Beautiful Fencing Never Dies: A Living Tradition of Italian Fencing

Instructor(s): Eric Myers

Disciplines: Rapier, Duelling Sword, Foil

“Italian fencing” is a blanket term covering various systems and traditions practiced over 4 centuries, but all revered for their beauty, grace, and deadly accuracy.  In this track we will explore some influences and continuities of a specific living tradition of Italian fencing which is still taught at the Fencing Masters Certificate Program.  We will start with some core rapier theory from the 17th and 18th centuries, follow the development of the system through the dueling sword, and finally arrive in the classical era of Italian foil.  Over the course of the class we will emphasize how the Italians conceived of beauty in their art on one hand, while insisting on efficacy on the other.  The discussion of honour and demeanour persists over centuries, while the constant arms race of a living tradition means techniques that were considered staples of a particular system may disappear or be replaced by new innovations in order for the system to remain relevant.  By the end of the series students will have gained an appreciation for both the continuity and eccentricities associated with Italian fencing across the ages, and have the opportunity to practice it in a coached bouting environment.

Day 1:  Core Italian theory and practice from the rapier period, plus examples of things that will change or disappear.

Day 2:  The shift to epee: new simple attacks, focus on the advanced target, additional actions on the blade.

Day 3:  Foil for play: complex footwork, multiple feints, probing actions and actions of concealment, coached bouting.

Equipment Requirements: fencing mask, jacket, gorget.

2 weapons: A rapier for Days 1 and 2, and a foil for Days 2 and 3.  The rapier can be early or late period, and Academie Duello will provide some loaner foils.