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This is a translation of the section concerning how to draw the sword in Henri de Sainct Didier's Secrets of the Single Sword (1573). More sections of the text will be translated as time allows. The translation is based on the transcription of the copy in the Library of the city of Blois (available at Bibliotheque Virtuelles Humanistes) made in 2010 by Olivier Depuis for l’Association pour la Recherche et le Développement des Arts Martiaux Historiques Européens. All amendments to the text made in the transcription have been assumed and are not noted here.
This is a translation of the section concerning how to draw the sword in Henri de Sainct Didier's Secrets of the Single Sword (1573). More sections of the text will be translated as time allows. The importance that Sainct Didier gives to drawing the sword is a puzzle that I believe is only resolved when the illustrations are considered literally. All the draws start with the opponents facing each other, feet together and hands on hilts. This does not suggest to me a military application but a civilian and social setting, whether a judicial duel, duel of honour of friendly competition.
This is my translation of the defenses and counters outlined in Day Two of Giovanni Dall'Agocchie’s On The Art of Fencing. I’ve simplified and condensed drastically to discover the basic bio-mechanic movements behind the the vast catalogue of Italian terminology. Bolognese scholars are free to think this post sacrilege.
I’ve finished Days One and Two of Giovanni Dall’Agocchie’s On the Art of Fencing and I’ve got some notes and observations to share. And I’ve got to say I’m terrified of making my little contribution to the field public given the amount and depth of study others have put into the Bolognese tradition.
I’m just a simple swordsman and I reckon that learning from the sources can give me an edge over others I bout with. This may mean I look at the tradition from a slightly different angle and it may help beginners unravel some of its intricacies.
This post marks the end of my investigations into A Tract on the Single Sword of Henri de Sainct Didier (1573), another member of Club 1570. I’m presenting here my notes on his sidesword technique (PDF) for public appraisal. Any and all feedback is gratefully appreciated.
- Summary of Henri de Sainct Didier’s Sidesword Lessons (PDF)
My initial thoughts were pretty much correct. The text is a series of lesson plans rather than a coherent sword combat system. Sainct Didier is all about training young courtiers rather than warriors.
There’s little in the way of description of the stages of […]
I’m well known for my support of bouting and tournaments within the historical fencing community. If you are unwilling to test your skill at arms in a competitive environment, you need to find another hobby or, at least, drop the pretense of studying a martial art. However, for all the fantastic effort being put into making tournaments work at the moment, there’s a number of factors which I believe have not been considered or not properly thought through.
In the German longsword schools, this is known as the zufechten. The fault can almost certainly be laid at […]
Scott McDonald, principal of the Australia College of Arms and convenor of Swordplay 12, dropped this on the Queensland Living History Federation‘s facebook page. I was planning on posting about this but he beat me to the punch.
Puck Curtis, one of the world’s most respected historic swordplay researchers, will as part of Swordplay’ 12 present for the first time in public never before seen in English instructions on Spanish Sword and Dagger combat. His formal workshop scheduled for Friday 7th September will cover this material over 6 hours.
Puck will be available on Saturday and Sunday to run impromptu
While I haven’t finished with Henri de Sainct Didier yet, I’ve started reading the dussack chapter of Joachim Meyer’s Art of Combat. It starts with a brilliant series of exercises which can be applied to any single-handed cutting sword technique. These are my notes on the drills with all the original terms retained. If you can, get a copy of the text and practice this stuff.Drill 1: One Line – Half and Full Cuts
Version A: Half cut into Longpoint while stepping forward with right foot. Gather left foot while transitioning through hanging guard to cut again. Do […]
The Australian College of Arms (ACA) runs an annual gathering in September of historical and period swordsmanship which brings together competitors and participants from all over this wide brown land. Swordplay 2012 is destined to be the biggest and best.
This year Swordplay 2012 features the return of Puck Curtis from the Destreza Translation and Research Project to run a workshop in Spanish rapier fencing.
There’s Skill-at-Arms tourneys in three weapons systems this year: longsword, rapier and sidesword.
As always, there’s plenty of opportunities to meet other who share your passion for swords, fencing and history.
If you’re not at […]
An simple but surprisingly effective set of rapier bouting rules spontaneously emerged from training last week. While it seems to owe a lot of the Belgian Guild Tournament Rules for longsword, nothing was further from our minds when we came up with them. I’ll outline the rules before describing their creation – which I find just as interesting.
The ABC Rapier Bout Rules cover what is essentially a game of tag with swords. Start with two players in an arena of some kind (we use a section of a basketball court). The rest of the players and any spectators stand
Unlike Joachim Meyer, Henri de Sainct Didier says little about his concept of the fight and how to approach or conduct it. There is rarely anything that appears to be explicit tactical advice in his text. However, there are several oblique references from which we can deduce something of the fight he envisioned.
Swordplay is compared to sport. In Sainct Didier’s view, a good jeu de paulme (the handball forerunner of tennis) player has the physicality necessary and general concept of movement (fore-hand and back-hand) to make a decent fencer. Is this only a comment on the degree of athleticism […]
Agrippa's Treatise on the Science of Arms (1553) doesn't quite make the cut for Club 1570 (my personal interest in later sixteenth century sidesword) but he remains an important factor in the understanding of the world and mindset of fencers of the period. An civil engineer by trade, Agrippa broke with the so-called medieval traditions of fencing still extant in his life. He de-constructed the art of the sword and rebuilt it as a science on firm geometric principles. Some believe that his work may be the inspiration for the geometry of the Spanish sword art known as La Verdadera Destreza. I need to revisit Agrippa's work at some point. I've learned a lot since I wrote these posts and I can see there's plenty more to learn within the text.
This post marks the start of my investigation into A Tract on the Single Sword of Henri de Sainct Didier (1573), another member of Club 1570. Like my look at Joachim Meyer’s rapier technique, there is likely to be a bunch of posts working through different aspects of his swordplay style culminating in a PDF which presents my interpretation of them. I’ll be relying on the facsimilie text of the treatise available at the Raymond J. Lord Collection of Historical Combat Manuals and Fencing Treatises rather than the translation by Preston and Wilson which I’m not at […]
Last time, I looked briefly at what Giovanni Dall'Agocchie has to say in his On the Art of Fencing (1572) about teaching a complete newcomer in thirty days how to survive a duel. The simple technique he describes covers enough situations to be effective for a beginner. However, he says, if given more time, he'd teach the student a second guard. This post looks at his advice for that guard, coda lunga stretta. Together with this guard position, the porta di ferro discussed last time and Dall'Agocchie's advice on how to use them forms a solid core for any one interested in cut-and-thrust historical swordplay. A right-handed fencer is assumed.
I'm making a side trip into the rapier fencing technique of Giovanni Dall'Agocchie as outlined in his On the Art of Fencing (1572). He's considered the last writer within the Dardi School of rapier fencing. The book has a fascinating little section on how to teach a complete novice within thirty days enough skill and technique to allow him or her to survive a duel. His advice is extremely useful to anyone interested in cut-and-thrust swordplay.