Saviolo Test

Well I tested out some of  Saviolo’s style last night.  I worked on the following aspects:

  • Wards
    • High: Prima& Unicorn
    • Low: Right and Left
  • Voiding
  • Hand parries
  • Compass steps
  • Thrusts
    • Imbroccata
    • Stoccata
    • Punta Riversa
  • Cuts
    • Mandritta
    • Riverso
    • Fendente Stramazone

I am not a Saviolo scholar, I just worked on it a bit and am attempting to put what I read into practice.  Some of this may be wrong or I may have been preforming them wrong, but that’s just part of learning.

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Fencing Styles

Nearly everyone in the Lower Mainland fencing community fights similarly.  In fact most of Tir Righ fights similarly.  It’s often refered to as Tir Righ Standard.  It’s effective, it’s safe, it’s defended, and it’s worked well for a lot of fighters.  This is how we teach new fighters.  It’s how we retrain fighters who are doing poorly.  This style is ingrained in us.  At Investiture the other week Master Guido was commenting to another fighter, one of the very few who fight differently, that as most of the people fight the same here you can use the same techniques to defeat almost all of them.  And he’s right.  Everyone is used to fighting same style vs. same style.  We’re becoming a little stagnate in our style.  We found one that generally works for most people, and are sticking to it.  And it is a good general style.  It melds clasical and period fencing, and allows for variation and experimentation within a construct.  But if you face 1/2 of the fencers in Tir Righ you have a general concept of what they are going to do and how they are going to fight.

And it’s so ingrained that when I was trying out something a little different I had someone adjust my entire style about a 1/2 hour before a tournament… I did very poorly in that tournament.  Immediately before a tournament is not the time to make sweeping changes.  But the bigger issue is that other styles of fencing are not seen as “different” but “wrong”.  What really got me thinking was this post: http://classicalfencing.blogspot.com/2011/03/gorilla-tactics.html at a clasical fencing blog I read.  It brought up the idea that maybe we need to examine why we do what we do.

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Academic Rapier

I currently have a lack of both time and money, which makes it difficult for me to attend more than my local practice for fencing.  What I do have is a lot of time for reading while on the train.  So, similarly to what I did when I decided to learn more about bread making I picked up some books.

The first one had very little to do with rapier: Warrior to Soldier, 449-1660.  It’s a history of warfare in England from the Saxons right through to the New Model Army.  It’s a great overview for anyone in the SCA with an English persona.  It helped me to understand the rapiers position in England, as that of a day to day sidearm.  I knew that it wasn’t a military weapon, but to see the evolution of the military sword and armour was very enlightening.  Though the rapier came to prominence in England, the decrease in armour was actually because of the firearm.  I always figured that firearms in general brought about the change in armour, but it wasn’t actually until the advent of the musket (which at the time was so heavy it needed a prop) that armour became useless.  The first muskets allowed a half trained man to kill someone in the heaviest armour who had been trained from childhood.  Although new armour was designed that could withstand a musket shot, it was so heavy that it required a man to be on horseback, and slow.  It was useless on the ground, and couldn’t be used to protect the horse as it was too heavy.  So if the cavalry had the bulletproof breast plates on their horses were still vulnerable, and the musketeers just aimed for the horses instead.  The armour was so heavy that people refused to wear it.  They would rather wear little armour and be fast.

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