As a confraternity
of historical European martial arts schools, the Chivalric Fighting
Arts Association (CFAA) has a threefold mission: to provide a climate
of mutual support between member schools, to foster the ideals of
historical fidelity to the ancient treatises and their cultural
and ethical milieu, and to serve as a face and a contact point for
individuals and institutions interested in Western martial arts
and historical European martial arts.
Western Martial Arts (WMA) or Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA)?
expressions "Western martial arts" (WMA) or "historical
European martial arts" (HEMA) denote the martial or fighting
arts endemic of Europe, with a special concentration on the middle
ages, the Renaissance, and the early modern periods. A scholarly
reconstruction of these arts through extant period treatises has
been the main focus of the International WMA/HEMA community, especially
in the last twenty years.
The focus of
these studies is generally centered on individual martial skills
(as opposed to strategic warfare), with a particular emphasis on
the use of the sword in its various configurations. Significant
strides have also been made in the understanding of unarmed fighting
(such as wrestling), the use of shields, armor and other defensive
weapons, polearms and mounted combat.
is based on a theoretical/philological aspect as well as a practical
one. The first consists in reading accurately and understanding
the instruction contained in the extant martial-arts treatises,
which begin appearing in the 14th century. The second consists in
faithfully translating this understanding into body-mechanics, weapon
in hand, first through drills, then progressively into free-fencing.
this study also entails an accurate understanding of the cultural
and historical context in which these arts flourished and were employed.
The birth and
growth of the WMA/HEMA movement has been spontaneous, with several
unrelated groups and individuals applying themselves first to the
books, then to the sword in several corners of the world. The Internet
brought many of these groups and individuals into contact, and there
has been a large amount of sharing of resources and ideas as a consequence.
However, it has also become apparent that not all groups share the
same vision and philosophy.
like to be the home for like-minded groups who share these basic
fidelity to the historical texts
- A professional
approach to our arts, as well as a professional demeanor towards
members of the WMA community as well as outsiders
- A spirit
of mutual cooperation, chivalry and respect
- A desire
for sharing one's findings and learning from others
Mutual Support Between Constituent Schools
of ancient European martial arts relies heavily on written material,
consisting of ancient primary sources as well as recent and ongoing
studies. The ethical sharing of this material--with professional-level
respect for ownership, authorship and copyright--is among the benefits
that CFAA-affiliated schools will enjoy.
Along the same
lines, and if desired, CFAA member schools can assist one-another
in curriculum development. The current roster of affiliated organizations
boasts a near-universal array of historical martial arts expertise,
and CFAA will encourage sharing this material among member schools.
Also, as a
confraternity, CFAA will provide member schools with support resolving
internal and external issues regarding community politics, so that
our arts may be enjoyed as much as possible in a climate of chivalry,
scholarship and mutual respect.
the Ideals of Fidelity to the Historic Treaties, Honorable Behavior,
and Study of Our Arts within Their Cultural and Ethical Milieus
CFAA respects other approaches to the study of historical martial
arts, the common philosophy of our member schools centers on fidelity
to the ancient texts, as well as to the spirit of chivalry and ethics
in which such treatises were conceived. One of the important goals
of CFAA is therefore that of keeping these ideals alive in the study
of our arts.
To our member
schools, the texts are the single most relevant and authoritative
word on the arts we strive to reconstruct. Therefore, member schools
are encouraged to apply themselves to these books with a high level
of philological passion--a passion that has, in the space of a few
short decades, brought to light so much reliable information about
how our ancestors fought.
important is the respect for the spirit of chivalry and honorable
behavior that were part of the ethical milieu in which our arts
blossomed. Sure, chivalry and honor 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. This includes
favoring the scientific process of scholarship over the stubbornness
of ego, healthy emulation to petty rivalry, acknowledgment of your
instructor over teaching his labor as your own, and frankness and
openness over squabbling and needless politicking.
as a Consistent Face and a Reliable Contact Point for Individuals
and Organizations Inquiring about Our Arts
from the History Channel is on a fact-finding mission on historical
European martial arts. An individual is looking for a group to train
with. A college history program is looking for a reliably-accurate
demonstration of a medieval dueling art. CFAA answers the question:
Who would you rather these groups or individual find and contact?
As a visible
organization comprising some of the world's most prominent historical
martial arts schools, CFAA wants to offer a consistent face and
a reliable contact point for the arts we represent. Its membership
includes researchers of note, professional scholars, published authors,
heads of successful, International-level schools, as well as a collective
expertise in more than five languages.