Lynn Thompson - Master at Arms
In September 2010 Lynn Thompson received an award unlike any other.
There are very few people who have dedicated their lives to martial arts in the way that Lynn has. Training with some of the worlds top exponents of the martial arts for well over 25 years, his punishing training schedule sees him studying diligently with private instructors for a minimum of 14 hours a week, every week, year in and year out.
As Lynn's skill and martial prowess has grown, so have the awards and accolades that he has been given.
However, for hundreds of years, no-one has received anything quite like this award.
The traditionally established version of the Master at Arms Degree is a rare qualification at the best of times. It refers to an unprecedented knowledge of weapons on the behalf of the recipient, and for well over a hundred years it has only been given as an honorific title to learned academics.
Lynn's passion for researching martial arts and the history of combat has certainly given him the knowledge to attain this degree, but this interpretation of the Master at Arms qualification (closer to the true origin of the award) is something all together more martial in nature.
In order to qualify, one must have the unrivalled knowledge of weaponry expected from the academic, but also to be proficient in the use of the weapons that he is so knowledgeable about.
In other words, in order to receive this award, the recipient must be a Master of all weapons!
As Anthony DeLongis put it:
In the golden era of Western martial arts, the age of knights and chivalry, it was the tradition to train the warrior in every weapon he was likely to encounter in battle.
This included (but was not exclusive to) sword, axe, dagger, lance, staff, spear, archery, mace, club, as well as “found” weapons of opportunity, both rigid and flexible. Only those whose dedication was absolute could ever hope to achieve the rank of Master at Arms.
So, in acknowledgement of his tested and proven skills across all weapons (from his own empty hands to all edged weapons and projectiles) this group of highly skilled and world renowned martial artists surprised Lynn with a truly unique award, the Master at Arms Degree.
The award was given during the annual Cold Steel Challenge in Ventura and in front of hundreds of fighters who had gathered to compete and test their martial skills. Each Instructor delivered a speech describing why Lynn deserved this unique award, and this was met with great applause from the assembled fighters.
When I set up Cold Steel I decided that I would become highly skilled with every product we sell. I dedicated my life to studying martial arts and to studying weapons.
I decided that when I was tested I would not be found wanting.
I wanted to be like fine Irish crystal, when I was struck I would ring true!
It's a huge honour to be given this Master at Arms Degree by people I respect so highly. Thank you.
Ron Balicki has a truly unprecedented martial arts lineage.
A world renowned and highly sought after Instructor, he is an vastly accomplished and high ranking martial artist in a diverse range of arts including: Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Kali, Maphilindo Silat, Lameco Escrima, Wing Chun Gung Fu ,Thai Boxing, Indonesian Silat, Shoot Wrestling, Savate, The Degerberg Blend and Latigo “Y” Daga (Whip and Dagger fighting).
Ron has trained all over the world, fought professionally in Japan and taught military and law enforcement personnel across several continents. In addition to this, Ron has served as an officer in the Cook County Sheriff"s Department, and continues to assist police agencies in the United States to improve their martial arts techniques.
He has been Lynn's instructor (in a multitude of martial arts) for the last 12 years.
“Lynn constantly makes his training uncomfortable.
Some people like to shine, but Lynn likes to get to the ugly part. He likes to make his training tough!
He's physically very fast and his visual speed is probably the fastest I've ever witnessed.
He's an incredibly dedicated martial artist and he never misses a workout, he's devoted his life to becoming a warrior ”.
Anthony DeLongis has been a student of the bladed arts for over 40 years, mastering styles that include the European (Italian / French / Spanish Rapier and Dagger, Broadsword, Small Sword, Saber and Axe, Japanese Katana and various Filipino martial arts.
Celebrated creator of the “DeLongis Loop” - an efficient, effective and more combative style of whip artistry that works at multiple ranges. He was also inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame in 2008 (as Weapons Instructor of the Year) and the Knife Throwers Hall of Fame in 2009.
He has been training Lynn (in Western Swordsmanship and the use of the Combative Whip) for the last 8 years
“I've been Lynn's sword teacher and training partner for many years.
We put to the test the practicality of fighting methods and techniques from every historical training manual we can find with a specificity, intensity and depth of exploration I've never found anywhere else in over forty years of my own sword arts training.
It is my pleasure and privilege to help Lynn forge his own path to practical knowledge in the European bladed arts while at the same time enjoying a workout partner whose intensity and skill set is unsurpassed”.
Luke LaFontaine has been training across a variety of martial arts for the last 32 years.
