The Association for Historical Fencing has developed a system of classification pertaining to the history of fencing based on the various periods in the development of the art. These time periods are somewhat artificial classifications used to facilitate discussion, just as we may speak of vague periods such as “the Middle Ages” and “the Modern Era.” Styles and weapons did not, of course, abruptly change from one time period to the next, just as other artifacts of human culture do not undergo sudden transformations. Rather, weapons, styles, and techniques overlapped within each era. Nonetheless, the different eras of the development of fencing have their own distinct characteristics and can clearly be distinguished from each other. Comprehension of these developments and their ramifications is necessary for an informed practice.