On August 17, 1930 in Antwerp, Belgium; a group of Fencing Masters from all over Europe came together during the World Championships to express a will of a world union uniting all Fencing Masters. Of course, this was easier said than done, and twenty-eight more years passed before a temporary committee was formed in 1958 to begin the process of providing agreed upon statutes designed to unite all National Academies. This achievement took form with the official establishment of the Academie D'Armes Internationale (AAI) on April 21 and 22, 1962 in Basil, Switzerland thirty-two years from conception and four years in formulation.
The AAI was formed in accordance with laws and texts in effect that govern the activities of the teaching of fencing and physical training. Its goals are:
- To unite all existing National Academies around the world and to encourage certified Masters to constitute National Academies when one doesn't exist in the country where they practice.
- To assure and to maintain friendly relations between National Academies.
- To represent its members to public and private institutions and to all other organizations.
- To contribute to the development of principles, rules, techniques and methods of teaching of fencing in all its aspects.
- To assure the dissemination of all relative documents relating to fencing.
- To encourage the technical and educational development of its adherents throughout the world, through the following formats: The organization of seminars and the publications on its website www.escrime.org.
The AAI is committed to goals relating to the development of examination protocol, as well as the composition of panels to examine candidates; and the organization of contests, such as the World Fencing Masters' Championships. The AAI also organizes meetings and international events related to fencing.
At the 1998 annual Congress in Vichy, France, M. Marcel Dubois was elected AAI President and served for two four year terms until 2006. Votes are cast by each nation according to membership size. The AAI Executive body consists of the President; who appoints a Secretary- General and Treasurer; and four Vice Presidents.
On Wednesday, August 23, 2006 the AAI Congress elected the current Executive Committee in Brussels:
- President Mike Bunke, Germany
- Roberta Giussani, Italy
- Gérard Delavaquerie, France
- Mike Joseph, Great Britain
- Anthony Gilham, USA
The USFCA has been an active participant in AAI activities. Beginning in 1965, when the USFCA established its accreditation protocol, USFCA members have participated in many AAI initiatives.
USFCA Past President Jean-Jacques Gillet was a Vice President from 1986-1999.
Secretary-Treasurer Richard Gradkowski was the North American representative to the Commission on Pedagogy.
Fencing Masters from the USFCA competed at the World Fencing Masters’ Championships: in 1970 at the Crystal Palace in London, Ed Richards won the gold medal in foil, Michael D’Asaro won the bronze in saber, and our foil team won the gold. In 1986 in Sindelfingen, Germany, Wes Glon won a bronze medal in saber, as did Edward Korfanty in 1994, in Graz, Austria.
Anthony Gilham, past executive committee member, currently serves as an AAI Vice President and as the Commissioner of Sport Fencing, (rules, organization, and championships).
Current member nations with official AAI National Governing Bodies include: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United States, and there are affiliated individual members in many other nations.