About Aaron Pynenberg
Aaron Pynenberg served his country in the
As Deputy Director of the Association for Renaissance
Martial Arts (ARMA), he quickly rose to become ARMA’s
only Provost and won his prize playing event by the highest win-to-lose ratio
so far recorded. He is featured heavily
on the ARMA website, and helped to keep the membership highly motivated. He
became ARMA Director John Clements’ official apprentice and contributed to
reform ARMA’s training methodology and study
approach. He has assisted and led
numerous training seminars and programs across the
As a medieval combat specialist he was featured in a number
of Hollywood projects including the re-release of the movie, First Knight,
the documentary Reclaiming the Blade, and on National Geographic’s Medieval
Fight Book. Along with his long-time
training partner Jeremiah Backhaus, they appeared together in the documentary Makers
and Masters for the re-release of the original movie, Conan the Barbarian .
He is also heavily featured in a number
of on-line videos and other programs. He
is a proven expert in the use of the European longsword, rapier, messer, dagger and fighting in harness (European
armor). He is also currently undertaking
an extensive and exhaustive study of traditional
Presently, he is a 19-year Police Master Sargent
serving with the Appleton Police Department in
Aaron was also instrumental in creating and implementing specific training for women in law enforcement. By targeting this issue he created a specialized curriculum which addressed differences in how women learned these skills, resulting in officers who are more confident and better prepared. He is routinely responsible for creating on-going in-service instruction for over 100 sworn officers in decision making skills and the application of use-of-force during high-stress environments. To accomplish this task he directs a cadre of 15 highly trained professional instructors and administrators.
In April of 2012, he was instrumental in the Grand Gala-Opening for the Castlerock museum. He gave several presentations on the art of fencing for the Museum and for Mr. Gary Schlosstein, the Museum’s founder and arms collector. Aaron was presented with the unique privilege of personally handling several authentic pieces from the collection, including a sword from the First Crusade.
On the subject of training in historical fencing Aaron says: “Many times I am asked why I train in swordsmanship, to which I used to be somewhat perplexed, now I use a quote that I believe sums it up perfectly…”
But it is to the keen swordsman who looks upon foil fencing as the key to all hand-to-hand fighting, that the historical development of the art offers the greatest interest. It shows him how many generations of practical men were required to elucidate the principles of fencing, and adapt them in the most perfect way to the mechanical resources of the human anatomy, and how utterly unknown many of those principals, which are now looked on upon as the A B C of swordplay, were still, in the proudest days of the sword’s reign.
The sword is now truly a thing of the past, and elaborate swordsmanship can only be looked upon as a superior kind of pastime, combining mental excitement and bodily exercise-the excitement of a game of skill not entirely independent of chance, together with the delight, innate in all healthy organizations, of strife and destruction-and an exercise necessitating the utmost nervous and muscular tension while it affords the refined pleasure of rhythmical action.
But in days gone by the sword was indeed a part of the
man, and the skillful use therof, on most occasions,
of more import than a good cause. It has
often been said that a history of the sword would be a history of humanity,
since the latter has ever been a chain of struggles between nations and men ultimately
As the lead trainer for the newly formed Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association, he is looking forward to working closely with other members of the HEMA Alliance and scholars everywhere to advance the art and is coordinating and leading a number of training seminars around the US and Europe.