- Italian school of swordsmanship
The term Italian school of
swordsmanshipis used to describe the Italian style of fencing and edged-weapon combat from the time of the first extant Italian swordsmanship treatise (1409) to the days of Classical Fencing (up to 1900). Although the weapons and the reason for their use changed dramatically throughout these five centuries, a few fundamental traits have remained constant in the Italian school. Some of these are the preference for certain guards, the preoccupation with time (or "tempo") in fencing as well as many of the defensive actions.
The earliest known Italian treatise on swordsmanship and other martial arts is the "
Flos Duellatorum" written by Fiore dei Liberiaround 1409. Fiore's treatise describes an advanced martial arts system of grappling, dagger, short sword, longsword, pollaxe, and spear. Another important treatise, " De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi", was written by Filippo Vadi sometime between 1482 and 1487. Although different, Vadi's work appears to be based upon Fiore's earlier work.
The 16th century saw the publication of various works generally focused on the so-called "cut & thrust" sword, although these works often contained significant instruction on other weapons. A general survey of the 16th century Italian manuals shows instruction for the following weapon or weapon combinations in at least one published manual:
*Sword and Small
*Sword and Broad Buckler
*Sword and Targa
*Sword and Rotella
*Sword for Two Hands (also referred to as the Spadone by some masters)
*Dagger and Cape
*Partisan and Shield
*Unarmed against Dagger
The most significant group of authors from this time were those from the Bolognese school and it included such masters as
Achille Marozzo, Antonio Manciolino, Angelo Viggianiand Giovanni dall'Agocchie. However, there were other Italian authors not directly associated with the Bolognese school including Camillo Agrippa(who has the distinction of codifying the four guards (prima, seconda, terza and quarta) that survive to this day), Giacomo di Grassiwho wrote a manual in 1570 which was translated into English in the 1590s.
With the 17th century came the popularity of the rapier and a new century of masters, including
Salvator Fabris, Ridolfo Capo Ferro, and Francesco Antonio Marcelli. Unlike the manuals of the previous century, those written for in the 17th century were generally restricted to covering only the rapier being used alone or with a companion arm (such as the dagger, cloak or rotella). By the end of the 17th century, the manuals begin to take on a more classical character in both the terminology and the presentation of the techniques.
Although there is a considerable gap in extant Italian treatises, between 1696 and 1800, we can see from the earliest 19th Century treatises that the style had changed very little during that period. The only changes were the addition of certain techniques suitable for the somewhat lighter blades of the dueling swords typically used in 1800 as compared to the rapiers typical for the end of the 1600s (compare the techniques presented by
Bondì di Mazoin his 1696 manual with those in the 1803 manual of Giuseppe Rosaroll-Scorzaand Pietro Grisetti). Even at the beginning of 19th century techniques for coming to grips were still being taught and the use of the dagger as an accompanying weapon was still discussed (although not as a prominent and popular choice).
By the end of the 19th century, the immediate ancestor of modern fencing had developed with its familiar pedagogy and collection of techniques and theory. At this time, the two predominant schools within the Italian tradition are the Radaellian (after Maestro G. Radaelli) and the Neapolitan. In 1883 the Italian Ministry of War selects the treatise by Neapolitan
Masaniello Pariseto be the official syllabus of the newly-founded Scuola Magistrale of fencing; now called Classical Italian Fencing, Parise's teachings survive to this day almost unchanged, although many of Radaelli's saber teachings were incorporated.
Today, the Italian school of swordsmanship is carefully preserved both in Italy and abroad. In Italy, official fencing schools such as the National Academy (Accademia Nazionale) certify masters in both historical fencing and modern fencing based on careful adherence to the principles of Italian swordsmanship. Abroad, the Italian style is cultivated by professional institutions such as the San Jose State fencing program (California, USA), where Maestro William Gaugler runs a program largely based on the Classical style of Parise.
Historical European martial artsand the Western Martial Artscommunities in Europe and the United States have a large number of researchers reconstructing the grappling, dagger, rapier, short sword, sword & buckler, longsword, pollaxe, and spearsystems of ancient masters, such as that of Fiore dei Liberi, Filippo Vadi, Achille Marozzo, Salvator Fabris, Ridolfo Capo Ferro, etc. The reconstruction efforts of these scholars give the martial arts community a chance to learn fencing with full-size, full-weight weapons such as the longsword, the single-handed sword, the spadone, the rapierand many others.
Although Classical Italian fencing is practiced and preserved in several places around the world (see above), there is no known master who can (or will) trace his maestro-pupil lineage to earlier than the second half of the 18th century. Although there are marked similarities and an obvious consistency between what was taught in the late 17th Century and the early 19th, it is impossible to trace and call out a direct master-student relationship.
