Bologna Meets Iran: Weapons of the Epic Heroes

Instructor(s): Devon Boorman , Dr. Manouchehr Khorasani

Timeslot(s): , , , ,

Primary Disciplines: Partisan, Neyze (Persian cutting spear), Sidesword, Shamshir, Buckler

This track joins the scholastic tradition of Northern Italy, that sought to connect its martial art with the classical Greek epics, with the war arts of Iran, brought to life from historical texts and the tales of Persian heroes. Students will delve into the philosophy and the physicality of these two unique but similar traditions through use of the neyze, partisan, shamshir, sidesword, and buckler.

Bolognese Intensive

The Bolognese school of swordsmanship is the last great Medieval Italian tradition and the first of the Renaissance traditions. Originating in the 1400s around the University of Bologna the system includes use of the sidesword (a cut and thrust rapier), partisan and other polearms, two-handed sword, dagger, and unarmed as well as various secondaries including various shields, cloak, gauntlet, and dagger. Like modern day HEMA, a component of this tradition was the revival of traditional martial forms, particularly those of the Greek classics. This will be the focus of this intensive.

Day 1:

Partisan and Rotella Students will learn the use of the bladed spear first in two hands then in one accompanied by the arm strapped round shield (rotella). Two handed use will include foundational postures, thrusting and cutting attacks, and parries. From this base students will then learn how to thrust, cast, throw, and parry with the support of the rotella.

Day 2:

Sidesword and Rotella In day 2 students will explore how to effectively cut and thrust with the sidesword while cutting around and with the support of the rotella. Attacks, defenses, deceptions, and ways of circumventing the shield of the opponent will be explored. Finally we’ll look at how the partisan, sidesword, and rotella are all used together in a epic duelling form.

Equipment Requirements

Fencing Mask, gorget, gloves, sidesword (or other single handed cutting sword such as an arming sword or sabre), partisan (spear or staff acceptable–loaners will be available), rotella (some loaner shields will be available).

Persian Martial Arts Intensive

Razmafzar is the project to revive Persian swordsmanship and martial arts based on a number of manuals, battle accounts and also living traditions such as zurkhaneh (house of strength) and traditional wrestling arts (such as koshti-ye gilmardi and koshti-ye bachukhe). The system includes shamshir and separ (shield), khanjar (dagger) and separ, kard (knife) and separ, neyze (cutting spear), neyze and separ, gorz (mace) and separ, tabar (axe), tir va Kaman (archery) and unarmed combat arts such as koshti (wrestling). The system includes a wide range from ancient Persia to the 18th – 19th centuries. The focus of the intensive will be on the 15-17 century combat arts.

Day 1: Neyze and Separ

Students will learn the mechanics of the Persian neyze handling it with two hands and then switch to the combination of neyze and separ. Two-handed neyze include: thrusts, strikes with the blade, strikes with the spearbutt, strikes with the shaft, using the spearhead like a dagger and using the shaft to throw. Basic parries and positioning will also be taught. Based on this part, the second part shows how these techniques can be modified to use a shield at the same time.

Day 2: Shamshir and Separ

In the second sessions, students will learn the basic mechanics of shamshir and separ: cuts, thrusts, footwork, controlling the opponent’s shield, using bazuband as a shield, kicking the legs and locks and throws in the close range.

Equipment Requirements

Mask, gorget, shamshir (a curved saber with a strong blade. A similar one handed sword may be used), cutting spear, shield with two holding leather straps on the back. Alternate single handed swords, staffs, and bucklers may be used.