Certification

International Armizare Society Ranking Criteriaiaslogo_display_300px

This page outlines the criteria for each of the ranks in the IAS’ purview, as well as minimum requirements for individual ranks in each schools purview, as a qualitative minimum standard. A PDF version is also available for download by clicking the link below. Armizare rank association

I. INTRODUCTION

The International Armizare Society (heretofore referred to as IAS) is an historical and chivalric European martial arts confraternal association concerned with l’Arte dell’Armizare of the dei LiberiTradition. This document describes the mission and objectives of IAS, the agreed-upon requirements for recognition of rank within the organisation, as well as formal testing requirements and mechanisms for forming the testing and governing bodies. It is a living document, and may be reviewed and revised at any time with the consent of the governing body. It is understood that learning any martial art is a complex act requiring years of ongoing study that is never fully completed.

II. MISSION AND OBJECTIVES

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 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.

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. 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).

It is our belief that the Applied Armizare applications 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. Given the IAS’ central mission to see that its understanding is refined and transmitted to the next generation, it will limit testing 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 Neo-Armizare teachings (as defined below) remains the sole provenance of member body schools, and is outside the IAS’ purview.

Neo-Armizare

Neo-Armizare  is the application of the principles of Armizare to situations and weapons for which the founder could not have conceived. In practise, this definition largely means applying Armizare to modern combatives such as modern self-defence. for example:

  • Could not have conceived – the use of abrazare, bastoncello and knife defense for modern, personal protection, interpolation of known techniques from contemporary traditions.

As previously stated, Neo-Armizare is outside of the IAS’ purview, although it may act in an advisory capacity.

III. TESTING

This section relates to testing methods and standards. Testing up to the rank of Free scholar is entirely in the testing school’s domain. Free scholar testing should entail invitations from outside bodies to attend. Provost and Maestro testing is overseen by the IAS. Testing of ranks overseen by the IAS will include written, oral, technical and instructional components. Testing may be done in person, by video submission, or any other means allowing oversight. A prize play will round out the process, as a form of “confirmation.” All testing need not be done on the same day, but over a certain period. Technical performance criteria is judged based on criterion of Quality of Execution (QoE) and Quality of Interpretation (QoI).

QUALITY OF EXECUTION

Quality of execution refers to the execution of technique using proper mechanics and timing for movement and action, but may have some interpretational aspects, given that it is impossible to entirely separate physical execution from interpretation in a systematic fashion. Specifically, QoE will be graduated along a skill progression slide using an adapted model proposed by Henri Boudreault, PH.D. Our model is as follows (see appendix for more information on pedagogical progression and skills advancement):

  • Novice: rigid adherence to taught rules or plans, no exercise of “discretionary judgment”
    • Rote execution or repetition of a demonstrated technique or skill as demonstrated, often without using proper mechanics and without necessarily demonstrating an understanding of the wider context or variations in technique.
  • Intermediate: has limited “situational perception”, all aspects of technique treated separately with equal importance.
    • Applies, with help, the knowledge and skills necessary to the performance of a technique.
    • Proper mechanics are more prevalent, but secondary to the performance of the technique. I.e. the student will quickly abandon proper mechanics if the situation becomes difficult.
    • Application of technique requires concentration and conscious thought.
  • Competent:  independent evaluation of a situation, autonomy, transfer of technique across situations.
    • Executes techniques in isolation (set plays, simple phrases) against non-compliant partners.
    • Executes technique without prompting, in tempo and using proper body mechanics.
    • Capable of planning an approach (strategically)
    • Can apply tactical decision making consciously
  • Proficient: ability to apply and adapt technique and mechanics to a variety of situations.
    • Executes multiple techniques (“strings techniques) together to form complex phrases
    • Employs proper body mechanics, at speed
    • Can apply tactical decision making with little conscious thought
  • Mastery: Has a holistic view and can adapt technique to varying situations and weapons (i.e. has practised the corpus of techniques and can use them across weapons and versus disparate weapons)
    • Employs proper body mechanics with fluidity and grace (sprezzatura)
    • Applies tactical decision making intuitively
  • Expertise: Innovates building upon his mastery, is not limited by the parameters of the system
    • Has significant skill or knowledge beyond mastery in a particular sphere of research (polearms, mounted combat, etc.)

To gain any rank outlined below, a student must gain a certain skill level in the required elements. For instance, to gain Scholar rank, the student should be rated as “competent” in the required skills. Individual schools are encouraged to use the qualitative assignments with their internal ranks and evaluations.

QUALITY OF INTERPRETATION

Any interpretation must be demonstrably and arguably derived from source material, or reasonably interpolated from the wider dei Liberi tradition. This includes all four extant manuscripts, Fillipo Vadi’s manual, and manuals in the die Blume des Kampfs/Von Eyb tradition. Further, any interpretation must be demonstrably martially valid.

Furthermore, any provost or master candidate with a substantial interpretive difference or innovation should be able to submit a paper justifying their  interpretation and argue favourably in its defence before a panel of no less than three (3) judges.

