Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review: 27 February

We got through a lot of material in today's rapier class, and everyone was looking pretty good towards, albeit a bit tired. Here's a list of what we did today for both warm-ups and drills, so next time we can hit the floor running:

1) Basic footwork, both leads.
2) Thrusts at all ranges (stretta, larga, larghissima)
3) Chasing the target (with both gathering and passing steps)
4) Tessitura, version 1
5) Approaching drills (all cavazione, cavazione w/oppostion, all opposition, mixed)
6) Defense drills:
a) Countering during the opponent's attack (w/opposition or cavazione)
b) Attacking during the opponent's step forward (cavazione di tempo)
c) Interrupting the attacker's approach with a counter step
7) Attacker/defender drill
8) Seizing the initiative/mostly free fencing (solo work with me)

I'd like to do a lot more of the last drill in the coming weeks, so we can grind out attacks done out of tempo.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Destreza: a reintroduction to Spanish swordsmanship

In the past week, I have managed to confirm that Maestro Ramón Martinez, of the Martinez Academy in New York, will be giving a weekend-long workshop at the Fighting Arts Collective on May 14th and 15th. For anyone who was present last year, we'll be picking up right where we left off, which is pretty deep into the system! To ensure that everyone is ready for the workshop - and for my own reasons - I'll be replacing the Dall'Agocchie study group with a Spanish swordsmanship study group from 9-11 on Wednesday evenings. We'll be looking at the system from the ground up, get plenty of fencing practice in, and (I hope!) get some Spanish vs. Italian action going.

So to better prepare everyone for the workshop, it will definitely be worth it to go over some of the basic fencing terminology employed by the Spanish fencing masters, so we're all on the same page.

1. Afirmarse: literally, "to steady oneself." The upright position in which the fencer will stand.
2. The four hand positions: uñas arriba (quarta), uñas adentro (terza), uñas abajo (seconda) and uñas afuera (prima). In all cases, the arm is fully extended.
3. Compases: the steps. Essentially, there are linear steps (forward, backward, to either side), ciruclar steps (along the imaginary circle), and angular steps (along an arc).
4. Atajo, from the Real Academia dictionary: Treta para herir al adversario por el camino más corto esquivando la defensa. Essentially, it means to place the true edge (in most cases) opposite the opponent's point, pre-parrying any attack. This implies either a step to the right (atajo to the inside), or to the left (atajo to the outside)
5. estocada: a thrust, which is not delivered like a lunge, but with a step with both feet.
6. desvío: a derailing or deflection of the attack, together with a simultaneous counterattack. This is done by stepping along the circle in the same direction the opponent is stepping.
7. golpe: a blow, or cut. There are really only four cuts: two downward diagonal cuts, two horizontal cuts.

That's all that I can think of for now; more on this later!

Sunday, February 6, 2011


This is just a quick bit of news that won't affect anyone who is currently in either the Capoferro or Dall'Agocchie study groups, but it is important all the same. Until further notice, both study groups are invitation only: no maybes, no popping in and out, CLOSED. The reason for this is twofold: 1) I'd rather have a dozen really good and dedicated fencers than twenty average ones, and 2) I personally need to continue to enjoy what I'm doing, otherwise I get burned out and lose interest. My ultimate goal is to have a solid programme in both traditions running smoothly when I leave at the end of next year, which can only be accomplished if I focus on those who have already dedicated themselves to this.

Otherwise, nothing has changed: the schedule remains as it was before this announcement.