swordplay Archive

  • <p>So, I’m trawling through Cavalcabo’s fencing text <sup id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_6870_1" class="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text" onclick="footnote_moveToAnchor('footnote_plugin_reference_6870_1');">[1]</sup><span class="footnote_tooltip" id="footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_6870_1">the very influential translation by Villamont from Italian to French of Cavalcabo’s Treatise or Instruction on Fighting with Weapons (1597) and a similar essay by Patenostrier, available in English translation by Rob Runacres of the Renaissance Sword Club</span>	jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_6870_1").tooltip({		tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_6870_1",		tipClass: "footnote_tooltip",		effect: "fade",		fadeOutSpeed: 100,		predelay: 400,		position: "top right",		relative: true,		offset: [10, 10]	}); for nuggets of tactical advice. You know the sort of thing I mean, “always maintain the initiative,” “don’t  feint because smart fencers won’t fall for it and stupid ones won’t respond the way you  […]</p>

    Cavalcabo: Tactical Advice

    So, I’m trawling through Cavalcabo’s fencing text [1]the very influential translation by Villamont from Italian to French of Cavalcabo’s Treatise or Instruction on Fighting with Weapons (1597) and a similar essay by Patenostrier, available in English translation by Rob Runacres of the Renaissance Sword Club jQuery("#footnote_plugin_tooltip_5810_1").tooltip({ tip: "#footnote_plugin_tooltip_text_5810_1", tipClass: "footnote_tooltip", effect: "fade", fadeOutSpeed: 100, predelay: 400, position: "top right", relative: true, offset: [10, 10] }); for nuggets of tactical advice. You know the sort of thing I mean, “always maintain the initiative,” “don’t  feint because smart fencers won’t fall for it and stupid ones won’t respond the way you […]

  • <p>I’m trying to figure out the very influential translation by Villamont from Italian to French of Cavalcabo’s Treatise or Instruction on Fighting with Weapons (1597) and a similar essay by Patenostrier. This text is available in English translation by Rob Runacres of the Renaissance Sword Club.</p>
<p>The text is fairly straightforward but there are occasional sections which seem very dense and need some unpacking to understand what is being said. Here’s the second example I came across and what I did with it.</p>
<blockquote><p>“<strong>Against those who use feints</strong><br />
So you understand which things are counters to those who use </p></blockquote> […]

    Cavalcabo: Techniques Against Feints

    I’m trying to figure out the very influential translation by Villamont from Italian to French of Cavalcabo’s Treatise or Instruction on Fighting with Weapons (1597) and a similar essay by Patenostrier. This text is available in English translation by Rob Runacres of the Renaissance Sword Club.

    The text is fairly straightforward but there are occasional sections which seem very dense and need some unpacking to understand what is being said. Here’s the second example I came across and what I did with it.

    Against those who use feints
    So you understand which things are counters to those who use

    […]
  • <p>I’m back and I’m exploring the development of the French school between Henry de Sainct-Didier (1573), the first native fencing manual, and Charles Besnard (1653), the cementing of the French school in fencing with the foil.</p>
<p>To start, I’m trying to figure out the very influential translation by Villamont from Italian to French of Cavalcabo’s <span style="text-decoration: underline;">Treatise or Instruction on Fighting with Weapons</span> (1597) and a similar essay by Patenostrier. This text is available in English translation by Rob Runacres of the Renaissance Sword Club.</p>
<p>The text is fairly straightforward but there are occasional sections which seem very dense and need some unpacking  […]</p>

    Cavalcabo: Unpacking His Example Actions

    I’m back and I’m exploring the development of the French school between Henry de Sainct-Didier (1573), the first native fencing manual, and Charles Besnard (1653), the cementing of the French school in fencing with the foil.

    To start, I’m trying to figure out the very influential translation by Villamont from Italian to French of Cavalcabo’s Treatise or Instruction on Fighting with Weapons (1597) and a similar essay by Patenostrier. This text is available in English translation by Rob Runacres of the Renaissance Sword Club.

