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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 focus on fencing in the classical period (1880-1939).  If you intend to teach and train modern competitive fencers, we strongly suggest that you study for and pass the examinations of the member academies of arms of the AAI or IFCA.

The focus of the CAA program is to teach classical fencing in a way consistent with the instructional methods of the classical period.  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.

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 contacting the Academy     

Classical Academy of Arms Instructor Ranks

The Classical Fencing Instructor Program is designed as a four level instructional program, with a single special designator.  The core material for each level is 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) - special designator 

 

(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, or 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 provide 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

COMPETENCIES

Based on contemporary sources, current issues in teaching and training athletes, and national and international standards for coach development the Academy has prepared a list of competencies for classical fencing trainers.  These serve as a framework for the composition of our credentialing programs.  A current competency list is included in the Academy's Program Manual.

Credentialing Process

At each professional level, candidates for the rank are required to complete written and practical examinations.  The following documents are used in the credentialing process and are supplied to candidates on request:

  • Credentialing Checklist for Candidates
  • Portfolio for Professional Ranks
  • Instructions to Examiners
  • Practical Examination Metrics for Evaluation of Candidate Performance
  • Practical Examination for Professional Ranks Examination Form
  • Discussion Questions for Oral Components of Professional Examinations
  • Oral Examination for Professional Ranks Examination Form

Research

The Classical Fencing Provost and Classical Fencing Master ranks require completion of written papers.  The Classical Fencing Provost requires a research paper dealing with a significant technique, tactic, training system, or issue in classical fencing. Classical Fencing Master rank requires a formal thesis. 

TRAINER Insignia

Individuals holding 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 pictured in the right hand column.

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.  Full requirements for reciprocity and for recognition of prior learning are contained in the Academy's Program Manual. 

Continuing Education

Holders of CAA ranks of Classical Fencing Instructor, Classical Fencing Provost, and Classical Fencing Master are required to complete a minimum of 12 hours of continuing education each calendar year to retain certification.  Details of the Academy's continuing professional education program are available on our Continuing Education page.

Requirements for First Aid and ATHLETE Protection Training

The Classical Academy of Arms highly recommends, but 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 highly recommends, but does not  require, completion of athlete protection training as part of its credentialing process.  However, any classical fencing group that has members under the age of 18 or potentially vulnerable adults 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 modern fencing groups in other countries.

Page updated 24 November 2020

Master Trainer Papers

The Classical Foil Fencing Lesson ‚Äč(W. Green, 2016)

Master Theses

Distinguishing Characteristics of Classical Fencing when Compared to Modern Fencing (W. Green, 2006, updated at request of the Academy 2016)

Classical Fencing Master Trainer

Classical Fencing Master

Classical Fencing Provost

Classical Fencing Instructor

Classical Fencing Demonstrator