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Classical Academy of Arms

A Society for Classical Fencing Instructor Training and Credentialling

Relationship of CAA Instructor Ranks to other Certifications

Instructor ranks awarded by the Classical Academy of Arms for Classical Fencing Apprentice Instructors, Classical Fencing Demonstrators, Classical Fencing Instructors, Classical Fencing Provosts, Classical Fencing Masters, and Classical Fencing Master Trainers are not intended to qualify the holders to teach modern fencing or to prepare modern competitive athletes.  They are not equivalent to the Assistant Moniteur, Moniteur, Prevot, and Maitre credentials of the United States Fencing Coaches Association (USFCA), the Animateur, Moniteur, Prevot, and Maitre ranks of the Academie d'Armes Internationale (AAI), or the Moniteur, Prevot, and Maitre ranks of the International Fencing Coaches Association (IFCA), and should not be represented as being so.  If you intend to teach and train modern competitive fencers, we strongly suggest that you study for and pass the examinations of the USFCA or the other member academies of arms of the AAI or IFCA.

The role of the prevot and fencing master in the classical period was different than it is in modern fencing, as were the types of lessons and how they were conducted.  The focus of the CAA program is to teach classical fencing in a way consistent with the instructional methods of the classical period.  While we believe that our credentialing program is well structured, requires mastery of the material of all three weapons, and will produce instructors fully capable of teaching the technique of fencing in period of varied and complex bladework, it does not address tactical training, advanced footwork, timing, distance control, conditioning, and other skills required of the modern fencing coach in ways appropriate to the modern fencing environment.

Individuals holding our credentials are expected to always include "Classical Fencing" when using the titles of their rank, and to use the standard appellations, CFA, CFD, CFI, CFP, CFM, and CFMT. Anyone with questions about the validity of a CAA credential claimed by an individual can verify that status by opening the electronic Open Badge issued by the CAA, or by checking the current list of credentialed individuals on this website.   Specific skills required are on our instructor skills page, and requirements for credentialing are included below.

Credentials are only valid, and the title and appellation may only be used, while the individual is a current member of the Classical Academy of Arms.  Misuse of the title and appellation will result in its being revoked.    

Classical Academy of Arms Instructor Ranks

The Classical Fencing Instructor Program is designed as a four level instructional program, with the core material for each level being designed to be completed in one year. Individuals holding these ranks are Professional Members of the Academy.  The levels and associated requirements are:

1. Classical Fencing DEMONSTRATOR (CFD)

(a) with a focus on teaching group lessons at the introductory level and the use of structured exercises to develop student movement skills and confidence
(b) capable in the foil
(c) requires teaching a minimum of 35 lessons of which at least 25 must be group lessons - all lessons documented with lesson plans
(d) requires satisfactory completion of the Demonstrator course with a passing score on the written examination
(e) requires a satisfactory completion of a practical demonstration of a group lesson, an introductory individual lesson, and a skill demonstration, in person or submitted as video

(f) requires a detailed self-assessment and student assessments of individual teaching and fencing skills
(g) demonstrate the ability to serve as a judge in a classical fencing bout

 

2. Classical Fencing INSTRUCTOR (CFI)

(a) with a focus on teaching more advanced group lessons and the use of drills, including eyes closed drills, to teach skills with the weapon
(b)  demonstrate teaching competence in one weapon in a practical demonstration of an individual lesson teaching a skill and the appropriate counter action,
 in person or submitted as video

(c) requires teaching a minimum of 100 lessons of which at least 50 must be group lessons - all lessons documented with lesson plans
(d) requires satisfactory completion of the Instructor course with a passing score on the written examination
(e) requires a satisfactory completion of an oral examination

(f) requires a detailed self-assessment and student assessments of individual teaching and fencing skills
(g) demonstrate the ability to serve as the president of a Jury in a classical fencing bout 

 

3. Classical Fencing PROVOST (CFP)

(a) with a focus on the use of technical individual lessons involving student choice and the development of options from an action
(b) demonstrate teaching competence in a second weapon in a practical demonstration of an individual lesson with choice reaction and options,
 in person or submitted as video 
(c) requires teaching a minimum of 200 lessons of which at least 75 must have been in the second weapon - all lessons documented with lesson plans
(d) requires satisfactory completion of the Provost course with a passing score on the written examination
(e) requires a satisfactory completion of an oral examination
(f) prepare a research paper addressing an issue of significance in the teaching of classical fencing
(g) requires a detailed self-assessment and student assessments of individual teaching and fencing skills
(h) demonstrate the ability to serve as the member of the bout committee for a classical fencing tournament

4. Classical Fencing MASTER (CFM)

(a) with a focus on the use of individual mute, silent, or blind lessons, and technical lessons in both offense and defense with either hand
(b) demonstrate teaching competence in the third weapon in a practical demonstration of individual tactical, silent and blind lessons,
 in person or submitted as video
(c) requires teaching a minimum of 300 lessons of which at least 75 must have been in each weapon - all lessons must be documented with lesson plans
(d) requires satisfactory completion of the Master course with a passing score on the written examination
(e) requires a satisfactory completion of an oral examination
(f) prepare a thesis based on original research addressing an issue of significance to classical fencing

(g) requires a detailed self-assessment and student assessments of individual teaching and fencing skills

 

5. Classical Fencing MASTER TRAINER (CFMT)

 

(a) with a focus on the training of instructors

(b) demonstrate competence in teaching a candidate for the rank Classical Fencing Instructor, Classical Fencing Provost, and Classical Fencing Master how to teach an individual lesson appropriate for that rank, in person or submitted as video

(c) demonstrate competence in teaching a candidate for any rank how to teach a group lesson, in person or submitted as video

(d) teach classical fencing in an instructor clinic for a minimum of 16 hours using the syllabus of the Demonstrator, Instructor, Provost, or Master course.  More than one clinic session may be combined to meet the 16 hour requirement, as long as each session is at least 4 hours in length, and all are completed within one year. 

