About the Instructor

The Hilt and Cross, Ben SmithI began training in historical European martial arts (HEMA) in 2000 when I was seventeen, going to college in Provo Utah at BYU.  I joined the 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 M.A. program in Public History at WSU in Pullman Washington.  I left the ARMA for personal, pedagogical, and methodological reasons.  Mostly because the organization did not offer a structure for the independent work I wanted to do and because I felt it’s centralized management was detrimental to the development of successful independent groups, which of necessity in the American West spend the vast majority of their time working in isolation.  While I worked toward my Ph.D. I worked with a small circle of friends including Andrew Ulrich, Ben Weaver, and Kris Skelton, whom I wish to offer special thanks to for their enthusiasm and support.  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.

The Hilt and Cross, Ben SmithI joined the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance in 2009 and began working seriously on my interpretations of Sigmund Ringeck’s longsword teachings and Hans Talhoffer’s Dagger teachings at that time.  I taught HEMA 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 created my current group The Hilt and Cross School of Historical European Martial Arts.  I want to offer particular thanks to my students in the Hilt and Cross especially Phillip Rhoemer, Catherine Rhoemer, Randy Boudwin, Emily Boudwin, and Bill England which have been especially supportive of my work and willing to spend so many hours letting me use them as test subjects for the experiments that made our interpretations possible.