    The text is fairly straightforward but there are occasional sections which seem very dense and need some unpacking […]

  • <p>This is a translation of the section concerning how to step correctly in Henri de Sainct Didier’s Secrets of the Single Sword (1573). More sections of the text will be translated as time allows.</p>
<ul>
<li>Secrets of the Single Sword – Jeu de Paulme</li>
</ul>
<p>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  […]</p>

    Sainct Didier’s Comparison of Fencing and Tennis

    This is a translation of the section concerning how to step correctly in Henri de Sainct Didier’s Secrets of the Single Sword (1573). More sections of the text will be translated as time allows.

    • Secrets of the Single Sword – Jeu de Paulme

    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 […]

  • 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.

    Sainct Didier’s Drawing the Sword

    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.
  • <p>I’ve been reviewing my notes on both the sidesword and dusack techniques shown in Joachim Meyer‘s Art of Combat and a couple of key principles stand out. Master these and you’ve got the core of the single sword style he taught. This post outlines the core principles in a format from which a lesson plan could be developed.</p>
Core Principles
<p>Forget all the talk about the multitude of postures and cuts. The key is that you cut to attack and, for the most part, cut to defend.</p>
<p>Cuts are either vertical, horizontal or diagonal whether from above or below. When  […]</p>

    Learning Sidesword Fundamentals

    I’ve been reviewing my notes on both the sidesword and dusack techniques shown in Joachim Meyer‘s Art of Combat and a couple of key principles stand out. Master these and you’ve got the core of the single sword style he taught. This post outlines the core principles in a format from which a lesson plan could be developed.

    Core Principles

    Forget all the talk about the multitude of postures and cuts. The key is that you cut to attack and, for the most part, cut to defend.

    Cuts are either vertical, horizontal or diagonal whether from above or below. When […]

  • <p>The dusack is a remarkable weapon. It’s traditionally made of wood or leather (although some metal examples are known) and was used as a training weapon the the German schools of swordsmanship and the town guard in Eastern Europe to quell hordes of drunken revelers. The dusack fighting system outlined in Joachim Meyer’s Art of Combat (1570, tr. J. Forgeng) is bone-breakingly fast.</p>
<p>My question has always been where on earth did such an unusally shaped weapon come from? Then I stumbled across this.</p>
<p>Dusacks in Pennsylvania? Gangs of militant Amish keeping the law with quaintly decorated wooden swords?</p>
<p>The  […]</p>

    The Dusack’s Agricultural Origins

    The dusack is a remarkable weapon. It’s traditionally made of wood or leather (although some metal examples are known) and was used as a training weapon the the German schools of swordsmanship and the town guard in Eastern Europe to quell hordes of drunken revelers. The dusack fighting system outlined in Joachim Meyer’s Art of Combat (1570, tr. J. Forgeng) is bone-breakingly fast.

    My question has always been where on earth did such an unusally shaped weapon come from? Then I stumbled across this.

    Dusacks in Pennsylvania? Gangs of militant Amish keeping the law with quaintly decorated wooden swords?

    The […]

  • <p>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.</p>
<p><strong>The Approach</strong></p>
<p>In the German longsword schools, this is known as the <em>zufechten</em>. The fault can almost certainly be laid at  […]</p>

    Thoughts on Historical Fencing Tournaments

    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.

    The Approach

    In the German longsword schools, this is known as the zufechten. The fault can almost certainly be laid at […]

  • <p>There’s a lot of talk about at the moment about whether what we do is a martial art, martial sport, historical reconstruction or something else. To my mind, all of these missing the point and fail to address the most basic question – why use swords at all? There are three answers that I can see. </p>
<p>Modern schools of historical swordsmanship grew out of the thirty year old movement to reconstruct lost aspects of the western martial heritage and this remains the foundation of the practice. There’s still a huge amount of debate about what various masters meant by what  […]</p>

    Why swords?