IV. REFERRAL AND AT-LARGE CANDIDATES

The International Armizare Society  realizes that the grassroots nature of the larger HEMA community means that small study-groups or individual students might find themselves without a direct, higher authority to provide an established curriculum or test candidates. As part of the association’s mandate to foster and develop the larger Armizare community, such “at-large” students may apply directly to IAS for testing and certification. They will be referred to a recognized association instructor who is willing and able to act as long-distance mentor and monitor. It is up to the mentor and candidate to arrange the specific details of their relationship, whether to become personal students or remain “At-Large” members of the association. In the latter instance, the mentor will stand as the at-large student’s advocate, and will recommend them for testing in the rank of Free Scholar. Testing will be arranged and conducted before a board, and the rank will be conferred directly by IAS rather than a member academy. At-large candidates who successfully achieve the rank of Provost may apply to join the association as a member body, granting them the right to create Scholars and Free Scholars under their own authority. Note that IAS requires in-person examination and does not allow for video-testing. Further, it is the belief of the organization that a candidate for Maestro d’Arme can only be developed by direct, personal and in-person training between teacher and student, and does not confer this rank to “At-Large” students.

V. PREVAILING AUTHORITY

Each member may develop his/her own curriculum, provided the ranks meet the base requirements set forth by the association, although the individual guildmasters/principals are expected to work fraternally to share and refine their material. While this association, it procedures and methodologies may also form a model by which other HEMA traditions, schools and academies may form their own collective rank and testing requirements, such concerns are beyond the authority, scope or interest of the IAS, and it neither warrants nor refutes the ranks granted by any organisations outside its member bodies or recognized affiliates.

VI. RANKS AND REQUIREMENTS

The International Armizare Society, with its associate schools, employ a historical rank structure based upon that used by the fencing guilds of the 15th and 16th centuries.  Ranking consists of four grades, in ascending order: Scholar (Scolaro), Free Scholar (Laurea), Provost (Rettore) and Magister (Magistro). The first two of these ranks can be considered student ranks (with Laurea being a junior instructor role in some organisations), while the latter two constitute senior instructor ranks. As an accrediting association and confraternity, the IAS is concerned with establishing recognizable standards and minimum requirements for all four grades, but leaves the authority for testing and granting of rank for the lower ranks of Scolaro and Laureato to its member academies. Note here that the member school may have any number of ranks before Scolaro. The ellefante symbol is reserved for these internal ranks, as the member school sees fit. 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. For proper rank recognition by the IAS to take place, several factors must be taken into account and evaluated. These are specified below, and form the corpus of minimum requirements that associates should adhere to.

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

A simple content-based approach would not take into account the quality of the included actions and interpretation, and as such, would be incomplete. Finally, pedagogy forms an important part of the requirements at higher levels for proper transmission to take place, and as such is included and evaluated for these ranks.

Certificates (required elements)

Required elements for certificates issued by member schools include the following:

  • School name
  • Issuer name
  • Issuer signature
  • Rank name
  • Rank symbol
  • Rank colours
  • IAS logo

APPENDIX A: 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.

APPENDIX B: DEFINITIONS

Armizare L’arte d’Armizare (The Art of Arms) is the medieval Italian term for knightly martial arts that were employed by the aristocratic warrior class of Europe. Armizare (are-mit-TZAR-ay) is divided into combat on foot and on horseback, in and out of armour. It includes wrestling and techniques when armed with a dagger, sword, pollaxe or spear.

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.

Canonical Armizare Specific instructions, tactical lessons and techniques left to posterity by Fiore dei Liberi, Filippo Vadi, and several fragmentary sources of anonymous authorship.  IAS central mission is to see that its understanding is refined and transmitted to the next generation.

Chivalric Martial arts are formulated within a cultural milieu and are meant to be tempered by a system of ethics and behavior. Central to Europe at the birth of the Renaissance were those chivalric ideals as recorded in the  historical record by philosophers, thinkers, jurists and allegorical authors such as Ramon Lull, Geoffrey de Charny, Dom Duarte of Portugal, Giovanni da Legnano, Wolfram von Eshenbach, Chretien de Troyes and Rene d’Anjou. As with any ethical system, chivalry was idealized more in thought than in deep (practice?), but as modern people we seek to honor the past, as well as the words of our art’s founder, himself, through a belief that the study of martial arts should be only be undertaken with, and used to develop, people of good moral and ethical character.

Dei Liberi Tradition Refers specifically to the martial art established by the late 14th century master-at-arms, Fiore dei Liberi de Civida d’Austria (c.1350 – 1420), who recorded his teachings on Armizare in a series of illustrated manuscripts, all named (in either Italian or Latin) the Flower of Battle. The larger dei Liberi tradition also includes the work of Filippo Vadi of Pisa, as well as several fragmentary German manuscripts of unclear authorship found as a part of larger compendia of martial teachings.

