The International Armizare Society’s mission is to maintain and pass down 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. In furtherance of this, the IAS also seeks the “preservation and promotion of Armizare as a complete, traditional, but living and functional martial art”.
In furtherance of these goals, the association is to 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 to ensure transmission and proper preservation of the dei Liberi Tradition, as the IAS sees it.
Canonical vs. Applied Armizare
Referring to the specific instructions, tactical lessons and techniques left to posterity by Fiore dei Liberi, Filippo Vadi, and several fragmentary sources of anonymous authorship, Canonical Armizare is our historical legacy and the lingua franca by which the association understands its origins.
Conversely, Applied Armizare is “Armizare in Context”, or an understanding of how to apply the principles, tactics and mechanics of the art holistically and within situations upon which dei Liberi either did not discuss, only touched upon tangentially, or upon which he could not have conceived. For example:
- Did not discuss – sword and buckler or large shield, although it was a contemporary weapon style, closely related to the sword in one hand, which he did teach;
- Touched upon tangentially – the use of the short stick (bastoncello) or partizan (ghiavarina)
- Could not have conceived – the use of abrazare, bastoncello and knife defense for modern, personal protection, interpolation of known techniques from contemporary traditions.
It is our belief that Applied Armizare shows an instructor’s fundamental mastery and integration of the art’s principles and teachings at the highest level, and reflects the founder’s intention that his art be holistic and synergistic.
The IAS central mission is to see that its understanding is refined and transmitted to the next generation. Although the IAS will test Provost and Master candidates in their ability to adapt the principles of Armizare to an unfamiliar weapon or environment as part of its examination process, the establishment of, and testing in, any formal Applied-Armizare teachings remains the sole provenance of member body schools, and is outside the IAS’ provenance.
Three stated values form the core of the IAS work in furtherance of its mission:
The IAS takes seriously its duty to those who have gone before. Our role is not as “creators” of a new martial art, but rather revivers and custodians of a new line of an ancient source. The common philosophy of our member schools, instructors and researchers centers on fidelity to the texts left by Fiore dei Liberi and his followers, as well as understanding them within the socio-historical context in which they were created.
Fidelity: To our member schools, the various copies of the Flower of Battle are the single most relevant and authoritative word on the reconstruction of armizare. Therefore, member schools are encouraged to apply themselves to these books with a high level of philological passion.
Integrity is the second keystone to completing our stated mission of not only reconstructing the art of arms but creating reliable, professional teachers capable of transmitting it to future generations. This integrity begins with the testing process itself, which must be non-discriminatory, transparent, public and developed in consultation with not only the larger armizare community but has been peer-reviewed by respected instructors of comparable martial traditions, academics and experts in the field of arms and armour. Integrity carries on beyond examinations and into the instructor code of ethics expected of all IAS members.
Honour: Finally, no less important is the respect for the spirit of chivalry and honorable behavior that were part of the ethical milieu in which our arts blossomed. As with all ideological “paths,” from stoicism to democracy, chivalry may have been idealized more in thought than in deed in centuries past, but we choose to take our example from the positive side of this equation.