Rapier fencing

Discussion in 'Historical European Swords and Sword Arts' started by kempodisciple, Nov 20, 2018.

  1. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Does anyone happen to know a good website, article, or book that goes over renaissance rapier fencing, the rules that surrounded it (if there were any), when it was popular, and the impact that it had among the nobility and commoners? I can find some things online, but I don't know how accurate all the information is, with all the reconstruction that is done, some of which is great, some of which is not. If anyone could point me in the right direction I would appreciate it.

    If this is something that changed depending on the time period/location, I would specifically be interested in early 17th century france, but any information on any time period/location that included rapier fencing would be helpful.
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  2. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Just occurred to me as I hit enter to tag @Langenschwert, @pgsmith, and @lklawson, although anyone with information on this, or information on where to find information, would be greatly appreciated.
     
  3. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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  4. MetalBoar

    MetalBoar Orange Belt

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    I see you're in New York. I don't know how close you are, but these guys have a fantastic reputation and it looks like they have a selection of videos that might cover what you're interested in:

    Martinez Academy of Arms

    A group in my area that I've found very open to inquiries that might be able to point you at some good resources if you emailed them:

    Salle Saint-Georges | A Traditional School for Fencing Arts
     
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  5. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple Senior Master

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    Thank you! Going to email Salle Saint-Georges if I have any questions beyond the Martinez academy, but that first link looks like they are exactly the kind of people with the information I am looking for. Going to see if I can stop by at some point to talk with them.
     
  6. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    There are a ton of them, including HEMA Alliance, but also just a lot of local, loosely affiliated, schools. There are also a couple of web forums which could take you where you might want to go. The only one I would be careful of is The ARMA. There are a lot of good folks there but the founder has alienated a lot of folks in the community.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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  7. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    I know them. Took a few of Ramon and Jeannette's classes at seminars, trained with them once as students at one of Dwight McLemore's weekend training sessions, and generally hung out. Even worked with Jarred on a couple of republishing projects. They are rock solid folks. Ramon focuses his Rapier work on the Spanish system. I don't recall where Jarred was focusing his Rapier work. Probably French at a guess. While I know Cecil, I've not worked with him at all but I do know he's a solid fencer and I respect him. I don't personally know the other instructors but if they're working with the Martinez' then that's a good enough recommendation for me.

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
  8. lklawson

    lklawson Senior Master

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    Silver is a great resource. But, IMS, he was kinda anti-Rapier. He complains that the "Italian fight" sucks, is "imperfect," and in all ways inferior to the English system. Mostly he was comparing the Italian rapier (both blade and system) to the English Backsword. His motivation is partially nationalist. He's English and is offended and threatened by the growing popularity of these foreign sword systems in England. It was similar in some ways to the "Jujitsu v. Boxing" running argument of early 20th C. England.

    That said, my personal take on it is that comparing the two systems is a little bit of apples to oranges. The Backsword, and its resulting system, is better suited (IMO) to the military battlefield of the period than the Rapier was, while the Rapier was more of a civilian self defense weapon and was less well suited to period "battlefield use" (Musketeers not withstanding ;) ). Basically, the English Backsword was a military weapon that was frequently pressed to use for civilian self defense. The Rapier was a civilian weapon which was pressed to military use. My OPINION is that Silver was largely correct in his assessment.

    I am intrigued by his system's strategy and tactics, particularly as it is expressed in the footwork. His concept of "flying in" and "flying out" is much more sophisticated and complex than it appears on superficial overview of just the names.

    That said, I am also very intrigued by a few Rapier systems, in particular the entire Spanish Destreza system and somewhat by the Swetnam system. The Jakob Sutor Rapier system is also very interesting to me but mostly because it has moulinets, which are not really thought to be a part of Rapier systems at all (or even a suitable technique, often). If I was going to personally spend much time in a Rapier system, it would be Destreza. In fact, I bought a copy of Thibault's book (translated to English and republished).

    Peace favor your sword,
    Kirk
     
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