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The Italian Renaissance Swordsmanship Academy (IRSA) is dedicated to the teaching of Medieval and Renaissance martial arts. To optimize the student’s class experience IRSA requires adherence to the General Rules of Conduct. These rules facilitate a respectful and cordial class environment for students to learn, grow and excel.


1.1.Addressing Instructors: Instructors will introduce themselves to the class by their title. Addressing them by their title demonstrates respect for their years of hard work and training. This will be reciprocated as you advance in rank in the school.


1.2.1. Keep Uniforms clean. Wash as needed to avoid offending your fellow students.

1.2.2.Maintain your weapons by regular inspection and removing rust and any excessive burrs. Rust will affect the integrity of your weapon and stain uniforms. Burrs will damage clothing and potentially harm your fellow students.

1.2.3.Check your protective gear for any faults. Ask an instructor to inspect the gear if there is any concern.


Treat all people with respect. Respect is a vital part of any Martial Art that helps you in your training. Your peers, as well as your instructors, are here to help you improve your skills.

1.3.1.Never handle other students’ weapons or gear without permission.

Weapons and gear are expensive and personal. Be respectful and always ask permission before using or handling their equipment.

1.3.2.Arrive on time for class:

Punctuality minimizes disruption to the class and sets a good example for other students. For safety and to avoid class interruption, students arriving late must wait on the sidelines for acknowledgment by the instructor before joining the class. Chronic late attendance will result in not being allowed to join a class in progress.

1.3.3.Leaving the Class: Do NOT leave the class without informing the Instructor or senior student. We are responsible for your safety during class and while in the facility. You must tell your instructor if you're not feeling well and need to be excused or require medical attention. Also, please inform the instructor if you are leaving the facility for any reason. In case we need to evacuate the building, we need to account for all students. This helps to ensure everyone’s safety and minimize class disruption.

1.4. Let IRSA know if you will be absent for an extended period of time.

Your instructor values all of its students. Informing the instructor of an expected absence demonstrates respect and allows the instructor to plan for your return.

2.General Rules:

2.1.Train safely

We always strive to train in a manner that is safe and prevents injury. The best way to do that is to be cooperative and respectful to everyone in the class. If you have a physical condition that limits your ability to perform certain techniques, please let the instructor know so we can take appropriate precautions.

2.2.Do not disturb other students during class. Students are investing time and money to learn this art. The student needs to be able to focus on the lesson being presented by the instructor. There will be no excessive talking during the lesson.

2.3.Asking Questions during the class: Clarifying questions are encouraged. You may ask questions pertinent to the lesson by raising your hand and waiting to be recognized by the instructor. To avoid distraction and deviation from the technique being presented, “What if” questions can be discussed after class with the instructor.

2.4.NO Student to Student Instruction:

The instructor will decide when a student is ready to learn and perform more difficult techniques. Martial Art techniques are very complex, and as a student, you are not aware of all the ramifications of a particular action. Despite good intentions, your advice may be incorrect or dangerous to your fellow students.

2.5.Execution of Techniques and Drills

During class, we provide just enough resistance to allow our training partners to practice the technique. Class time is not fighting time, and learning occurs best in an atmosphere of mutual respect and cooperation. We do not excessively resist or change the action defeat your partner’s execution of a technique unless told to do so by an instructor.

2.6.No Excessive Contact: The safety of our fellow students is everyone’s responsibility. Intentional Excessive Contact or Excessive Contact due to carelessness is a serious offense and will result in removal from the bout or class. Any malicious intent will result in immediate expulsion from the school.

2.7.Complaints: Instructors are happy to address any complaints or concerns privately after class. Contradicting instructors or complaining during class is strongly discouraged. (See 2.2)

2.8.Salute your Partner: The Salute is a sign of respect. We salute at the beginning and end of each class. You will also salute your opponent and the start and end of each bout. This signals your readiness to begin the bout and expresses respect and thanks to your opponent at the conclusion of the Bout

3.Bouting/Free Fencing.

The purpose of bouting is to put theory into practice during simulated combat. Free fencing is your opportunity to develop your fencing style. General rules for sparring are as follows:

3.1.Salute your opponent (see 2.8)

3.2.Practice Control (see 2.6)

3.3.Be willing to sacrifice a point for the safety of your opponent. In an actual fight, you do not count points. You either succeeded or failed. If you know your technique arrived, then you have the actual victory. No need to push for a useless ego victory.

3.4. Grappling allowed only with the head instructor’s approval and mutual consent between the fencers.

3.5.Wining is NOT THE GOAL. The goal of bouting is to improve yourself by learning from your mistakes and not to be prideful.

This is why our motto “Vincit qui se Vincit” which is paraphrased from Publilius Syrus, “He conquers twice who conquers himself when he is victorious.” Syrus' meaning is for one to control the urge to be arrogant, smug, cruel, or vindictive when you win.

Fencing and Training Rules

Creating a safe and respectful environment within our club is paramount to us. We want to ensure every member feels valued and protected during training and sparring sessions. We have established well-defined rules and guidelines that promote safety and sportsmanship to achieve this. Here's a condensed version of the key points:

  • All Students on Minimizing Hard Hits:

  • We acknowledge that combat sports involve physical contact, but we aim to reduce the occurrence of excessive force.

  • We encourage new and experienced members to be mindful of the force behind their strikes and control their intensity accordingly.

  • It is essential to foster a culture of responsibility. If you strike your partner too forcefully, please openly admit it.

  • In case of hard hits occur, regardless of who is at fault, we expect members to apologize to their opponents.

  • We want to emphasize the concept of a "Moral Victory" - prioritizing safety over winning points.

  • Please inform a coach if you feel that anyone is excessively hitting hard or is out of control during training or a bout.

2)   Responsibilities of Senior Students:
We define senior students as those with more than one year of experience in the class or who have equivalent martial expertise.

  • We recognize that simultaneous attacks or improperly executed counterattacks may happen and may result in a brutal hit. Managing them responsibly is crucial.

  • Senior members are expected to control the force of their strikes and focus on avoiding their opponent's faults rather than retaliating aggressively.

  • Senior members should maintain control over their attacks regardless of their opponent's actions.

  • We encourage senior members to sacrifice points to ensure their partner's safety.

By adhering to these rules and principles, we aim to create an atmosphere of respect and safety within our club. This approach will facilitate your skill development and minimize the risk of injuries. Effective communication, sportsmanship, and safety will always be at the forefront of our club's core values. Thank you for your commitment to our club, and let's continue to train hard while looking out for one another.

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