Sensei Knowles


Thomas Knowles is the Director of Martial Arts/Theatrical Combat at Collierville Arts Academy. He has been teaching people how to wield weapons since 1991. He conducts historical padded weapons courses and modern fencing programs for young and old, male and female. As Director of Martial Arts at CAA, Mr. Knowles is a Black Sash.

Professionally, he is the Professor of Fencing at the University of Memphis and directs the fencing programs at Christian Brothers High School (Memphis) while operating his own weapons courses in Collierville. He is a member of the US Fencing Association, US Fencing Coaches Association, and the US Chanbara Federation. In the summer of 2011, Mr. Knowles traveled to Reno, NV for the 2011 National Fencing Championships where he did extremely well. View an article about this here.

He also works with actors on swordfight sequences and choreography. Most recently, Mr. Knowles was called upon to choreograph the pivotal swordfight scene in the University of Memphis production of Don Giovanni.

As co-owner of Collierville Arts Academy, Mr. Knowles teaches music arts programs as well as the sword arts. As a musician he has played piano, french horn, trumpet, and guitar. After studying classical guitar under John Stover and then Lily Afshar at the University of Memphis, Mr. Knowles earned a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis on Recording Technology. He has worked as a recording engineer in the music industry, a video editor for commercial production houses, and editor for live broadcast news. His theatre background is extensive and includes work on productions for high schools, colleges, and universities. He has also worked in outdoor theatre with productions of Blue Jacket and Annie Get Your Gun in Xenia, Ohio. Also, he is an accomplished Christian worship leader and singer/songwriter.

He feels truly blessed to be married for almost eighteen years to an incredible lady and is the father of four exceptional children.

In addition to actively competing in the Modern Fencing arena, Mr. Knowles may also be found in the community demonstrating the historical authenticity and modern concepts that make up fighting with an edged weapon. If you are interested in having a lecture or demonstration on the sport of Modern Fencing or Historical Swordfighting, please contact Mr. Knowles.

Past public appearances featuring the Sword Arts have included:

  •     Westminster School: Demo at Medieval Fest
  •     St George's School: Demo
  •     Sheraton Casino: as Robin Hood
  •     Pink Palace Museum: Demo
  •     Woodland Presbyterian Day School: Demo
  •     Macon Hall Elementary School : Demo
  •     Presbyterian Day School : Demo
  •     Grace-St. Luke's Canterbury Festival: Demo
  •     Malco Theatres: as Zorro
  •     Southaven, MS Public Library: Demo
  •     Memphis University School for Boys: Demo
  •     Lausanne Collegiate School: Demo
  •     The National Ornamental Metal Museum: Demo
  •     Colonial Hills Church: Sermon Demo
• 369 Distribution Parkway • Collierville, TN 38017 • Questions?  • 901-861-7001