Sean Hayes teaches traditional Italian swordsmanship (foil, Épée and sabre) at Northwest Fencing Academy in Eugene, Oregon, and through the University of Oregon and Lane Community College. He also researches and teaches Italian medieval martial arts systems from original source materials, with a focus on Fiore dei Liberi’s Fior di Battaglia (Flower of Battle). This series of three manuscripts from Italy in 1409 were prepared for Nicollo d’Este III, ruler of the principalities of Ferrara and Modena. They teach empty hands, sword and staff techniques, and are a complete cognate martial arts system which represents the apotheosis of the combat arts of the medieval knight.
Maestro Hayes studied traditional Italian fencing at California’s San Jose State University Fencing Master’s Program, under the direction of fencing master Dr. William M. Gaugler. The program employs the system of instruction developed by Masaniello Parise, first director of the celebrated 19th century Military Masters School in Rome. Maestro Hayes apprenticed directly under Maestro Gaugler from 1995 to 1999, and earned his Fencing Master’s diploma in May of 1999 after passing a three-year series of written, oral and practical examinations, including the preparation of an academic thesis in the final year.
His examination for Master At Arms was conducted by an international board of 6 fencing masters representing the United States, France, and Italy. He is a member of the SJSU Fencing Masters Program Examining Board for all levels of fencing teachers, and is on the editorial board of Western Martial Arts Illustrated, a quarterly magazine covering historical European martial arts.