    There’s a lot of talk about at the moment about whether what we do is a martial art, martial sport, historical reconstruction or something else. To my mind, all of these missing the point and fail to address the most basic question – why use swords at all? There are three answers that I can see.

    Modern schools of historical swordsmanship grew out of the thirty year old movement to reconstruct lost aspects of the western martial heritage and this remains the foundation of the practice. There’s still a huge amount of debate about what various masters meant by what […]

  • <p>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.</p>
<blockquote><p>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.</p>
<p>Puck will be available on Saturday and Sunday to run impromptu </p></blockquote> […]

    Puck Curtis will be at Swordplay 12

    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

    […]
  • <p>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.</p>
Drill 1: One Line – Half and Full Cuts
<p><strong>Version A</strong>: Half cut into Longpoint while stepping forward with right foot. Gather left foot while transitioning through hanging guard to cut again. Do  […]</p>

    Meyer’s Dussack Drills

    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 […]

  • <p>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.</p>
<p>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.</p>
<p>There’s Skill-at-Arms tourneys in three weapons systems this year: longsword, rapier and sidesword.</p>
<p>As always, there’s plenty of opportunities to meet other who share your passion for swords, fencing and history.</p>
<p>If you’re not at  […]</p>

    Here Comes Swordplay 2012

    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 […]

  • Swordplay 2012 is Australia's national gathering for period fencing and historical swordsmanship. The key events are Puck Curtis jetting in from the United States to teach a workshop on Spanish Destreza fencing and the Skill-At-Arms tournament. I've struggled long and hard with my conscience and finally taken the decision that I must do something dramatic to even the playing field at the tournament. So, here is the secret teachings of the Australian College of Arms. Use this knowledge wisely in your preparations for the event.

    Fencing Advice for Swordplay 2012

    Swordplay 2012 is Australia's national gathering for period fencing and historical swordsmanship. The key events are Puck Curtis jetting in from the United States to teach a workshop on Spanish Destreza fencing and the Skill-At-Arms tournament. I've struggled long and hard with my conscience and finally taken the decision that I must do something dramatic to even the playing field at the tournament. So, here is the secret teachings of the Australian College of Arms. Use this knowledge wisely in your preparations for the event.
  • This book fills me with nerd rage. It's such an arrogant and ill-informed Victorian age view of the history of fencing. The author is so thoroughly caught up with the nineteenth century idea of progress that he cannot see anything beyond what he wants to see. Sadly, the book is still the best history of fencing from the Middle Ages to the present day. Here's a sample:

    Review: Schools and Masters of Fencing

    This book fills me with nerd rage. It's such an arrogant and ill-informed Victorian age view of the history of fencing. The author is so thoroughly caught up with the nineteenth century idea of progress that he cannot see anything beyond what he wants to see. Sadly, the book is still the best history of fencing from the Middle Ages to the present day. Here's a sample:
  • <p>Henri de Sainct Didier outlines three basic postures: high, medium and low. This last has two variants. The high and medium postures seems to be untenable in any form of actual bout, be it sporting or deadly in intent. I believe that Sainct Didier intends them as defensive stances but cannot prove this from the text. These two postures are the outcomes of drawing one’s sword and stepping back with the right foot (see the <strong>Trois Desgainements</strong> below).</p>
<p>The only actions that I can make work from these postures (other than initiating the Six Strikes sequences) are defensive: parrying with  […]</p>

    Henri de Sainct Didier – Guards and Draws

    Henri de Sainct Didier outlines three basic postures: high, medium and low. This last has two variants. The high and medium postures seems to be untenable in any form of actual bout, be it sporting or deadly in intent. I believe that Sainct Didier intends them as defensive stances but cannot prove this from the text. These two postures are the outcomes of drawing one’s sword and stepping back with the right foot (see the Trois Desgainements below).

    The only actions that I can make work from these postures (other than initiating the Six Strikes sequences) are defensive: parrying with […]