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|Alma mater||Brigham Young University|
Michael Chidester has been studying historical European martial arts since 2001. He was a member of the Association for Renaissance Martial Arts until 2007, where he achieved the rank of general Free Scholar and acted as the ARMA Provo Study Group Leader. Michael co-founded the True Edge Academy of Swordsmanship in 2009, and until 2011 was senior instructor at its Provo, Utah branch. In 2012, Michael was appointed to the newly-established position of Director of the Wiktenauer Project by the Historical European Martial Arts Alliance general council, formalizing the role of principal designer and editor that he had assumed in early 2010. As Wiktenauer lead, Michael has assembled the most complete catalog of HEMA manuscripts currently available, including such resources as scans, transcriptions, and translations, and is currently laboring to assemble a similar catalog of printed treatises. In 2013, these efforts earned him a HEMA Scholar Award for Best Supporting Researcher.
In 2010, Michael received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from Brigham Young University, with a minor degree in Military Science and additional coursework in Italian and Spanish. He developed a degree of fluency in the latter while living abroad in Mexico between 2002 and 2004. He is a member of the Western Martial Arts Coalition and a Lifetime Member of the HEMA Alliance. Michael has lectured on Medieval and Renaissance martial arts at Fechtschule America in Houston, the Iron Gate Exhibition of Historical Martial Arts in Boston, the Symposium on Historical Arts and Swordsmanship at the Massachusetts Center for Interdisciplinary Renaissance Studies, and Life, the Universe, & Everything: the Marion K. “Doc” Smith Symposium at Brigham Young University.
While he designed much of the infrastructure of Wiktenauer, Michael's primary area of research is mapping out the connections between the various books and manuscripts in the corpus of historical European martial arts literature. Based on this research, he has put together a number of concordance documents that lay out the versions of each treatise side-by-side, both for ease of reference and as the first step toward creating critical editions of these treatises. Michael's concordances can be found on the following pages:
Michael has also begun participating in the work of transcribing fencing manuals. He has transcribed the following works:
Michael's translation work can be found in the following articles: