There are many Western Martial Arts associations, each with differing purposes. Some are national federations, others are open “collectives”, offering members bodies group liability insurance and certification as part of the price of admission. Some admit only individuals and others only clubs.
Our Policy on Certification and Curriculum Development
The Chivalric Fighting Arts Association is a bit different from all of these models. While we are an international organization, we are not a collective one. By this, we mean that we do not believe that good martial arts can have a singular, cross-system “certification”. Although there is a reasonable argument to be made that good pedagogy is good pedagogy, the problem is, good at teaching what? For example, there are many similarities between the German Messer and Filipino Kali, whom besides an expert in one or the other can truly tell what is a faithful interpretation of that art?
For this and a variety of other reasons the Association does not engage in certification or curriculum management; each member school runs its internal affairs and trains its students as it seems fit.
How Do I Join?
Because we aren’t selling anything, we don’t charge anything: there is no way to “buy in”, no officers holding control over the organization to elect, no committees. Instead as a confraternity, what we expect of all members is a rigid adherence to the association’s threefold mission:
- to provide a climate of mutual support between member schools,
- to foster the ideals of historical fidelity to the ancient treatises and their cultural and ethical milieu,
- to serve as a face and a contact point for individuals and institutions interested in Western martial arts and historical European martial arts.
We maintain our “quality control” by making membership invitational; admitting to our ranks only established schools, instructors or researchers, or promising newer institutions that one or more existing CFAA members have chosen to mentor. While membership is private, our efforts are public, both online and on the mat.
Although it may seem exclusionary, CFAA’s goal isn’t to be a vast “you pay, you play” association – those already exist in abundance. Instead, we seek to foster excellence and a very specific philosophical approach to study our subject matter: an understanding and respect for how these arts were taught and applied holistically in earnest combat.
In practice this means that if you are an invited member or seeking our fellowship, you will be part of an international cadre of known and respected schools whose members are focused on each of the aspects in our name: Chivalric Fighting Arts. If you are a student seeking training, you know that a CFAA members school has already established a reputation for quality training and fidelity to specific “results + research” based approach to training. If you are researching Western Martial Arts in general, and Chivalric or Historic European Martial Arts you know that a CFAA member is part of body that includes researchers of note, professional scholars, published authors, heads of successful, International-level schools, as well as a collective expertise in more than five languages.
If you have read our page and your school feels that CFAA is the right home for you, please reach out to us via the Contact page or through one of our member schools, so we can meet and learn more about you.