At Monday's Governing Council meeting, with all in attendance, Lee Smith was unanimously voted for appointment to Director of Curriculum. Advising at the meeting was Curriculum Director Stew Feil, who gave his endorsement of the selection and will continue to serve the community. The Governing Council wishes to express our indebtedness to Stew for accepting the difficult position of initiating the Curriculum Council from nothing, and rallying some of most influential members of our community, including Lee, to our common cause, as well as for leading the creation of an important foundational rubric for the Instructor Certification project.
Lee Smith is one of a handful of HEMA leaders in the world for whom HEMA is a legitimate full-time job. As such, he exemplifies the portion of the HEMA Alliance mission that is dedicated to the promotion of our arts as a profession. At the same time, Lee is committed to helping our community of scholars and practitioners bring excellence to their endeavors at every level, from college clubs, to those who dream of achieving what Lee has achieved -- a HEMA salle with bursting enrollment and plans to knock out walls for expansion.
Lee is a respected martial artist, teacher, and coach who inspires loyalty and pride in his Blood & Iron team, a team that continue to make an increasingly impressive showing at national and international tournaments. Lee is also, as many of you know, one of the firebrands of HEMA, meaning that his opinions are strongly stated without excessive concern for the sympathy of the listener. He'll probably appoint some of his firebrand colleagues to oversee some of the exciting projects he has in mind. Things may get loud in here.
Here is Lee Smith's inaugural greeting:
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------For all those who do not know me, my name is Lee S. Smith and I am the principal and founding instructor of Blood and Iron Martial Arts, located in New Westminster, BC, Canada. My wife and I started our organization on the premise of seeking the highest possible standard. Over time and with much dedicated work our club went from a small study group training in a church hall, into a full-time brick-and-mortar HEMA school with 50 members and growing, and an international reputation. Around the world we are beginning to see a resurgence of our arts, as new groups popping up around the globe, and more and more people attend regional, national, and international events.
The interest to pursue our fighting arts is most definitely there, but the stark reality is that the structure is not. At this point the quality of instruction varies dramatically from group to group, as does the quality of judging from tournament to tournament. My term will be about helping to create standards and set the HEMA bar that much higher. It will be about carefully setting the cornerstones for a foundation that will benefit future practitioners, wherever and whatever they study in HEMA, in all organizations, schools, and clubs.
When I look around the greater community, I see so much talent, so much potential that if harnessed could accomplish many great things in a short period of time. Look at where we as a community are now compared to where we were 5 years ago, and imagine what we could have in 10 or 15 years. As a community, our potential future is immense. However, in order to reach that fullest potential, we need to evolve. Change, even when it is desirable and necessary, is often difficult.
In the coming weeks I will reveal detailed plans for the Curriculum Council. In the meantime, I ask you, the practitioners, to seriously consider your involvement with Curriculum Council projects. Many of you I have met, many I know well, and some I know only by reputation. We are building a team of martial artists and researchers with a variety of skills and a common dedication to bettering our martial practices on a global scale.
If you are interested in being a part of this project, and in changing the face of Historical European Martial Arts, please contact me at Lee.Smith@hemaalliance.com. I want to know who you are, what you are doing, what you can do, what your club is doing, and the reasons we need you for the Curriculum Council.
I look forward to serving our community to the best of my ability, and to building with you the future of Historical the arts we all share.
Lee S. Smith
Principal Instructor, Blood and Iron
Chairman, HEMA Alliance Curriculum Council