My interest in the Italian rapier tradition continues to grow. In this post, I’m simply pointing you to a couple of videos from Tom Leoni, one of the guiding lights promoting this style of swordplay, taken at WMAW 2009 and posted to YouTube by Drake919. Pay close attention to these videos and you’ll learn the core of the Italian tradition.
The Italians turned away from a cutting style of swordplay way back in the days when two-handed (or hand-and-a-half) longswords were the common civilian and military weapon. The new style they adopted focussed on keeping steel between you and your opponents and the pointy bit always aimed at them. They soon realised that a lighter weapon was quicker and more maneuveurable than a longsword yet retained the ability to keep the point on-line, as we say. Over about a century, swords became thinner and lighter and the techniques they used changed to match and take advantage of the new weaponry. Gone were the large movements involved in swinging a 40+ inch blade with both hands in favour of a technique which relies on much quicker thrusts, geomoetry and blade angulation.
(But don’t think I’m going to get drawn into the stupid, stupid debate about cutting versus thrusting weapons.)
Here are the videos. They run 25 minutes in total.