About Us

Collegium in Armis (CIA) is a school of Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and historical fencing based in Brisbane, Australia. Originally established in 2003 by Bill Carew and Leith Golding, CIA was accepted as a member school of the Australian Historical Swordplay Federation (AHSF) during the 2004 Australian Historical Fencing Convention in Sydney, Australia. In 2013 CIA joined the Australasian Living History Federation as a school of swordsmanship. CIA operates as a not-for-profit unincorporated association with a small but dedicated membership with ties to the Australian and international HEMA and re-enactment communities.

We study and practice HEMA based on sources in two broad streams; a Medieval and Renaissance stream based primarily on German sources from the 13th to 16th centuries, and an Enlightenment stream based on later British, French and Italian sources from the 17th to 19th centuries.

Bayonet vs sabre

Within CIA we study and practice historical European fencing as a modern martial art with an emphasis on safety, skill and control. We’re always happy to socialise over good food and (thanks to the enlightened Reinheitsgebot) a cold pint or two of good German beer. We aim to take our fencing seriously and ourselves not at all.


CIA pursues the following objectives:

  • to research, interpret and physically practice historical European fencing arts in a safe and socially responsible way;
  • to educate the wider community about the depth, sophistication and continuity of historical European fencing; and
  • To promote the modern practice of historical European fencing in order to help preserve the practice for future generations.

We aim to meet these objectives by building and supporting an environment of excellence, co-operation, prowess and mutual respect.


The Medieval and Renaissance arts researched and practiced within CIA centre around the substantial Medieval German literary fight-book culture associated with Johannes Liechtenauer, as well as the voluminous and lavishly illustrated works of later 16th century authors such as Paulus Hector Mair and Joachim Meyer. Weapons practiced include the knife, dagger, sword, rapier, longsword, dusack, staff and spear.


Iberian and Italian works by authors such as Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo, Achille Marozzo and Francesco Alfieri are also studied on topics such as the two-handed sword.

The enlightenment arts researched and practiced within CIA centre around the works written by authors such as George Silver, Joseph Swetnam, Zachary Wylde, Henry Angelo, Charles Roworth, Johann Georg Paschen, and Giuseppe Radaelli. Weapons practiced include backsword, quarterstaff, cane, and military sabre. CIA also practices the surviving Portuguese staff fighting art of Jogo do Pau.

Jogo do Pau


CIA is a school of historical martial fencing rather than a historical re-enactment or living history group, so our focus is on the interpretation, reconstruction, practice and promotion of martial skills rather than recreating the material culture of a specific historical period.


CIA members may wear historical clothing, arming garments and armour at re-enactment or living history events in order to place fencing skills in context, however most CIA practice is conducted in modern, athletic clothing. Modern personal protective equipment such as fencing jackets, plastrons, gloves and masks are utilised along with weapon simulators such as blunt steel fencing swords, wooden staves and synthetic wasters.


Historical fencing practice is beneficial for general fitness and wellbeing. Swordsmanship, especially with double handed weapons such as longswords and staves, exercises all the major muscle groups on both sides of the body. Reaction time, perception, balance, athletic grace, speed, aerobic fitness and mobility can all be improved with committed practice. Other benefits include the cultivation of patience, humility, perseverance and confidence in practitioners.


Grading Structure

There are four ranks available to members within CIA. Ranks are awarded following demonstration and examination of skill and knowledge. In order of seniority the ranks (in English) are:

  • Novice
  • Fencer
  • Free Fencer (assistant instructor)
  • Provost (instructor or chief instructor).

In line with our collegiate philosophy and outlook, we tend to avoid visible signs of rank such as belts, sashes, hats and scarves. Instead we have a nice line of training gear available for everyone at our CafePress shop:


Our commitment to a healthy culture

Collegium in Armis is committed to the principles of equity, respect, and inclusiveness in our activities. We commit, collectively and individually, to treating everyone equally regardless of sex, gender, ethnic origin, religion, disability, age, sexual orientation, political persuasion, or any other personal attributes unrelated to the safe practice of our activities. We have no tolerance for harassment, vilification, or ridicule.

Contact Us

For more information or to enquire about coming along to a class,  contact us at collegiuminarmis (at) gmail.com or check out our Facebook page.

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