Ars Gladii maintains a 3200 sq. ft. facility in the Metro Detroit are suburb of Garden City, MI. Within, students will find an expansive space tailored specifically for all types of HEMA training. We maintain a large library of school training gear, allowing those new to the sport the ability to train while building up their own kit.
Ars Gladii classes are taught by a group of experienced instructors with a wide-range of backgrounds and experiences in martial arts (both as HEMA-ists and more traditional fighting arts), sports, and fitness instruction. Each class is taught by at least one instructor, usually in combination with one or more assistant instructors.
Josh Little founded Ars Gladii sometime in 1999 (the exact origins are lost to space and time). He holds a degree in Philosophy and Medieval History from Western Michigan University. Josh has been around swords for almost his entire life, participating in numerous forms of practice including Olympic-style fencing, the SCA, and medieval reenactment. For the last 22 years, he has worked hard on reconstructing the medieval fencing arts of Central Europe from surviving manuals, specifically on the works related to the Zettel of Johannes Liechtenauer. Outside of the chivalric arts, Josh also enjoys boxing, both modern and historical, and marksmanship using 19th century firearms. Josh is Ars Gladii’s primary weapon instructor.
David ‘Sparky’ Farrell is Ars Gladii’s primary mechanics and wrestling instructor. He began his Western Martial under the tutelage of Greg Mele and the fine folks at the Chicago Swordplay Guild, where he earned the rank of Scholar and served as an instructor for several years before moving to the metro Detroit area. Dave brings to Ars Gladii a good understanding of the martial lineage of Fiore de Liberi and the arts of the Italian Peninsula, catch and freestyle wrestling, body mechanics, and early 20th century American physical culture.
Kat Dunham is an instructor at Ars Gladii. She started her sword journey with modern sabre, then Kendo, and eventually transitioned to HEMA in 2016. Loving the diversity of weapons, people and the intellectual pursuit that HEMA provides, she expects to be a lifelong HEMA practitioner.
Tyler Dunham joined Ars Gladii in 2016. He holds a degree in Philosophy and English from Central Michigan University. Tyler has been practicing martial arts and combative sports since he was 15 -most notably Wing Chun, Olympic Sabre Fencing, and Kendo, with others sprinkled in between. At Ars Gladii his interests lie primarily with the early traditions of Johannes Liechtenauer’s Bloßfechten with the longsword and Andre Lignitzer’s Sword and Buckler. He also engages in self-study of the British Military Sabre Systems of the Napoleonic Era. His interests outside of being cut, stabbed, sliced or thrown include drawing, cooking, the outdoors, and archery.
Sean Franklin began his HEMA career in 2011, and hit the ground running. Due to his prior experience in the Canadian High-Performance Sport System he was able to apply his physical conditioning and disciplined training focus to develop as a martial artist at a rapid rate, being able to outfight many club head instructors after only a few years’ experience. Sean has experience in many weapons and traditions, having competitive medals in most tournament weapon sets. Sean’s experience in sports coaching has allowed him to rapidly develop as a martial arts instructor, working to develop high level martial artists by instruct at schools and events around the world. Recently he served as a delegate and coach for the North American team at the 2019 European Summer Games (yes, you read ‘North American team at the European Games’ correctly.) A passionate advocate of test cutting, Sean finds they practice useful for both preserving martial validity and as a tool to assist the development of quality body mechanics. Sean might be most known for his instructional YouTube videos, which is ironically the least impressive credential in terms of demonstrating actual competence.