The term Man At Arms is one that goes back several centuries. It was probably first used in the era when gentlemen were also skilled swordsmen. Sadly, it has fallen out of use in modern times. But, in this time of a legally armed citizenry, we really ought to bring it back into service. It denotes a way of acting, an attitude, a manner of conducting one's life and business.
The modern Man At Arms is skilled with all manner of firearms and personal-defense tools. He may not win every shooting match, but he will score closer to the top than to the bottom. His guns may not always be fancy, but they will be well cared for and in good condition. Any modifications will be done out of a real need, not a fad. Men at arms don't do fads.
The modern Man At Arms has seen violence, but he doesn't like violence. He avoids it, if at all possible. However, he lives in a real world and knows that violence may stalk him and his own. He is prepared to deal with violence in a quick, effective manner, making those who would bring the violence wish that they were somewhere else and doing something less...well...violent.
Since he is not a follower of fads, the Man At Arms appreciates the value of old-time manners. Ladies are ladies and men are gentlemen, until proven otherwise. Manners to the modern Man At Arms also means that he is not braggadocious, nor does he strut around like a fighting cock and try to act tough. People will find out how tough he is when he is forced to act tough, not before.
We have any number of men in our recent history who clearly qualified as Men At Arms. Gen. George Patton, Capt. Frank Hamer and Ranger Joaquin Jackson quickly come to mind. I would also put Col. Rex Applegate and Col. Jeff Cooper in that category. All of these men were as at home at a social function as they were in a fight. They were men that you simply did not trifle with.
You can undoubtedly think of other examples, some well-known and others just regular folks. I am pleased to be associated with quite a number of men, any of whom would easily qualify as a Man At Arms. Bart Skelton, Richard Mann, Clint Smith and Rich Grassi are four that quickly come to mind. Our young people would do well to model themselves after men like these.
Man At Arms is not a title that one awards to himself. It is a goal that we should all strive for.