Historical European Martial Arts The expression “historical European martial arts” (HEMA) is a subset of Western Martial Arts (WMA) that denotes the martial or fighting arts of Europe, with a special concentration on the middle ages, the Renaissance, and the early modern periods that became dormant and have been reconstructed in the current era. Reconstruction of the arts, in this case Armizare,  is based on a combination of theory and practice. The first is based on a strict reading and understanding of the original instructions left to posterity by Fiore dei Liberi and members of his tradition, understood through the historical and cultural context in which their both their fighting art, and its written record, were created. The second consists in faithfully translating this understanding into body-mechanics, weapon in hand, first through drills, then progressively into free-fencing.

Neo-Armizare Is “an understanding of how to apply the principles, tactics and mechanics of the art holistically and within situations upon which dei Liberi could not have conceived.

Set Play A pre-determined series of movements or techniques with varying degrees of complexity, often taken directly from the illustrated techniques of the manuscripts.

APPENDIX C: MEMBER ACADEMIES

At the time of this writing, the active member academies are as follows: Chicago Swordplay Guild Les Maîtres d’Armes Northwest Fencing Academy

APPENDIX D: RANK EQUIVALENCY

Given that certain members may already have a ranking system in place, employing naming conventions of their own, upon admittance to the IAS, the rank structure will be examined to determine how the rank structures of member academies stand in relation to one another. Once this is done, they will be added to the table below for  reference. To provide a lingua franca among members, IAS rank names are encouraged when referencing ranks among members

IAS rank CSG Rank NWA Rank LMA Rank
Scolaro Scholar Bacceliere Scholar
Laureato Free Scholar Laureato Free Scholar
Rettore Provost Provost Provost
Magister Master Maestro Master

APPENDIX E: PEDAGOGICAL ADVANCEMENT AND SKILLS ACQUISITION (QoE skill model)

Henri Boudreault, PH.D., proposed a model for gauging competence, upon which we have based the skills progression in this document. It, in turn, is modeled on a learning progression proposed by Stuart and Hubert Dreyfus (which is modeled on earlier work). This learning progression has 5 discrete phases experienced by every student in skills acquisition. Grading skills levels, or competence, employs a sliding scale that is reminiscent of, and somewhat mirrors, the learning progression. The levels employed in this document are a hybridised superset of adapted to our particular needs in a martial learning environment, and aligned with our rank requirements. The phases of learning are:

  1. The exploration phase
  2. Fundamentals acquisition
  3. Integration and training
  4. Transfer of skills
  5. Enrichment

Each skill and each level of competence goes through this iterative process of learning. Without going into a level of detail inappropriate for this document, the exploration phase allows the student to become comfortable with the notions he must learn, and explore its possibilities and context. The fundamentals acquisition phase is where the student acquires the basic notions and skills towards  gaining competence. Integration and training is active learning, with the student participating fully in his advancement. The transfer phase is where the student takes a skill, notion, principle or ability and applies it to another context. Finally, the enrichment phase is where the student actively explores and transfers these notions to other situations not directly related to the context, learning on their own with minimal outside assistance. Skill progressions advance in terms of competence, from novice to expert,  using the following nomenclature: Novice, Intermediacy, Competency, Proficiency, Mastery, Expertise. A description of what each skills level entails follows. All Quality of Execution (QoE) will be measured against this scale. It should be noted that QoE is progressive. For instance, a student may be expected to perform a technique with a certain level of skill at the Scolaro level, and perform the same technique to a higher level of skill for a later rank. As such, the student should expect that they may be evaluated repeatedly on the same material, employing different criteria, throughout their advancement. Novice (N): rigid adherence to taught rules or plans, no exercise of “discretionary judgment”

  • Rote execution or repetition of a demonstrated technique or skill as demonstrated, often without using proper mechanics and without necessarily demonstrating an understanding of the wider context or variations in technique.

Intermediate (I): has limited “situational perception”, all aspects of technique treated separately with equal importance.

  • Applies, with help or prompting, the knowledge and skills necessary to the performance of a technique.
  • Proper mechanics are more prevalent, but secondary to the performance of the technique. I.e. the student will quickly abandon proper mechanics if the situation becomes difficult.
  • Application of technique requires concentration and conscious thought.

Competent (C): independent evaluation of a situation, autonomy, and transfer of technique across situations.

  • Executes techniques in isolation (set plays, simple phrases) against non-compliant partners.
  • Executes technique without prompting, in tempo and using proper body mechanics.
  • Capable of planning an approach (strategically)
  • Can apply tactical decision making consciously

Proficient (P): ability to apply and adapt technique and mechanics to a variety of situations.

  • Executes multiple techniques (“strings techniques) together to form complex phrases
  • Employs proper body mechanics, at speed
  • Can apply tactical decision making with little conscious thought
  • Has some ability to transmit knowledge or technique

Mastery (M): Has a holistic view and can adapt technique to varying situations and weapons (i.e. has practised the corpus of techniques and can use them across weapons and versus disparate weapons)

  • Employs proper body mechanics with fluidity and grace (sprezzatura)
  • Applies tactical decision making intuitively
  • Can transmit knowledge and technique, and more importantly, principles.

Expertise (E): Innovates, building upon his mastery, is not limited by the parameters of the system

  • Has significant skill or knowledge beyond mastery in a particular sphere of research (polearms, mounted combat, etc.)