English Rapier Timeline

I was revisiting my article I wrote for Tournaments Illuminated on the London Masters of Defence, and I got to thinking that a timeline setting the developments in rapier in Europe alongside the developments in rapier in England might be a good idea, it would give people an idea of what types of fencing manuals would be available to an English fencer at different times. For this I was aided by the lists of fencing manuals kept by both ARMA and Jared Kirby. I ignored the manuals that didn’t involve fencing, so that would be any manuals that focused purely on wrestling or horsemanship.

What I learned is that the early use of Rapier in England (such as the exhibition matches before Edward VI) would likely have been more like longsword combat utilizing a rapier (or rather what we’d call a sidesword) or would be similar to Manciolino or Marozzo; while the formal teaching of the rapier under the London Masters of Defence (1568 and later) would have been closer to Agrippa and later DiGrassi and Dall’Agocchie. It would be interesting to compare Agrippa and DiGrassi as it would likely show the difference between the teaching of the Rapier for the yeoman class and the gentleman class. The yeoman class would likely still be using modified longsword techniques as well as Agrippa and Marozzo while the gentry, being taught by Bonetti and other Italian fencing masters, would have been using the newer techniques from DiGrassi and Dall’Agocchie earlier. By the time Silver is complaining about the use of the rapier in England the manuals of choice were likely from the later manuals such as DiGrassi, Meyer, de Sainct Didier, Dall’Agocchie, Viggiani, Ghisliero, Lovino, and perhaps even Carranza, in addition of course to Saviolo. Swetnam’s teaching however would likely have been closer to Fabris’ manual than even Saviolo’s work.


Early Tudor Rapier

I wrote this article for Tournaments Illuminated and it was recently published in Issue 200, Fourth Quarter 2016 p.15-19. Early Tudor Rapier: The teaching of the rapier in London before 1580 by the Masters of Defence examines the history of the rapier in Tudor England and how early it was accepted by the Read more…

CASBa Rapier Tourney

This post was about to be titled:

What I Learned From Watching My Fencing in the Tir Righ CASBa Rapier Tourney

But I figured that wouldn’t work well for a link.  If you’re wondering how the A&S portion was it was great.  I had a lot of fun judging a food entry and got to judge a bardic entry for the first time.  Now back to the Rapier.

So this is going to be my reactions as I watch my fighting on Don Godfrey’s videos.  His YouTube account is here: https://www.youtube.com/user/godvonrav.


Swetnam Ch. 12 The manners of a passage

This is part of an ongoing project to summarize and provide SCA focused commentary on The Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence by Joseph Swetnam, published in 1617.

For links to the other sections of the Swetnam Project please go here.

I am using this facsimile: http://tysonwright.com/sword/SwetnamSchooleOfDefence.pdf for the project.

Here is the third part of this section in Chapter 12.

The manners of a passage.

When making a passing lunge (Swetnam calls this a passage) you must be fast, nimble, and focused.  It is a dangerous attack as it brings you very close to your opponents weapon, and is more dangerous the more skilled your opponent is.  To counteract the innate danger in this lunge you must be skillful, have practiced, and have good judgement, especially in knowing where your opponents weapon is.  You must make your passing lunge as fast as possible, as soon as you see an opening with your opponents sword high you need to step forward with your left foot quickly, and parry your opponents weapon with your dagger, pushing it up and out of the way at the same time that you attack with your rapier.  Your parry and attack must happen at the same time rather than as two actions or it will be too slow.  The passing lunge is most effective if your opponent likes to stay in the same guard, but is more dangerous if he moves from guard to guard frequently.


On Practice

Randy over at Box Wrestle Fence had a great post today – granted they’re all great, and what are you doing reading my blog, his is much better go read it – but within today’s was a brief reminder about the same thing Swetnam and every other period master talked Read more…