The manuscript treatise by Giovan Antonio Lovino does not get the attention that it deserves. The two parts of this richly illuminated 16th century treatise have a number of original features that make it essential for a study of fencing in these times.
In this post, I share a rough plan of Thibault’s huge treatise intended to help navigate it.
This small article is a discussion of Viggiani’s advice on training with sharp swords, focusing on the differences between the modern and the historical context.
This post provides contrasting quotes about the two main modes of perception used in a sword fight, their properties and how they should be used. Comparing two historical approaches also gives some perspective on the tactical variety that can be encountered even in relatively close traditions that operated in the same context.
This post explores Ridolfo Capoferro’s advice about weapon length. Are the text and illustrations consistent? What measurements do they give? Are there original swords of such size?
George Silver is the famous author of an early printed work on fencing and martial arts in English, Paradoxes of Defence (1599). He is often quoted for having layed out universal principles in the form of his hierarchy of true and false times. Sadly, the most common interpretation of these does not fit the whole text. This post provides the necessary quotes to understand the causes and key properties of true and false times, which are in my opinion more interesting and less open to interpretation than the hierarchy itself.
This post explores the notion of speed in our sources, starting with the explicit admonitions to be quick, the reasons one needs to be quick, and then details the distortions to martial moves that are brought by low-speed work. I believe this information is important to keep in mind when discussing training methodology.
This article explores the history of the notion of centre of percussion, how it has been conceived by physicists and how it was then transmitted to sword people and modified to better suit their practical experience.
In the 16th century, cuts begin to be sorted according to the portion of the arm that moves while delivering the cut. This post explores the classification of cuts and the various tactical considerations that can be extracted from the source material.
How to move when cutting with a sword? While the question may seem simple, the answers are actually quite complex and diverse. In this post, I want to expose some things that can be found in sources to inform our cutting mechanics. This provides a starting point for experimentation, interpretation and training that is firmly grounded in history.