You may believe certain conversations you have on public social media are somehow private or not seen by others. This is not the case. You may also have certain past grievances with a particular well known historical fencing instructor and researcher. Those particular disagreements are your own issue and are best kept between involved parties. There are a number of you who I maintain friendships with who are former members of the ARMA. I wish to maintain these friendships in spite of whatever conflicts which occurred between yourselves and the ARMA director. I understand that many of these disputes may not have been settled or that there are still personal issues between yourself and the director of our organization. However, it does little for the benefit of any of our collective organizations or to our efforts in reconstructing forgotten fighting arts to encourage an environment of hostility between our organization and other organizations or individuals.
There are members of the HEMA Alliance or other organizations, who have had no past affiliation with the ARMA or its members who I maintain contact with in a spirit of mutual advancement of these forgotten arts. I frequently encounter conversations on social media and various forums in which people who, as far as I am aware, have never had any affiliations with the ARMA, nor to my knowledge have ever met Mr. Clements who regularly engage in banter which at the minimum, would be considered insulting, and occasionally escalates to dialogue which might be considered threatening. Although I do not approve of this type of behavior even amongst persons who have had former ARMA affiliation, I find it bizarre and disturbing when it emanates from completely unaffiliated sectors of the HEMA community amongst individuals who have never interacted with Mr. Clements or the ARMA in any fashion. Spewing vitriolic and defamatory hatred behind another person’s back, especially a person you have no reason to make personal attacks against is in my view, childish, unprofessional, and shows a distinct lack of character.
I believe most of us came to these arts due to the profound sense of wonderment and awe inspired by the beauty and grace of a keen edge, and the longing and curiosity to seek out and uncover lost skills and knowledge from days long buried by the depths of time. Unfortunately, in our efforts, we seem to have created a political environment which sometimes emulates that of the era of our studies. I feel few if any of us came into this subject in order to recreate the hate fueled rivalries of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, or the cloak-and-dagger back-stabbing of the Guelphs and Ghibellines.
I would like to make it clear that I wrote this letter of my own volition and without prompting from any other persons. I chose to reach out in this manner in hopes it might ameliorate the poisonous environment which seems to have developed within our community. I ask that those of us on both sides of the split make efforts to encourage a culture of respect and professionalism within our respective clubs. I don’t expect everybody to agree with each other or even like each other, but let us at least try and avoid resorting to ad hominem attacks, insults, and petty name calling. I will do my utmost to enhance the culture of respect within the ARMA as best I can. I ask that you do the same. I know that we can all do better in this regard than we have been. Let this be the vorschlag toward a more productive future relationship.
Corey Roberts ARMA