Bob Charron has been studying Medieval history and warfare for over 20 years. After receiving his Bachelor of Science and Education from the University of Arkansas in 1985, Mr. Charron spent twenty years participating in Historical Reenactment of the Medieval era. His personal research and training in education led him to teach classes in topics ranging from Vegetius’ De Rei Militari to Government and Law in 12th and 13th century Jerusalem. Always seeking after primary source material in the use and instruction of arms, he acquired a copy of the Getty-Ludwig manuscript of the Fior di Bataglia, a treatise written by Fiore Dei Liberi, the early 15th century instructor at arms to the court of Nicolo d’Este, Marquise da Ferrara.
This master work includes an extensive prologue describing Fiore’s personal experience and advice to the combatant, a complete explanation of the structure of the treatise, and a list of his famous students and their opponents. Following this introduction are hundreds of illustrations and accompanying paragraphs of text explaining this complete martial arts system and its concepts as it moves from hand-to-hand combat, knife fighting, swordplay, the use of the spear and the pollaxe, and ends with techniques for the mounted combatant. Mr. Charron has spent the last several years translating the text, interpreting the techniques, and further researching the scientific principles on which the art is based and the biographies of the men who employed it.
He is the founder of, and instructor for, St. Martin’s Academy of Medieval Arms in Madison, Wisconsin, a martial arts academy using Fior di Bataglia as its curriculum, where he teaches weekly classes and private lessons. He has traveled the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe teaching the material from the treatise. He has presented three papers at the Kalamazoo Medieval Conference on Fiore’s work, with a fourth scheduled for the 2005 session. In addition to the translation of the text and the demonstration of the techniques, Mr. Charron also presents on the internal organization of the manuscript, the links within this work to memory systems, academics, art and culture of the period. Mr. Charron uses his skills and enthusiasm as an educator to bring the art to life, and to share it within the context of the science and society which created such a beautiful and effective martial arts system.