Classical Academy of Arms

A Society for Classical Fencing Instructor Training and Credentialling

Distance Training

Training and credentialing for all ranks of the Classical Academy of Arms Instructor Development Program may be completed by distance delivery.  The Classical Fencing Apprentice Instructor rank is designed to be used in a club, salle, or program to train individuals under the supervision of a professional trainer.  Training and credentialing for Classical Fencing Demonstrators through Classical Fencing Masters is conducted primarily by distance delivery in the sequence described below.  This is not a rapid process, nor should it be.  It is designed to ensure that you have the experience and the knowledge to effectively and accurately teach technique and tactics in the manner of the classical period.  For planning purposes you should allow the required training and testing to require the following time (depending on the frequency with which you teach and your starting level of proficiency):

  • Classical Fencing Demonstrator - 6 months
  • Classical Fencing Instructor - 6 months (cumulative 1 year)
  • Classical Fencing Provost - 1 to 2 years (cumulative 2 to 3 years)
  • Classical Fencing Master - 2 to 4 years (cumulative 4 to 7 years)

​Detailed instructions, checklists, and forms are available from the Academy.  Every requirement and standard is detailed and explained in the program documents to provide a completely transparent process.  The basic requirements are as follows.

1.  Candidate reviews the portfolio instructions and starts to collect materials for his or her portfolio.  The portfolio process is designed to (1) assist the candidate in meeting requirements for credentialing, (2) encourage the candidate to examine his or her practice as a trainer with a critical eye for further self-development, and (3) create a portable credential that may be of value for educational or employment purposes.  The portfolio is designed to be a living document, constantly added to as the candidate progresses through the ranks and requires a considerable amount of work.  It is important to start early and use the portfolio to assist in keeping you on track to meet requirements.  


2.  Candidate reviews the knowledge materials for the specific skill development program ranks for which a holder of the credential should be able to train classical fencers.  These are:

  • Classical Fencing Demonstrator  -  ranks 1 through 3
  • Classical Fencing Instructor - ranks 4 through 6
  • Classical Fencing Provost - ranks 7 and 8
  • Classical Fencing Master - rank 9

Completion of this requirement is verified by passing scores on the individual knowledge tests for the skill ranks with testing being conducted either online or in-person.


3.  Candidate demonstrates the correct execution and brief explanation of a number of skills drawn from those that students should be able to perform for the skill development program ranks the trainer is expected to be able to teach.  These are:

  • Classical Fencing Demonstrator - foil ranks 1 through 3
  • Classical Fencing Instructor - foil ranks 4 through 6
  • Classical Fencing Provost - foil ranks 7 and 8, second weapon ranks 1 through 8
  • Classical Fencing Master - foil rank 9, second weapon rank 9, third weapon ranks 1 through 9

Completion of this requirement is verified either in person or by submission of video recording showing performance of the skill by the candidate in the context of teaching lessons. Skill performance should reflect the technique of a recognized school of fencing of the classical period.  The Academy is prepared to evaluate performance of skills in the French, Northern Italian, Neapolitan, Italian Mixed,  Spanish, Kreusslerian Thrust Fencing, Hungarian Sabre, Hollandsche Methode, and Terrone's Left and Right Handed Schools.  Skills to be performed are selected at random from the rank skill lists.   Candidates will receive feedback on their performance, and in the case where performance may not meet the standard of the particular school may be asked to submit a second demonstration of the subject skill or skills.


4.  Candidate submits a self-assessment using the standard form available on the Academy website.  The candidate will receive feedback on the self-assessment with appropriate suggestions for improvement.


5.  Candidate studies the appropriate study material in the Classical Academy of Arms textbook Teaching Classical Fencing: A Master Text as laid out in the lessons in the outline for the specific rank.  Each lesson is keyed to the compentencies required for the rank.  It includes specific readings, assigned activities, and discussion with the course instructor.  When ready the candidate completes the appropriate rank examination, with testing being conducted online or in person.


6.  Candidate teaches the total required cumulative number and mix of lessons for the rank. 

  • Classical Fencing Demonstrator – 35 of which 25 are group lessons
  • Classical Fencing Instructor – 100 of which 50 are group lessons
  • Classical Fencing Provost – 200 of which 75 are in the second weapon
  • Classical Fencing Master – 300 of which 75 are in each weapon

Completion of this requirement is verified by submission of a log of lessons taught along with at least 3 lesson plans for each weapon in any format identified in Teaching Classical Fencing:

  • Classical Fencing Demonstrator - 3 lesson plans
  • Classical Fencing Instructor - 3 lesson plans
  • Classical Fencing Provost - 6 lesson plans
  • Classical Fencing Master - 9 lesson plans

Candidates with at least one year teaching experience upon entering the credentialing program may bank lesson credit at a rate of 30 lessons a year and apply those as follows:

  • Classical Fencing Demonstrator - maximum of 15 lessons
  • Classical Fencing Instructor – maximum of 50 lessons
  • Classical Fencing Provost – maximum of  50 lessons (each weapon must teach at least 50 lessons in the program)
  • Classical Fencing Master – maximum of 150 lessons (each weapon must teach at least 50 lessons in the program)

Candidates should plan to record at least 2 lessons in each weapon at each rank and submit them to the Academy for review and feedback to ensure that they are adequately prepared for the examination.


7.  Candidate teaches the appropriate examination lessons required for the credential as follows:

  • Classical Fencing Demonstrator – a group and an individual technical command based lesson
  • Classical Fencing Instructor - technical command based lesson, individual lesson with an action and its counter
  • Classical Fencing Provost – individual lesson with choice reaction and options
  • Classical Fencing Master - a silent lesson, an eyes closed lesson, and a tactical lesson, with one lesson in each of the weapons

Candidates for the ranks of Classical Fencing Provost and Classical Fencing Master will teach one lesson with his or her non-dominant hand.  This may be one of the required lessons or a separate lesson from any of the lesson types in the requirements lists.  


The topic for the main body of lessons will be specified by the examiners from among the skills in the skill development ranks the candidate is expected to be able to teach.


​Candidates will be evaluated on the elements and according to the standards contained in the practical examination form and the published metrics for evaluation of candidate performance.  Where more than one lesson type is required for the practical examination, a single introduction and warm-up will be conducted, then each main body lesson type as a short lesson, followed by a single conclusion.  The candidate should be able to teach an effective main body lesson type in approximately 10 minutes.   


8.  Candidate completes the required oral examination for the rank and weapon or weapons based on the examination question bank. 


9.  Candidate submits any required paper as follows:

  • Classical Fencing Provost - research paper
  • Classical Fencing Master - thesis

Papers should make a significant contribution to knowledge of classical fencing and methods of teaching classical fencing.  Papers submitted should follow the standard format provided in the Academy's Thesis Manual.  Candidates will receive guidance during the paper preparation process as needed.  In the case that a paper does not meet the Academy's standards, feedback will be provided to assist the candidate in revising the paper to meet standards.


10.  Candidate submits the required student evaluations of his or her teaching using the standard form.


11.  Candidate submits a complete portfolio for the rank following the current portfolio instructions on the Academy website.


Updated 28 June 2019.