The Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium

VISS Presents the Quincentenary; A Celebration of Bolognese Martial Arts | Postponed until late Spring 2022

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Coffee & Assalti: Sidesword

Every day of the Quincentenary will begin with two tracks devoted to Bolognese Assaults. These martial forms, both for solo and partnered practice, bring together attacks, defenses, and combinations that challenge both novice and advanced students alike.

The Sidesword track features three days of assaults from various sources, each delivered by a different instructor who will give you their unique take on the material. Each day you’ll explore the use of a different secondary: buckler, dagger, and second sword, to compare and contrast not just the assaults and approaches but the unity of the Bolognese systems across weapon combinations.

The Bolognese Art of Swordsmanship covers fighting with a greater variety of sword and defensive devices (buckler, dagger, etc.) than any other known martial art. As the Bolognese masters used elaborate martial forms to teach their art, there is naturally an extensive corpus of these forms for the modern practitioner to draw from. Our Coffee & Assalto mornings will feature a track of classes that focuses on a different form with the one-handed sword each day.

Sword & Small Buckler with Ken Harding

If you were a budding young warrior in Renaissance Bologna, your master would start your training with the sword and small buckler, and so it is only fitting that we too begin our journey into the one-handed sword with a dive into the First Assalto of Antonio Manciolino. This dynamic form is a splendid introduction into the Bolognese Martial Arts as it magnificently demonstrates the particular blend of martiaility, dynamism and panache that are hallmarks of the Bolognese style. For our class on Manciolino’s First Assalto we are fortunate to have Ken Harding, founder of the only professional school in North American completely devoted to Bolognese Swordsmanship, a man who has begun many on their martial arts journey.

Two Swords with Devon Boorman

Once you had learned the basics of fencing and could fight with the sword and buckler, your master would push you to take on the challenge of fighting with two swords, one in each hand. “This very useful and wonderful” practice in many ways is the Everest of play with the one handed sword and Manciolino’s Assalto for Two Swords will challenge your body and mind. Thankfully we will have Devon Boorman to guide you in undertaking this challenge, and he can draw on his experience of teaching thousands of martial artists. Fencing with two swords will not only teach you fighting in this way, but the experience will make you a better martial art in all other combinations with the one-handed sword.

Sword and Dagger with Rob Rutherford

Of course, the goal of learning to fence was not just to rule the salle, but to be able to survive on the rough and tumble streets of Renaissance Italy where a fight might begin with the smallest of provocations. While the sword was always allowed for self-defense, laws often forbade the carrying of additional arms like bucklers or a second sword. The dagger had the advantage of easy concealment and was thus “out of sight, out of mind.” For learning this combination, we will be drawing upon the master Giovanni dall’Agocchie, whose form for the sword and dagger comes at a fascinating hinge point in the transition from the cut and thrust sword to the rapier; and Rob Rutherfoord, our guide for this dive into sword and dagger, is thankfully skilled in both.

Be sure to register now to grab your spot. Space is limited in this exclusive and intimate event!

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