Historical Weapon Study Group

Historical Weapons
2:30 pm

Every Sunday from

January 4, 2015

This study group will consist of Italian Longsword and Bolognese Sidesword sessions alternating weekly.

Longsword of Fiore dei Liberi – 1st and 3rd Sundays, 2:30 – 3:00 pm

“The sword against any weapon is deadly, no spear, no poll-axe, no dagger can counter me.  Long or short I can bind and enter into close play entering to take the sword and to wrestle.”  Fiore dei Liberi, Fior di Battaglia

This study group will explore the use of the longsword depicted in the manuscripts of Fiore dei Liberi, a fifteenth century mercenary who wrote a text called Il Fior de Battaglia, the Flower of Battle.  Fiore’s text is a manuscript for the art of battle, including two-handed sword, one-handed sword, grappling, dagger, pole-axe, and mounted combat.

We will develop proper structure and movement learning the guards (poste), steps, and turns used in Fiore’s system.  We will transition into use of the crossings of the longsword, binds, and work with both long and short plays (zhogo).  We will primarily be referring to the Getty manuscript (one of four surviving versions of Fiore’s work) with occasional reference to secondary sources for other authors’ interpretations.

Fiore’s work is structured by the description of various plays, which show specific techniques for various situations that, when mastered, show a practical approach to surviving in the mayhem of a battlefield.  We will concentrate almost exclusively on the plays of the two-handed sword, although other plays may be brought in for comparison or application of concepts of distance, flow, and developing structure.

Equipment necessary for attending the study group will include a heavy fencing mask and appropriate hand protection for positioning work, footwork drills, and controlled plays.  As basic skills are developed and we start to transition into less structured drilling, we will need to move to appropriate longsword sparring gear (gambeson, arm protection, leg protection, back of head protection). The club has a limited number of club weapons and gauntlets available.

Bolognese Sidesword – 2nd and 4th Sundays, 2:30-3:00 pm

“If you receive a hit while hitting your opponent, your glory would be naught, since this would make you simultaneously the victor and the vanquished. Do not, therefore, share your victory with the opponent, and do not let him share his shame with you.” Antonio Mancioliono, 1531

This bi-weekly study group explores the history of this tradition, the basics of the art – including footwork, the guards, the parries, and the cuts – and (eventually) more complex techniques and sparring. We will begin with the sidesword alone and then explore the sidesword and buckler. We currently study from The Complete Renaissance Swordsman: A Guide to the Use of All Manner of Weapons, Tom Leoni’s translation of Antonio Manciolino’s Opera Nova from 1531. Eventually, we will also explore Marozzo, the “Anonymous Bolognese” and other sources.

Requirements: Currently at SIF, students may attend study groups once they have completed one of the beginning and intermediate classes and joined the club.  You can learn the basics, including footwork, guards, and solo blade work with a mask and gloves. However, for sparring, weapon-appropriate gear, such as heavy mask, jacket or gambeson, gloves or gauntlets, back of the head protection, and gorget are required. The club has a limited number of club weapons and masks available.

Ages: 15 and up

Free to Club Members

"Furthermore, please note that every motion of the sword is a guard to the knowledgeable fencer, and all guards are useful to the experienced man; conversely, no motion is a guard to the ignorant, and no guard is effective for someone who does not know how to use it."
Nicoletto Giganti