Studying Aikido, Seido Karate, Northern Shaolin Kung Fu, Kendo and Shinkendo.
Luke coined Lynn's nickname “Moto Abunai” (meaning “very dangerous”) which is written in Kanji script on the Master At Arms scroll.
Luke has been Lynn's Japanese Sword coach and training partner for the last 5 years
“Working with Lynn is a series of constant epiphanies. Not only is he incredibly gifted as a martial artist, he is able to make connections between the martial theory and physical techniques. His undying dedication to training and self improvement are the embodiment of the warrior spirit.”
Jason Heck is nationally rated Fencer, proficient with Eppee, Saber and Foil.
With a background in Tae Kwon Do and Karate, he taught civilians and law enforcement professionals alike until he took up fencing in 2002. Jason soon rose to an exceptional standard. He opened his own successful Fencing School in Alabama, and was selected for the United States Fencing Association's National Championships in 2010.
Jason has trained with Lynn (teaching Rapier, Small Sword, Saber and Civilian Saber) for the last 7 years.
“Lynn trains for hours, every single day in order to achieve martial perfection.
He isn't satisfied with knowing just one weapon or style or form, he thirsts to master them all!
I believe his unquenchable desire to be the best is why Lynn Thompson deserves to be a Master At Arms.”
Dave Wheeler is a world renowned firearms expert.
An Instructor for the LAPD for 25 years, Dave has also taught firearms and tactics for the State Department's ATAP (Anti-Terrorist Assistance Program) and The Federal Air Marshalls. Dave has trained elite special forces personnel at Fort Bragg as well as numerous V.I.P and close protection professionals.
Dave has been Lynn's pistol shooting for self-defence instructor for the last 6 years.
“Lynn is extremely good with big bore handguns, especially the Casull.
He can hit a 4” target at 150-200 yards consistently, and he can do it all day!
He can shoot accurately with those guns for hours without developing a flinch.
I've never seen anyone better than Lynn Thompson.”
Vic Pickett is one of the world's foremost competition shooters, finishing in the top ten in every major revolver shooting championship since 1994.
A legend in his field, Vic has won numerous State, Sectional, and Regional Championships. He finished 3rd four times and 4th three times in the Open Revolver Division of the Steel Challenge World Speed Shooting Championships. He also finished 2nd in the ICORE International Revolver Championships an astounding thirteen times!
Vic has been Captain of Team ADCO since 1994 and has held a seat on the ICORE Board of Directors since 1996.
He has known Lynn since 2007.
“The list of people that possess the skills and accomplishments with firearms that Lynn has is a short one. There are few people in my life that I have greater respect for than Lynn, he lives his life with the heart and mindset of a true Warrior.”
James Houston is multi-award winning Martial Artist. Highly skilled in Karate, Aikijitsu, Jujitsu and Kung Fu, he is perhaps best known as a Chinese Weaponry expert, particularly his skills with the Jian Sword, Broad Sword, Butterfly Sword, Sword Breaker, Fighting Iron, Weighted Chain and Kwong Iron Pipes.
James has been a weapons instructor for over 20 years and has taught Special Forces and Law Enforcement personnel.
James has trained with Lynn (predominantly with Eastern and Western weapons) for approximately 6 years.
“Lynn Thompson is a true modern warrior in every sense. He has made a lifelong study of martial arts and continues to train and learn so that he can continue to seek to obtain a more perfect skill-set every day.
He finds the best of the best to train with, and has the most vast Grandmaster-level weapon skill set of anyone I know.
He reminds me of a passage from Hagakure, the book of the Samurai:
Throughout your life, advance daily, becoming more skilful than yesterday, more skilful than today. This is never-ending”.
Russell Seveney is a 5th Dan Black Belt in Hapkido and Tae Kwon Do. He has also trained in Ishin Ryu, Kung Fu, Moo Duk Kwon-TKD, Boxing, Fencing, Shoot Wrestling and Escrima.
He has competed in numerous Martial Arts events varying from Karate tournaments and Power Breaking competitions to our own Cold Steel Challenge.
With a wealth of experience, Russell blends his diverse and eclectic martial arts knowledge with techniques learned as an Unarmed Protection Specialist and Security Professional
Russell has been Lynn's “mechanics” coach (working on body mechanics and stand-up fighting) for 3 years
“This award is an acknowledgement of Lynn's command of all things Martial – empty hands as well as weapons.
I believe Lynn should receive this award not just based on his many years of training but but his hunger to seek out world-class instruction and his constant desire to better himself.”