Masters of the Sword: MD Company to Claim Monopoly on Historical Fencing Accreditation

You’ve heard it here first:

SHotS is teaming up with Towson-based Secret Archives Press LLC to provide the historical fencing community with ultimate credentials.

Baltimore, MD—Secret Archives Press, a for-profit Maryland limited-liability company, is announcing the launch of a new credentializing service for the Classical and Historical Fencing communities.

“There is a growing demand for accreditation and titles,” says Secret Archives’ principal, J. Christoph Amberger. “Unfortunately, the current system has been unable to keep up.”

For a credentializing fee of $500 and an annual maintenance fee of $75, Secret Archives Press LLC will start offering ultimative credentials to the community starting today.

“It just makes sense,” says Amberger. “Current credentializing agencies require a prospective master to undergo a close-minded immersion in sports fencing, which we in the classical and historical fencing communities consider a game. Time and effort are wasted on sports sciences, physiology, conditioning, nutrition, and then uncounted hours of teaching techniques on how to set a light off! Preposterous!”

Secret Archives Press aims at credentializing those who practice fencing as a killing art. “It’s about not getting hit,” says Guillaume L., who runs a classical fencing salle in Wanne-Eickel, Germany. “The foil is the only historical weapon.”

Credentializing requirements are rigorous. Candidates have to prove that they have never earned a competitive ranking from any national fencing association. “It’s about purity,” says Amberger. “Can’t have anyone in there who’s practiced the killing arts as a game.”

Candidates also have to prove positive ownership of three historical fencing manuals dating from 1763 to 1800. “Copies are perfectly acceptable. We call this the Pugliese Clause,” chuckles Amberger, after the late Patri Pugliese, whose efforts of making available photocopied historical fencing manuals available to a broader audience in the 1990’s is credited with the re-emergence of interest in historical fencing in America.

“It also helps if you own your own foil.”

According to Amberger, “nothing symbolizes your commitment to your art like your willingness to make a substantial cash investment in your teaching credentials.” Those credentialized by Secret Archives Press LLC’s program will enjoy one full quarter of royalties-free teaching, after which a nominal administration fee of $10 per student per quarter is due to the company.

Amberger sees a two-fold need for the new title. “There are so many practitioners who up to now had to make up their title themselves, or attach themselves to others with made-up-titles. We’re providing great value for them and their salles.”

Others, he says, benefit indirectly: “For every instructor of historical fencing who wants to have his mastery acknowledged, there are a dozen students eager to be called his ‘Grasshopper’. Our new title fills this void. We’re also working on a way to acknowledge their acolyte status in the very near future.”

Amberger, a U.S. citizen since 2009, wants to further the leading role of the United States in classical fencing: “We’ve discarded the notion that we wanted to perpetuate Old-World notions of mastery and guild-like organization. I’m a republican with both a capital and a lower-case ‘R’ and see no use of perpetuating titles like Meister, Maister, Maestro, or Maitre. Plus, we’d get in trouble poaching on the privilege of established, litigious organizations just protecting their turf.”

The new credential issued by Secret Archives Press LLC is “Mister of Fencing” (MoF). “It’s valid as long as you’re a paid-up member of the Mister of Fencing Organization (MoFO),” says Amberger. “For the small fee, the added gravitas of the title could possibly double or even triple your school’s revenues. It’s a bargain, any which way you look at it. Plus,” he adds, “as a MoFO member, you can no longer be called out to prove your mettle in combat. It’s all in the old duelling codices. As long as you’re a paid-up member in good standing.” By acclamation, Mr. Amberger heads the accreditation committee as GrandMister, MoFO.

Secret Archives Press LLC anticipates solid revenues growth for Q2/2012 and is entertaining private placement offers from qualifying investors.

For more information on Secret Archives Press’s MoF certification process and MoFO membership, contact the company at

Update: Secret Archives Press LLC encourages readers of this press release to double-check the publication date.


19 responses to “Masters of the Sword: MD Company to Claim Monopoly on Historical Fencing Accreditation

  1. William C Byrne

    Let’s see: Money for accreditation? How stupid can you be?
    A literary press has no business evaluating anyone who wishes to achieve a status in any martial art. A “board” of responsible and accredited “masters” is the only way. You are about to flood a very responsible venue with a group of “unworthy” people. You might as well go to the USFA coach’s clinic. At least that takes 2 weeks.
    It takes a lot of time and dedication to one’s art to be acclaimed as one capable of teaching the same to others, not some made-up credential.
    I hope this is just an April Fool’s joke!

  2. William C Byrne

    …”The foil is the only historical weapon.”
    Really? Is this person one of your “Mister” candidates?
    If you are really going to screw the Historical and Classical Fencing communities this way, you could at least make some attempt at accuracy.
    This is a historically bad idea. A classical faux pas.
    Stick to writing cute fencing stories.

  3. William C Byrne

    You chose the right word, now apply it to your presumptuous idea.

  4. William C Byrne

    Oh, by the way, a Classical Instructor, Prevost and Masters’ certification are available through the living tradition of Classical Italian Fencing. Classes are offered through the fifteen (15) available and credentialed Masters at Arms in Atlanta GA, Eugene OR, and in Sonoma, Ukiah, Davis, San Jose, Santa Clara, San Mateo, and Mill Valley CA.

  5. bacchus davis

    Excellent april fools humor! Well done. Even better with the additional post on You certainly know how wade into the think of the absurd wars.

  6. Christoph Amberger


  7. Christoph Amberger

    Bill, I’ll be continuing writing my cute fencing stories. As soon as you look at the calendar… maybe that Mister of Fencing (MOFO), with the prerequisite of owning one foil was just too subtle.

    The foil being the only historical weapon, BTW, is a real-live quote from a classic salle in Germany. Google: “Wir trainieren mit dem einzigen wirklich historischen Schwert, dem Florett, das noch so genutzt wird, wie es ursprünglich beabsichtigt war.”

  8. William C Byrne

    I got it on the first one
    And the stories are cute sometimes

  9. William C Byrne

    Just having fun………..

  10. William C Byrne

    And it was a good way to advertise these guys.

  11. Christoph Amberger

    Reblogged this on Fencer's Magazine and commented:

    Finally: Clarity for historical fencing accreditation!

    I have never had a April start like like this one

  13. Ian Dundrillon

    You really outdid yourself this time. The “MoFO” organization. Outstanding and trefflichsten. Keep up the good work.

    P.S. I’m in. Where do I get an application? Will there be t-shirts and ball caps? Will there be cocktail parties and hot fencing groupies? Can’t wait!

  14. MoFO through a corporation?! A CORPORATE MOFO?! Preposterous!

  15. I was about to post in a rage – particularly at the foil comment – until I realised what the date was. Well done!

  16. Ken Dietiker

    Very funny!! Reposting on HEMA Alliance FB page! 😉

  17. Ken Dietiker

    Oops, someone beat me to it!

  18. Christoph Amberger

    The MoFo continues to be an inspiration, Ken.

  19. Ken Dietiker

    You should have added that there would be a discount for “Life Time” membership applications.

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