How Men at Arms Martial Arts Got Started

March 8, 2018

Last time we had a little chat, and by chat I mean I wrote a blog and you read it, I had just discovered HEMA and was still in mind blown mode. Like a giddy kid in a candy shop, I poured over YouTube and Facebook. My inquisitive side was in full gear and I had an insatiable need to know more about HEMA!


It was at this time that I discovered the HEMA Club FInder. I eagerly entered my address, anticipating what would come up when I did so. Much to my chagrin, there lay nothing within over and hour and a half of where we lived. I saw clubs in Bloomsburg, Kutztown, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Martinsburg, but in the middle of all of that HEMA civilization lay a huge gaping hole, right where I lived.

As you can imagine, I was very perturbed at all of this! Here I was, eager to begin training with a club and I was in a desert. Now bear in mind, I have a family of 6, and I work all manner of hours, so an hour and a half trek was not viable. I was dejected and bummed out. It was around this time, that I had began speaking to Lee Smit, Founder of Blood and Iron Martial Arts, one of the most successful HEMA clubs in North America. I turned to him for advice after explaining my predicament. Lee, without hesitation, said four words, “Start your own club!”

That fateful conversation set in motion what would become Men at Arms Martial Arts. Now that I had made the decision to start my own club, I had to decide what system I wanted to study. I knew I wanted to study longsword, but I did not know under which system. Again, Lee’s influence held sway and I decided to study Joachim Meyer’s system, which ended up being a great decision, as Men at Arms is the only Meyer Club in Pennsylvania or surrounding areas.


So there I was with a system, now all I needed was a group of like minded scoundrels to hit each other with. My first idea was co workers. Right off the bat, six of my coworkers expressed interest. As time went by, they began to fade away. I attribute this to my inexperience as a instructor as I was trying just what the heck I was doing.  To this day only one of the original students remains, Elijah Wilcox.


There were a lot of bumps along the way, LOTS of bumps, however I began moving forward with our club and Men at Arms has been moving forward ever since.


Until next time, I’m James Reed, and you have been following the official Men at Arms Martial Arts Blog. Now go on now, git!



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