In order to facilitate safe training, the Academy follows a specific etiquette. The rules are designed to foster an environment of courtesy, respect, and (above all) safety for guests, fellow students, instructors, and the capabilities of the L’Arte dell’Armizare. The practice of any martial art is a serious endeavor, and not to be undertaken lightly. Since the possibility of injury is always present, due diligence and caution must be taken to ensure the safety and health of everyone practicing this art. We cannot reiterate enough the need to place safety first when applying any of these techniques. Safety and respect for one’s training partners is the very first responsibility of any martial artist, and we take this responsibility seriously. Nothing you practice should ever harm your partner.
• Students must attend in appropriate attire for training.
• Classes open and close with a formal salute. The instructor stands at the head of the room. Students line up in order of rank, with senior students to the instructor’s left. If there is a designated class assistant, the assistant takes the first place in line. This will normally be one of the senior-most students.
• Please address your instructor respectfully, and not informally, during class time: “Hey you” or similar forms of address are not acceptable. Focus should be kept on everyone’s position and responsibilities. When class is over, informal address and manner is fine.
• Please do not talk when instruction is being given. Everyone must be able to hear the instructor clearly.
• Ask questions, but please understand that sometimes the answer is “We can discuss that more fully after class.” In-class questions should be relevant to the topic at hand and should not derail the lesson.
• Each partner drill starts with a simple salute. Afterward, salute again, shake hands, and say “thank you”. Unarmed and dagger drills begin and end with a handshake instead of a salute.
• Do not give instruction unless the class instructor has given you permission to do so.
• Always treat everyone with courtesy and respect, whether student, instructor, guest or spectator.
• Never use foul or inappropriate language in the sala d’armi.
• Horseplay is strictly forbidden.
• Consumption of any recreational drugs or alcohol before training or demonstrations will result in summary expulsion without refund. Some prescription medications carry warnings about potential effects on concentration or coordination; please discuss these privately with your instructor as necessary.
• When you hear the commands ‘Halt!’, ‘Stop!’, ‘Hold!’, or ‘First Position!’, immediately stop what you are doing, lower your weapon, and return to first position.
• Jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets (including string bracelets), rings and earrings must be removed during training. The only exception is any simple, plain ring with no protuberances (such as a simple wedding band).
• All strikes and throws, whether with weapons or not, must be carefully controlled and calibrated to not injure.
• Joint locks should never be taken to completion.
• Always treat every weapon as if the point and edges were sharp.All weapons must be inspected and maintained regularly.
• Always carry weapons point-down with the point behind you, as if in a scabbard, or in the upright carry, with the point directly upwards.
• Never randomly swing the blade or ‘slice’ the air with any weapon, or tuck it under your arm, or lay it across your shoulder. It’s not a baseball bat, a golf club, a tennis racket, a swagger-stick, or a toy.
• All practice outside class must conform to the safety guidelines of the school.
• All students must act in accordance with all civil laws regulating the use of arms and the methods studied within the school. Improper use of the L’Arte dell’Armizare within or without the school is prohibited.
• Freeplay is a privilege, not a right, which commences or halts at the instructor’s will. This privilege must be continually earned through clear demonstration of controlled fencing practices and courteous behaviour.
• Always salute before engaging in freeplay, and salute and shake hands afterwards.
• Always acknowledge any possible hit against yourself by saying “touch” or naming the place hit. Never equivocate by saying “I think…” or “Maybe…” or “Possibly…” or anything similar.
• Never claim a hit against your opponent. When your opponent acknowledges a hit, reply with thank you.
• When your opponent acknowledges a touch that you doubt, decline it by saying “no thank you.”.
• When your opponent declines a touch, also reply with thank you.
• Aggressive freeplay is acceptable; violent freeplay is not. No action of yours should cause your opponent pain or harm. There is a difference between aggressive freeplay and violent freeplay. Your instructors understand the difference and will not hesitate to call it out, or to cease freeplay if necessary.