Instructor Lineup For 2018:

Mike Cartier


Mike Cartier began studying martial arts at a young age and continued throughout his life. He was exposed during his childhood to Muay Thai, karate, boxing, and Jiu Jitsu among other arts. He was never able to really able to stick to one form until he happened to see a video of John Clements doing a sidesword flourish. From that point forward, he devoted all of his time and energy to furthering his understanding of historical swordsmanship and martial arts. He uses a martial approach to the art but is a firm believer in sticking to the manuscripts and draws on his lifelong love of history to learn as much as possible from the old texts.

Cartier was a part of ARMA for 8 years until 2009. He is a founding member of the HEMA Alliance and is the Oberhauptmann and Co-Founder of the Meyer Freifechter Guild, attempting to recreate the fraternity of the semi-anarchist guild socio-political institution which Meyer himself was a part of. He is currently a software engineer in the financial sector and remains active in the HEMA community and in the Freifechter Guild.

Jess Finley


Jessica Finley, author of "Medieval Wrestling: Modern Practice of a 15th Century Art" was published in 2014 by Freelance Academy Press and her paper on medieval wrestling can also be found in the collection "In the Service of Mars," a selection of pieces on historical martial arts from the same publisher. She was awarded "Best researcher or interpreter" for 2015 in the HEMA Scholar Awards for her published book.

Her independent research in the area of textiles has included work on sixteenth century Irish menswear, but is currently focused on fifteenth century fabric armor. She has published an article “The Lübeck Wappenröcke: Distinctive Style in Fifteenth-Century German Fabric Armor”, in Medieval Clothing and Textiles 13, published by Boydell and Brewer regarding her study of the original garment held in Lübeck.

Jessica has studied medieval swordsmanship and martial arts for more than a dozen years, founding a school near her home in North Georgia called "Ritterkunst Fechtschule" and continues to publish on her blog under that same name. She is a founding member of the United States Historical Ringen Association and encourages the study of medieval martial arts worldwide. Jessica is a frequent instructor at international historical martial arts conferences.

Andy Taylor

andy taylor

We are very pleased to announce that after a 4 year hiatus, regular instructor Andy Taylor will be making a return to the symposium. Andy has been studying Historical Fencing for over 17 years. His particular interests are mainly concerned with the German Fechtschule fencing tradition of the 16th to 18th centuries.

His fencing interests are primarily focussed around late 16th Century Fencing and he primarily teaches Longsword, Rappier and Dussack. Andy is a British Federation of Historical Swordplay IL1 instructor and also played his prize for the rank of Freifechter with the Meyer Freifechter Guild.

Chris Vanslambrouck


Christopher VanSlambrouck is a senior instructor, researcher and administrator with the Meyer Freifechter Guild, a Historical European Martial Arts group. For the last 16 years, he has had general interest as a HEMA scholar. But from 2009 onward he has specialized in the instruction of the techniques of Master Joachim Meyer, particularly in the use of the XVI c. German longsword. Chris has instructed all across the Midwest and in several foreign countries.

Michael Chidester

two pants

Michael Chidester is the Editor-in-Chief of Wiktenauer and, as Director of the Wiktenauer, an officer of the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance.

Michael has been studying historical European martial arts since 2001. He was a member of the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts until 2006, where he achieved the rank of general Free Scholar, and he acted as the ARMA Provo Study Group Leader from 2007 until its dissolution in 2009. Michael co-founded the True Edge Academy of Swordsmanship in 2009, and until late 2010 was senior instructor at its Provo, Utah branch.

In 2012, Michael was appointed to the newly-established position of Director of the Wiktenauer by the HEMA Alliance general council, formalizing the role of principal designer and editor that he had assumed in early 2010. As Wiktenauer lead, Michael has assembled the most complete catalog of HEMA manuscripts currently available, including such resources as scans, transcriptions, and translations, and is currently laboring to assemble a similar catalog of printed treatises. In 2013, these efforts earned him a HEMA Scholar Award for Best Supporting Researcher.

Michael has lectured on Medieval and Renaissance martial arts at the Historical Swordsmanship Symposium at the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, Life, the Universe, & Everything: the Marion K. “Doc” Smith Symposium at Brigham Young University, and numerous HEMA events both in the US and Internationally. 

Ted Elsner

Ted coach

Founder and principal instructor for the Sacramento Freifechter, Coach Elsner has been studying Joachim Meyer’s art since he was first introduced to it through photocopies of its woodcuts and badly translated text in 1999. In 2012 he founded the Sacramento Freifechter Historical Fencing Club and has worked to grow it into one of the largest clubs in Northern California. He believes in a holistic approach to Meyer’s art combined with modern pedagogical techniques for imparting skills to new students. While some consider this approach to be heretical he finds it effective in teaching people about Meyer’s art.

James Reilly


James Reilly began his study of martial arts in his early teens. His first focus was on western boxing, later moving on to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. At 20 years of age he joined the Armed Forces where he achieved the rating of Navy Chief just over 5 years of service. He began his study of historical swordsmanship in 2009, after stumbling across the highly acclaimed documentary Reclaiming The Blade. He joined the HEMA Alliance as an individual member in 2011.

James is the Principle Instructor of the Wiscconsin Historical Fening Association, Kenosha-Racine. He uses the recital of Liechtenauer as the basis for his longsword curriculum, and has gained some notoriety for his work interpreting Joachim Meyer's text on the longsword and Rapier. He is the founder and President of the Midwest Historical Fencing League, and has taught at historical fencing workshops across the Midwest. He holds the fechter rank by the MFFG in both longsword and rapier, and is a free-scholar in the Historical Fencing Affiliates.