Forget what you have seen in the movies the man-at-arms from Medieval Europe was no brute. The fighting arts of the European masters evolved over centuries of warfare and were second to none in skill, finesse and ferocity. These were fit, highly skilled professionals, the elite of European society not the club-swinging brutes that Hollywood makes them out to be. The European Knight was a well-trained professional man-at-arms, and with all due respect to the Eastern masters, the Western masters are their equal in all respects.
Why Practice Western Martial Arts? The lineage of Western Martial Arts is lost in ancient history but shows clearly in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Roman art and culture. While the weapons used in Medieval and Renaissance times are now considered obsolete in warfare, they are still alive and well in the civilian world. Knife attacks still out-pace firearm attacks, and you are more likely to be physically attacked on public transit than either of those. The fighting skills used to handle Medieval weapons transfer well to modern objects commonly found in your own home. Despite there being no direct link back to the medieval masters, it never truly died out. Parts of it remained alive in other, newer martial arts schools as well as modern military hand-to-hand manuals.
Why the Academy? At the Academy we practice the full range of western martial arts from swords to polearms to dagger and hand-to-hand fighting (with a special love of the sword!). Emphasizing effective real-world techniques, the AES follows the teachings of several medieval and renaissance masters from all over Europe, while focusing on the teachings of the great German master, Johannes Liecthenauer. Western martial arts offers one of the most well-rounded curriculums of any fighting style and includes weapons and grappling. We study all period weapons including pole arms, swords and hand-to-hand fighting. If you seek an authentic martial arts experience in an inclusive atmosphere that emphasizes real-world techniques over stage fighting and repetitive forms, look no further than the AES.
History of the AES The AES started out as a university student club. But as we got older, fewer of our members were undergraduates, and we no longer qualified as a student club. So, we had to move off campus. From there we started taking in more members who were not affiliated with the university. Today we operate much as we did then, only collecting dues enough to cover our expenses and buy gear for the club. None of our members are paid for their work; we are all volunteers! The AES is a registered non-profit club in Alberta. Our goals are to keep learning our Western Martial Arts and spreading the knowledge to those who are interested. We participate in several Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) tournaments through the year, and sponsor our own, as well. We run workshops for our members, bringing in practitioners from around the world, splitting costs accordingly, and will occasionally send members to other clubs to learn from them.
Our Motto. Teach. Lead. Inspire.
We are the oldest WMA/HEMA club in Canada, starting in 1994. As such we are a leader in the WMA community in Canada and the world. We started the first WMA tournament in Canada, back in 2006. Our members started Canada’s first HEMA league, the Prairies Historical Fencing League, in 2016. We are leaders in pushing this league to include schools from all over western Canada, and even beyond. Maybe it’ll need a name change.. 🙂
We choose to teach what we’ve learned and discovered from our experiences, regardless of our members’ experience or background. We include members as young as 11 and have had members in their late 60’s. If we are travelling to other areas and clubs, it is expected that we will teach, if asked. And with our history and showing a postive example and good attitude, we strive to inspire others in the martial arts community and the world as a whole.