(e) complete a detailed self-assessment and student assessments of individual teaching and fencing skills

(f) make a substantial contribution to knowledge of teaching classical fencing among the members of the Academy through any combination of: development of teaching guides for a specific weapon and master; publication of articles, manuals, or guides to general methods of teaching classical fencing skills; submission of a research paper focused on classical fencing teaching methods; or development of media presentations to assist developing instructors in improving their teaching skills

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Based on contemporary sources, research, and current concerns in teaching and training athletes, the Academy has prepared a set of knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) for classical fencers and classical fencing trainers.  These serve as a guide for the composition of our credentialing programs.  Knowledges are information that the candidate for credentialing should know; skills are physical skills the candidate should be able to perform, and abilities are the combination of skills and an understanding of how and when to apply those skills.  The current edition is linked below:

Research

The Classical Fencing Provost and Classical Fencing Master ranks require completion of written papers.  The following templates should be used as a basis for preparing the Provost research paper and the Masters thesis.

Mapping to the International Sports Coaching Framework

The International Sport Coaching Framework, an initiative sponsored by the International Council for Coaching Excellence and the Association of Summer Olympic International Federations, provides a structure for the design of the practice and training of coaches.  The classical fencing instructor ranks awarded by the Classical Academy of Arms map to the levels of competency and responsibility of the Framework as shown in the table below:

International Sport Coaching FrameworkClassical Academy of Arms
1. Coaching Assistant

1.a. Classical Fencing Apprentice Instructor

1.b. Classical Fencing Demonstrator

2. Coach2. Classical Fencing Instructor
3. Advanced/Senior Coach3. Classical Fencing Provost
4. Master/Head Coach

4.a. Classical Fencing Master

4.b. Classical Fencing Master Trainer

Instructor Insignia

Individuals hold rank as instructors may wear a patch on the lower non-weapon arm of the fencing jacket or on the upper back of a teaching jacket or plastron.  Patches are black in color, with the following insignia:

Classical Fencing Demonstrator - one white fencing sword within a white rectangle and the white letters CFD.

Classical Fencing Instructor - two white fencing swords within a white rectangle and the white letters CFI. 

Classical Fencing Provost - three white fencing swords within a silver rectangular wreath and the white letters CFP.

Classical Fencing Master - four white fencing swords within a gold rectangular wreath and the yellow letters CFM.

Classical Fencing Master Trainer - four yellow fencing swords within a silver rectangular wreath and the yellow letters CFMT.

Reciprocity

Individuals certified in modern fencing as Animateur, Aide Moniteur, or Assistant Moniteur, Moniteur, Prevot, or Maitre d'Armes (or the equivalent ranks) by the Academie d'Armes Internationale or the International Fencing Coaches Association, or by a recognized National Academy of Arms (for example, the British Academy of Fencing, the Akademie der Fechtkunst Deutschlands, the United States Fencing Coaches Association, etc.) may be granted reciprocity to the equivalent ranks of Classical Fencing Demonstrator, Classical Fencing Instructor, Classical Fencing Provost, and Classical Fencing Master after completing the following requirements:

(1) the course for the specific rank, or the written examination for the rank,

(2) a research report for Provost and Master on a specific classical fencing topic, and

(3) a demonstration lesson showing instruction in classical technique (which may be submitted by video).

The Academy's standards for reciprocity are more extensive than typical for modern fencing because holders of our credentials must be able to credibly teach classical fencing as it was practiced in the period and must have the knowledge base to support instruction.  

Continuing Education

Holders of CAA ranks of Classical Fencing Instructor, Classical Fencing Provost, and Classical Fencing Master, starting with Fencing Year 2015-2016, are required to complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education each year to retain certification.  Continuing education may include any of the following activities:

  • Attendance at classical or modern fencing coaching clinics or conferences conducted by the CAA or the United States Fencing Coaches Association.
  • Training for a higher level of CAA credential.
  • Research and writing about classical fencing, its techniques, coaching methods, context, etc.
  • Taking individual lessons from a credentialed CAA member or a fencing coach certified by and a current member of the United States Fencing Coaches Association or the national academies which are members of the Academie d'Armes Internationale or the International Fencing Coaches Association.
  • Attendance at regular coaching education events sponsored by the individual's fencing club.
  • Professional reading.
  • Completion of continuing education presented on this site.

Credential holders shall report by the end of August each year, the date and duration of each training event, the subject matter covered, and its applicability to their coaching duties.  Alternately these reports may be made as  the education happens by using the reporting form on the left side of this page.

Requirements for First Aid and Youth Protection Training

The Classical Academy of Arms does not require completion of first aid training as part of the credentialing process.  However, classical fencing groups should evaluate the requirements for first aid skills appropriate to their locality and the applicability of  requirements for sports coaches in other sports, and establish requirements for first aid training for appropriate members.  As a minimum any classical fencing program should have on site at any time fencing activity is being conducted at least one individual who has the following training and current certification:

  • First Aid (standard first aid from any recognized training source is acceptable, preferred is a sports specific first aid course)
  • Basic Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation
  • Concussion recognition and response

The Classical Academy of Arms does not require completion of youth protection training as part of its credentialing process.  However, any classical fencing group that has members under the age of 18 should require all adults serving as instructors or in any other position of authority to complete the United States Olympic Committee's SafeSport training (or its equivalent for classical fencing groups in other countries).