I`m taking classes again. Sword classes. It`s good to be on the receiving end of lessons once more and I`m having a blast. And remember kids, any instructor who can`t see the value of being a student as well should be avoided at all costs. At the end of last class we had an open sparring session and even though I had more than a few great passes, two fights in particular stood out as being particularly excellent. Continue reading
“There are those who affect to ridicule the study of obsolete weapons, alleging that it is of no practical use; everything, however, is useful to the Art of Fence which tends to create an interest in it, and certain it is that such contests as Rapier and Dagger, Two hand Sword, or Broadsword and Handbuckler, are a very great embellishment to the somewhat monotonous proceedings of the ordinary assault of arms.”
-Alfred Hutton, 1892
Happy Victoria Day everyone. It seems fitting that on this day celebrating the reign of Queen Victoria I share a celebration of a Victorian gentleman of great import to the Western Martial Arts world. One Alfred Hutton. Continue reading
I made something of an ironic point last week when talking about the rapier. And now I’m going to spoil any hint of cleverness by calling attention to it. You see, if George Silver is known for anything these days it’s for hating the “Italianated” Rapier yet I used his Universal Governors as a reason to teach it.
It’s not often these days that you’ll see me practicing Italian Rapier. Lately, though, I find myself drawn to it and feeling the need to study my Capoferro once again. A big part of that is that I have been giving much thought to the ideal sword to first pick up. I often consider what sword style is the best to teach someone who has no previous training and for a multitude of reasons I keep turning to Capoferro’s Rapier. I have no doubt that there as many opinions on this subject as there are instructors, but I thought I would lay out my reasons for starting new students on this particular brand of swordplay. Continue reading
The Renaissance was a fascinating time for swordplay. This is in part because of the fact that so many fencing manuals survive from this era, but also because in the late 16th century we see the first truly civilian swords. Prior to this time duels were fought only with consent of local rulers and therefore the grievances were primarily of a legal nature. Due to this fact, the weapons used were generally the same that would be used in battle, complete with full armour. Since these Trials by Combat were set up well in advance, it was alright that plenty of gear was required before fighting could commence. Once people began to use the duel as a method of settling personal disagreements it became impractical to carry so much equipment and the swords changed to reflect this. Thus the rapier became the preferred weapon of the civilian classes. Continue reading