From Swordplay to Sharpsplay: Unlocking the Bolognese Assalti

Instructor(s): Devon Boorman

Disciplines: Longsword/Two-handed Sword, Sidesword

One of the primary learning tools of the Bolognese school of 16th-century Italy were the assaults of arms (assalti). Assalti are martial forms meant for both solo and partner practice that contain rich sequences of attack, defence, provocation and deception. In this workshop students will dive into the traditional assaults of both one and two-handed swords, exploring their techniques and tactics, and learning how to apply them directly to sparring.

Students will learn to use the 7 provocations: entering, inviting, engaging, attacking, disabling, feinting, and deceiving. As well as how to fight in both the wide and narrow play and move between them.

Day 1: Spada da gioco (swordplay), will focus on the powerful and flowing sequences of wide play (gioco largo). Excellent for building body mechanics and learning how to enter effectively.

Day 2: Spada da filo (sharpsplay), will look at the deadly and direct techniques of the narrow play including grapples and disarms (gioco stretto) and build effective practice through antagonistic exercises.

Day 3: Sala d’Arme, will take the assaults into action exploring the use of sequence, strategy, and provocation through a three hour clinic and martial challenge focused on applied fencing.

Students will be welcome to join this workshop with longsword, sidesword (or other single handed sword), or both.

Equipment Requirements: longsword and/or sidesword, fencing mask, gorget