Author Archive

How to avoid being one-shotted   2 comments

Step 1: Form a Counter Guard. Step 2: There is no step 2.

Posted April 8, 2016 by Gawin in Giganti, Italian Rapier

Winter War Maneuvers   12 comments

It has been a long time since we posted anything about melee, so for a change of pace, I thought I’d provide a recap of a melee training that I ran recently. I was not initially planning on attending the event (5 hour drives are the new normal for event travel, but it’s a bit much […]

Posted January 31, 2016 by Gawin in Events, Melee, Teaching and Training

A Cold Day in January   2 comments

Today marks the 2-year anniversary of one of the most formative days in my study of historic Italian rapier fencing. Initially, I didn’t write about the day because it always seemed that I’d have even more insight about the day in the near future. This continued until months had passed, then years and it no […]

Posted January 25, 2016 by Gawin in Journal

Five Minute Lessons: Teaching at Events   2 comments

Motivation: Last April, I moved to Calontir, a land where, up until just a few years ago, there was no fencing. Calontir’s Steel program (as opposed to rattan) is somewhat unique in the Known World, as it is cut & thrust default. However, because the program is relatively new, most of the fighters are also […]

Posted December 17, 2015 by Gawin in Uncategorized

Walk Like an Agrippan: Part 4 – Stance and Footwork   5 comments

The previous 3 sections (1, 2, 3) of this series on Agrippa have focused on dissecting the framework of the stances and motions found in Agrippa’s fencing manual. Starting with these may have seemed an odd choice, as typically one introduces a fencing system by describing how to perform the basics. However, in my opinion, determining how […]

Posted December 1, 2015 by Gawin in Italian Rapier

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Agrippa Part 3: The Controversial Lunge   13 comments

The presence of a lunge in Agrippa’s system is a somewhat controversial topic. One of the earliest historical fencing scholars, Edgarton Castle noted in his 1885 book, Schools and Masters of Fence from the Middle Ages to the Eighteenth Century, that while some of the positions shown in Agrippa’s manuals appeared to be lunges, that the development […]

Posted November 25, 2015 by Gawin in Italian Rapier

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The Nature of (Historical Fencing) Knowledge:   2 comments

My recent efforts to decipher Agrippa’s fencing manual has me thinking a lot about the types of evidence that are available to us as historical fencing scholars. As students of historical European martial arts, we are faced with the challenge of attempting to recreate techniques that have been out of use for 500 years or more […]

Posted November 13, 2015 by Gawin in Musings

Agrippa part deux: Movement   10 comments

In part 1 of my discussion of Agrippa’s fencing system, I focused on the positions that are described in the manual. Importantly I extrapolated a set of “degrees-of-freedom” based on the ways in which the various positions differed from each other. In this posting, I hope to demonstrate the importance of those degrees-of-freedom by describing […]

Posted October 30, 2015 by Gawin in Italian Rapier

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Unless Your Opponent has Studied His Agrippa… 1: The Positions   3 comments

I recently finished reading Ken Mondschein’s Fencing: A Renaissance Treatise, which is a translation of Camillo Agrippa’s Treatise on the Science of Arms with Philosophical Dialogue, published in 1553.  As someone who is most accustomed to the writing styles of the later Italian rapier treatises, I found Agrippa’s approach somewhat difficult to understand at first. Giganti, Capo Ferro, and Fabris […]

Posted September 9, 2015 by Gawin in Italian Rapier

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How to be the one in a 2v1 part 1: Initiative and Obedience   1 comment

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” – Mike Tyson I came across this quote following a baronial fencing practice, and it seemed oddly fitting to one of my observations from our 2v1 practice that day. The 2v1 drill we were working was focused on training the two to defeat the […]

Posted September 30, 2014 by Gawin in Melee