Some treatises by Italian masters:
Fiore dei Liberi, "Flos Duellatorum in armis, sine armis, equester et pedester" - 1409
* Filippo Vadi, "
De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi" - 1482-1487
Pietro Monte, "Exercitiorum Atque Artis Militaris Collectanea in Tris Libros Distincta" - 1509; Dardi school
Antonio Manciolino, "Opera Nova per Imparare a Combattere, & Schermire d'ogni sorte Armi" - 1531
Achille Marozzo, "Opera Nova Chiamata Duello, O Vero Fiore dell'Armi de Singulari Abattimenti Offensivi, & Diffensivi" - 1536
Anonimo Bolognese, L'Arte della Spada (M-345/M-346 Manuscripts) - (early or mid 1500s [Rubboli and Cesari (2005) date this work to 1500-1525. Leoni and Reich of the [http://www.salvatorfabris.com/ Order of the Seven Hearts] date it to "about 1550" ( [http://www.salvatorfabris.com/BologneseIntroduction.pdf 2006 class handout] ) [http://www.chicagoswordplayguild.com/c/theTradition/BologneseSwordsmanship.asp] ] )
Giovanni dall'Agocchie, "Dell'Arte di Scrimia" - 1572
Angelo Viggianidal Montone, "Trattato dello Schermo" - 1575;Renaissance/Baroque
Francesco Altoni, "Monomachia: Trattato dell'Arte di Scherma" - c. 1550
Camillo Agrippa, "Trattato di Scientia d'Arme con un Dialogo di Filosofia" - 1553
Giacomo di Grassi, "Ragion di Adoprar Sicuramente l'Arme si da Offesa, come da Difesa" - 1570
Marco Docciolini, "Trattato in Materia di Scherma" - 1601
Salvator Fabris, "De lo Schermo ovvero Scienza d'Armi" - 1606
Nicoletto Giganti, "Scola overo Teatro" - 1606
Ridolfo Capo Ferro, "Gran Simulacro dell'Arte e dell'Uso della Scherma" - 1610
Francesco Alfieri, "La Scherma di Francesco Alfieri" - 1640
Giuseppe Morsicato Pallavicini, "La Scherma Illustrata" - 1670
Francesco Antonio Marcelli, "Regole della Scherma" - 1686
Bondì di Mazo, "La Spada Maestra" - 1696
Giuseppe Rosaroll-Scorzaand Pietro Grisetti, "La Scienza della Scherma" - 1803 - 1871 3rd ed.
Giuseppe Radaelli, "La Scherma di Sciabola e di Spada" - 1876
Masaniello Parise, "Trattato della Scherma di Spada e Sciabola" - 1883 1st ed. - 1904 5th ed.
Masiello, Ferdinando, "Trato teorico-pratico della scherma di spada e sciabola" - 1884
* ------------------------- "and
Ciullini"The Broadsword" - 1889
* ------------------------- "La Scherma di Fioretto. 2nd ed." - 1902
* ------------------------- "La Scherma di Sciabola. 3rd ed." - 1902
Pecoraro, Salvatoree Pessina, Carlo. "La Sciabola" - 1910
William M. Gaugler "The Science of Fencing. Revised ed."- 2004 ISBN 1-884528-05-8
* Tommaso Leoni, "The Art of Dueling: Salvator Fabris' Fencing Treatise of 1606", ISBN 978-1-981448-23-2 (2005)
*Luca Porzio and Gregory Mele, "Arte Gladitoria: 15th Century Swordsmanship of Master Filippo Vadi", ISBN 1-891448-16-1 (2002)
* M. Rubboli, L. Cesari (eds.), "Anonimo Bolognese - L'Arte della Spada, Trattato di scherma dell'inizio del XVI secolo", Il Cerchio (2005).
* Guy Windsor, "The Swordsman's Companion: A Modern Training Manual for Medieval Longsword", ISBN 1-891448-41-2 (2004)
German school of swordsmanship
Spanish school of fencing
Historical European martial arts
* [http://www.salvatorfabris.com/SectionBolognese.shtml Bolognese Swordsmanship]
* [http://www.chicagoswordplayguild.com/c/theTradition/BologneseSwordsmanship.asp Bolognese Swordsmanship: The Dardi School]
* [http://www.thearma.org/essays/FDL_studyguide.v3.htm Fiore Dei Liberi: 14th century Master of Defence]
;Groups that teach Italian swordsmanship
* [http://www.AcademyofArms.com/ Academy of Arms]
Academy of Historical Fencing(AHF)
* [http://www.learnswordplay.com/ Academie Duello] in Vancouver, BC, Canada
* [http://www.aemma.org/ The Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts] (AEMMA) in Toronto, Canada
* [http://www.thearma.org/ The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts] (ARMA)
* [http://www.chicagoswordplayguild.com/ The Chicago Swordplay Guild]
* [http://www.fencingmastersprogram.com/ Fencing Masters Program] , at San José State University, United States
* [http://www.the-exiles.org.uk The Exiles] Fiore dei Liberi translations and training
* [http://www.scherma-antica.org Federazione Italiana Scherma Antica e Storica] - Italian Historical Fencing Federation
* [http://www.sonoma.edu/users/s/sullinsj/index.HTML Fencing Masters' Certificate Program] , Sonoma State University
* [http://www.novascrimia.com/ Nova Scrimia - Italian Martial Arts]
* [http://www.salvatorfabris.com/ The Order of the Seven Hearts] - A resource-rich page for Italian sword arts
* [http://www.achillemarozzo.it/ Sala d'Arme Achille Marozzo] - Ancient Fencing Art Italian Institute
* [http://www.fioredeiliberi.org/ Schola Gladiatoria]
* [http://www.scholasaintgeorge.org Schola Saint George]
* [http://www.swordschool.com/ The School of European Swordsmanship] - Guy Windsor's Website and Academy of Swordsmanship in Helsinki, Finland
* [http://www.scrimatorino.it Scrima Torino]
* [http://www.stmartinsacademy.com/ St. Martin's Academy of Medieval Arms]
* [http://www.tulsaschoolofdefense.com/ Tulsa School of Defense]
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