Structure of Instructor Certification
The HEMA Alliance Instructor Certification (IC) is designed as a “curriculum interview” in which Certification Board members will examine candidates based on the curriculum they provide. We do not require that this curriculum be original; curriculum-creation is not tested by the Board or part of the Certification. Questions will be directed towards both the claimed strengths or foci of the curriculum and any apparent areas of possible weakness. For example, a candidate presenting a curriculum labeled by that candidate as Kunst-des-Fechtens-based must be prepared to answer questions about KdF history and martial application in more depth than a candidate presenting a fundamentals-focused eclectic curriculum with a wide array of sources, especially if those sources are mostly living HEMA teachers and not the manuals themselves. However, the latter candidate must expect to explain, and potentially demonstrate, how they merge disparate styles and deal with contradictions between sources.
As this is a H.E.M.A. Certification, all candidates will have to present a grasp of the “H” of history as it relates to their instructional purposes, but the focus and depth will vary. An example of an area of apparent weakness would be a curriculum presented with little or no reference to footwork. It is possible that the candidate will have a satisfactory justification for this, but the Boards will generally be looking for thoroughness. “Thoroughness” does not mean “comprehensiveness.” Candidates will not be expected to present a textbook or a “canned curriculum.” Annotated outlines of material will suffice. Written guides for exercises are recommended (not *every* exercise you teach -- just some examples).
The physical demands of the I.C. examination will vary according to the familiarity of the Board with the candidate. All candidates will be expected to demonstrate exercises and basics of their system, and all candidates will be expected to spar. In cases where each Board member has seen the candidate perform in tournaments or teach at events certain portions of the review may be somewhat compressed, as the Board review actually begins with the receipt of the application weeks or months before the interview itself.
Martial and Teaching Competence
The HEMA Alliance Instructor Certification is not a mastery test; it is a competence test. The competence evaluation is aimed simultaneously at fundamental martial skills, and the ability to transmit those skills and knowledge as a teacher. The three broad areas of the exam are History, Mechanics, and Teaching Methodology. Competence must be demonstrated in all three areas, but the attention to each will vary according to the curriculum provided.
Depending on the makeup of the particular examining panel, and the schedule pressures involved, candidates may be given a portion of their exam as a short written test. In this case, questions will be designed for the candidate individually based upon their submitted materials, and they will have the opportunity to address the written test in the interview portion if they choose.
When preparing for the test, remember you need to be able to discuss the history, your mechanics, you must be able to instruct, fence and you will be evaluated on your overall presentation as well.