St. Louis School of Arms

Learn Historical European Combat

The St. Louis School of Arms is dedicated to the preservation of very rare and special martial arts. We provide organized instruction in the serious study and practice of historical Italian swordplay and close quarter combat of the 16th century. Born on the battlefield, these martial arts were developed from actual experiences in battle, during a time when a warrior either lived or died by the quality of his skills.

We reconstruct the martial ways of the past by combining research into the teachings of Renaissance masters with the practical knowledge gained through partnered exercises, sparring with specially-designed blunt weapons and test cutting with sharp weapons.  We don't just use weapons-- we also practice the wrestling methods of these traditions.

Our emphasis has nothing to do with modern sports or theatrics.  Techniques are taught only in the context of how they were used in real combat. Our practice focuses on safety, control and competence, and applying what we practice in real life situations.

No Contracts - No Testing Fees - No Rank Fees - No Children

Our Training Hall is not a place for children. We are serious martial artists, with serious backgrounds. Before coming to HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), many of us have had years (or decades) training and teaching in well-known martial arts, and understand the foundational concepts that are required for effective combative activities. This is not any kind of reenactment group.

What does one-handed sword fighting look like?

Here's what it looks like with two-handed swords!

No martial arts experience necessary

Group Class Schedule

7:00 PM Polearms
(60 minutes)

Spears, partisans, staffs and sticks of any length. Held outdoors.


7:00 PM Swords & Shields
(90 minutes)

One-handed sword and buckler (small shield), and occasionally rotella (the large shield).

Sword and Buckler

10:00 AM Grappling / Pugilism
(90 minutes)

In-depth grappling instruction based on traditional Italian teachings. Also, learn the science of self-defense with bare fists-- 18th Century English Pugilism.


12:30 PM Two-Handed Sword
(90 minutes)

Advanced combat forms with a very long sword. Grappling is also included here.

Two-handed Sword

11:00 AM One-Handed Sword
(90 minutes)

The one-handed sword alone. Great for beginners. Basic guards, cuts and forms, solo & paired.


Note: the last 15 minutes of class is reserved for free-play/sparring/drilling.

Visitors are always welcome - Try a Free Lesson

Private Lessons are available by appointment

Want to host a seminar? Ask for details