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The Association for Renaissance and Medieval Swordsmanship brings together practitioners of historical European martial arts so that they may enhance their own skills and further our collective understanding of historical combat technique. It was founded in 2001 and operates in affiliation with the Massachusetts Center for Renaissance Studies.

Historical Martial Arts

To practice Historical European martial arts is to seriously study the combat techniques of the past: to recreate martial skills in a historically accurate manner. Because no “masters of defense” are alive today, we must reconstruct our combat technique from historical sources, such as period fighting treatises.

Our Methods

ARMS is highly active in the interpretive work decribed above. We believe that by marrying physical skill with scholarly research we can better understand how historical combatants may have actually fought. At this time ARMS is primarily involved in investigating the German longsword tradition, and is working from several Renaissance manuals.

ARMS holds regular study sessions where manuals are scrutinized and techniques explored. Its members also conduct physical practices, using wooden training weapons and steel facsimiles.

Jeff Lord serves as ARMS' Director of Interpretive Studies. He has taught German longsword technique for a number of years and possesses numerous other credentials. He has been a member of ARMS since its founding.


Anyone interested in historical martial arts may request to become a member of the Association: please contact us.


ARMS holds weekly meetings to conduct its interpretive work. These are generally on a Sunday afternoon and held at the Amherst College Alumni Gym. See the schedule for more information.