

The procedure for voting is thus:

  1. A proposal is made.
  2. The proposal is seconded. This triggers a period of debate.
  3. The period of debate will be no longer than 2 weeks, after which a vote must be held. This vote can be deferred or shortened, should a majority wish it by holding an impromptu vote (procedural).
  4. A simple majority of votes grants the proposal.
  5. The results are effective immediately, unless otherwise stipulated in the proposal.
  6. Any impromptu vote must be agreed upon by all voting members.

Governing Council

III.c The IAS Governing Council is meant to be comprised of five Magistri d’Armizare, consisting of the three founding members, plus two additional members, elected from the membership. Elected members serve a term of three years. The Council sets policy, review requests for Affiliation and conducts examinations.

Note that in order to move the organization forward, until such time as there are five Magistri d’Armizare available to form a full Governing Council, the IAS Charter calls for the Founding Members to act as a Governing Council Pro Tempore, as stated previously.

Members are elected to the governing council according to the general voting guidelines in force.

Founding Members

The founding members, serving as the governing council pro tempore, are:

Gregory Mele – Chicago Swordplay Guild

Sean Hayes – Northwest Fencing Academy

Jason Smith – Les Maîtres d’Armes

IV. Research and Martial Advisory Councils

IV.a The resurrection of an historical martial art is a complex process requiring a detailed study of both the relevant technical sources, cross-referencing with contemporary sources from parallel traditions, pressure testing interpretations for conformance to sound  body mechanics, fundamental martial principles and effectiveness, combined with an understanding of the historical, cultural and social context in which the art was created and practiced as well as the material culture associated with practicing the art. To this end, the IAS Governors are charged with developing Research and Advisory Councils comprised of:

  1. Known and respected researcher-practitioners of contemporary Historical European Martial Arts.
  2. Known and respected high-level instructors of surviving European martial arts, such as fencing, stick-fighting and wrestling, particularly those from Italy.
  3. Known and respected high-level instructors from living traditions of non-European martial arts that developed in a similar cultural milieu and have a similar “composite” nature, combining long and short bladed weapons, polearms and grappling.
  4. Established academics and researchers in the fields of medieval and early Renaissance Italian history, chivalric culture and late medieval military history;
  5. Respected authorities in the field of late medieval arms and armour.

IV.b The Research and Martial Advisory Councils serve to counsel the IAS with regards to any number of topics with specialized knowledge is required. Further, the Councils shall serve as a panel to oversee the testing of the Society’s first Magister candidates, vetting their research, martial efficacy, and pedagogical skill, until such time as a full board of five Magistri d’Arme can be constituted to assume responsibility for examinations.

Both councils sit in an advisory capacity only, and play no role in setting policy nor in the general governance of the IAS, although their input is always welcome and appreciated.

When reconstructing a martial art, there is always the danger of “you do not know, what you do not know” — the subtleties of written instruction that rely upon an understanding of the social and intellectual culture that produced a text, as well as the many oral lessons that accompany learning a physical discipline that are simply lost due to a lack of direct transmission. Therefore, to maintain the highest standards of both martial and academic efficacy in the reestablishment of Armizare as a living, martial tradition, the Society has established a Research and Martial Advisory Council. The Council serves to counsel the IAS on various matters of import with regards to research, martial efficacy, pedagogy and any number of topics with specialized knowledge is required. Whereas the Research Council is a permanent, academic advisory body, the chief purpose of the Martial Advisory Council is to call upon the expertise of high level teachers of traditional martial arts to serve as a sounding board and pro tempore committee in the testing and establishment of the first generation of Magistri d’Armizare, until such a time as a full board of five examiners are available.

Research Council

Members of the Research Council have been chosen for their expertise in a variety of topics, including not only armizare itself, but also chivalric culture, medieval Italian language and history, arms and armour and medieval military history. The Council serves to maintain quality standards in original research produced by IAS members as well as theses submitted by magister candidates as part of the academic component of their testing requirements.

Council Members
  • Robert N. Charrette
  • Daniel Jaquet, Ph.D
  • Tom Leoni
  • Marco Quarto, Ph.D

Martial Advisory Council

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 because 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
  • Roberto Laura
  • Robert “Puck” Curtis
  • Orazio Barbagallo
  • Roberto Gotti
  • Marco Quarta

APPENDIX A: INSTRUCTOR CODE OF CONDUCT

INTRODUCTION

This Code of Conduct is intended to provide standards of professional conduct that can be applied by International Armizare Society  instructors and its member organisations that choose to adopt them. This Code also provides a common set of values upon which the IAS instructor builds their professional work and has as its primary goal the welfare and protection of the individuals and groups with whom the instructors work. It is the individual responsibility of each instructor to aspire to the highest possible standards of conduct. IAS instructors respect and protect human and civil rights, and do not knowingly participate in or condone unfair discriminatory practices.

CODE OF CONDUCT

A: Competence
  1. IAS instructors strive to maintain high standards of excellence in their teaching.
  2. IAS instructors recognize the boundaries of their particular competencies and the limitations of their expertise. They provide instruction in only those areas for which they are qualified by training and experience.
  3. IAS instructors maintain knowledge of relevant technical information related to the instruction they render, and they recognize the need for ongoing education and training.
  4. IAS instructors strive to maintain continual commitment to CANI: “Constantly And Never-ending Improvement [citing Dr. W. Edwards Deming’s personal philosophy as taught by Tony Robbins].
B: Integrity
  1. IAS instructors seek to promote integrity in the instruction of l’Arte dell’Armizare.
  2. IAS instructors are honest, fair, and respectful of others. In describing or reporting their qualifications, services, or fees, they do not make statements that are false, misleading, or deceptive.
  3. IAS Instructors strive to operate by the fundamental guidelines of common etiquette and chivalric philosophy and avoid behavior unbecoming or potentially damaging to the IAS, and its members.
C: Professional Responsibility
  1. IAS instructors uphold ethical standards of conduct, accept appropriate responsibility for their behavior, and adapt their teaching methods to the needs of different learners.
  2. IAS instructors consult with, refer to, or cooperate with other IAS or CFAA instructors to the extent needed to serve the best interest of the learner.
  3. IAS instructors’ moral standards and conduct are personal matters to the same degree as is true for any other person, except when instructors’ conduct may compromise their teaching responsibilities or reduce the public’s trust in the instructor or the IAS.
  4. IAS instructors promote the IAS ranking system and ensure sound pedagogical principles in the instruction of l’Arte dell’Armizare.
  5. IAS instructors ensure that rank assessment and promotions awarded by its members are conducted in accordance with the approved standards of the IAS.