About the Instructor

Ben Smith, Hilt and Cross, Liechtenauer, Ringeck, Longsword, HEMA

I began training in historical European martial arts (HEMA) in 2000 when I was seventeen while going to college.  I joined the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts (ARMA) and spent most of the next eight years applying that organization’s method.  I left the ARMA in 2008 around the end of my MA. program to pursue my own approach.  In graduate school I worked with a small circle of friends, and during that time I also trained in, and was approved to instruct, the Crouching Tiger Dao style by Robert Jay Arnold of the Xinzhu Bagua Association, part of the Taiwanese Martial Arts Alliance and the Tian Wu Dao, which teaches a branch of Gao style Baguazhang.

I joined the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance in 2009 and began working seriously on my interpretations of Sigmund Ringeck’s longsword teachings.  I taught it to my friends, and at WSU’s summer camp program Cougar Quest for four years starting in 2009 and ending in 2012.  The kids received it very well all four years, often rating it as one of the best workshops offered at Cougar Quest.  It was a pleasure working with WSU’s staff, and I hope such offerings will become commonplace in years to come.  In 2014 I came to Boise and founded my current group The Hilt and Cross, and I have been happily teaching here since then.

I am the author of The Art of Longsword Fighting: Teaching the Foundations of Sigmund Ringeck’s Style. This book is designed to help teachers prepare a curriculum to teach Ringeck’s fighting style with a method reconstructed from his original source material and research into the teaching methods of similar arts. It covers the foundational principles, safety, interpretation, cutting, and how to teach a student so that they not only establish a solid foundation for their future years of training, but also learn how to employ their techniques, quickly and efficiently.