The Decatur School of Arms is a not-for-profit community organization dedicated to teaching Italian Renaissance rapier fencing.

About Us:


The Decatur School of Arms offers fencing clases of all levels of experience at the Decatur Recreation Center in downtown Decatur. In this five-week course, students learn footwork, body mechanics, and how to use the quintessential Renaissance weapon, the rapier. A great workout for people in any physical condition, this class offers a fun and personalized approach to mastering the “Art of Defense” useful for actors who want to build their stage combat skills, students who want to take up a unique sport, and adult learners looking for an interesting way to incorporate important anaerobic elements into their fitness routines.

Classes are taught by:

  • Master-at-Arms David Coblentz
  • Provost-at-Arms Dori Coblentz
  • Assistant Instructor Ben Hay.


While all fencing is fundamentally based on timing and distance, the kind of fencing we teach is primarily done with the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century rapier rather than a lighter modern weapon. This weapon’s greater length and weight calls for different tactical emphases. When possible, we try to base our training with these weapons on the sources contemporary with their use – fencing instructional manuals from the Renaissance. However, our interpretation also integrates our own background in modern fencing pedagogy and the insights of twentieth-century kinesiology.

  • David Coblentz was certified as a fencing master by a board of maestri in May 2010. His training came primarily from the San Jose Fencing Masters Program.
  • Dori Coblentz was certified as a provost at arms with a historical concentration in Italian rapier by the Sonoma State fencing Masters Certificate Program in July of 2017.
  • Ben Hay is studying as an assistant instructor

We are happy to work with children as long as they have a parent or guardian present.

Fencing is a great workout and can be as intense or as moderate as you want it to be, depending on your current physical condition. We are experienced in working with learners of all different ages and ranges of physical ability, and our small class environment enables us to give each student individualized attention that focuses on helping him or her reach personal goals.

We start beginning students with lessons and drills geared toward preparing them for agonistic bouts. When students can safely handle the weapon, they fence first with instructors or more experienced fencers, and later with their peers.

Contact us with details and we’ll see what we can do.



Stop by any Thursday when classes are in session from 7:30-9:00 pm for a free introductory lesson!

The fee for a 5-week session is $50.
The class is taught by certified fencing master David Coblentz and is located at 231 Sycamore St. Decatur, GA 30030.
Free parking is available in the library parking deck for Recreation Center patrons.
Email us for more info.

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