Historically, weapon designers also had to consider a number of other factors, not least of which was the ability of the user to carry and effectively wield a weapon. Most swords are carried as side-arms rather than as the main combat weapon. That is to say, if the user were expecting to fight a battle then he would probably equip himself with a ‘battlefield’ weapon. Depending on the era this might be an axe or spear, a large mace or lance, an arquebus, or even a rifle. He would fall back on his sword only if necessary. …
History of fencing, swordplay and weapons
by Robin Catling:
The foil is a descendant of the light court sword formerly used by nobility to train for duels – there is an extended sequence in Le Bossu where the Regent, Philippe Duke of Orléans visits a fencing school of the period. Foil is the weapon most people picture whenever modern sports fencing is mentioned – light, fast and mobile. …
Of all the weapons ever invented, none has the mystique of the sword. It remains a symbol of authority and strength long after its day on the battlefield has passed. Swords feature in figures of speech, in statues and monuments, and in company logos. They are used in solemn ceremonies and hung on walls as decorations. The sword remains a potent symbol of authority, strength and power. …
By Robin Catling:
Although the use of heavy metal armour during the Middle Ages made swordsmanship virtually obsolete, the development of firearms in the 15th century then made armour obsolete. As the weapon of last resort, close quarters combat and the means for settling disputes among gentlemen, skill with the sword resumed its importance. …
By: Robin Catling.
From our Historical Swordplay class, our starting point is the twelve guard positions taken from Fiore’s treatise.
The four high, four middle and four low guards are:
1) Posta di Donna (guard of the lady)
2) Posti di Donna la soprana (High guard of the lady)
3) Posta di fenestra (Window Guard)
4) Posta di Donna la sinestra (Guard of the Lady on the left)
5) Posta Breve (Short Guard)
6) Posta Longa (Long Guard)
7) Posta Frontale (Front Guard)
8) Posta di Bicorne (Two-horned Guard)
9) Posta di Dente di cinghiale (Boar’s Tooth Guard)
10) Mezzo Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Gate)
11) Tutta Porta di Ferro (Whole Iron Gate)
12) Posta di Coda Longa d’esteso (extended Long Tail Guard)
Florio’s Italian to English dictionary of 1611 translates:
Pulsare – to smite
Pulsativa therefore translates as something like ‘great smiting’.
Instabile – ‘fickle, wavering, unstable’
Stabile – ‘stable, firm, permanent, steadfast, fixed, immovable, durable’.
Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) is a serious extension of historical research outside of the regular re-enactment scene, covering all manner of weapons and combat systems from the early Medieval to late Victorian eras (see our post What is HEMA?). …
The sport of fencing developed out of the formalized sword duel. The duel of honour, which first became prevalent in the early 16th century, may have had roots in both the single combats of the medieval tournament and in the notion of ‘trial by combat’, which dated to Norman times. …
Swordfighting as a sport has existed since ancient Egypt, and has been practised in many forms in various cultures since then. Although jousting and tournament combat was a popular sport in the European Middle Ages, modern FIE fencing owes more to unarmoured duelling forms that evolved from 16th century rapier combat. …