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u/Silver_Agocchie · 5 pointsr/wma

I can't think of any 'study guides' per se, but there are a number of resources that can help you out getting started in bolognese.

The best way to go about it is to read the primary texts and use modern supplementary material to help you sort out what is going on.

Here are some suggestions:
Giovanni D'all Agocchie's manual on the use of the sidesword can be found translated online in places. It's pretty easy to follow compared to other primary bolognese sources so is a good place to start. It contains a couple of very basic 'katas' which is what I like to start my students on as they are intended to help teach and learn the fundamental movements of the system. A full copy of his manual including stuff not directly related to side sword can be found here:

A 'cheat sheet' for the techniques contained in the manual can be found here and is a useful for guided practice:

Manciolino covers mostly sword and buckler, and Tom Leoni does a decent job of presenting the material in a format that is easy to follow and practice from:

A modern 'clift notes' version of the bolognese style can be found here, but I prefer reading straight from the master's pen:

There is also a complete translation of Marozzo's manual on which is the most comprehensive of all the bolognese texts, and covers side sword with all the companion weapons as well as longsword (spadone) and polearms. However it is much harder to follow than the others mentioned above, so I would hold off on tackling it until you have a good understanding of the basics.

Other important works of the Bolognese system are the Anonimo Bolgonese which is one of the older bolgonese texts. It contains a lot of important information regarding the system and contains a large number of techniques. It is however kinda badly organized and not as clear as the other texts, but it makes for a good supplement.

Also important is Viggiani's manual. It is a very different approach to the bolognese style, and is not a complete system like the others. However it presents much more of the body mechanics that make for good defensive/offensive maneuvers. It should likewise be viewed as a supplement to the general bolognese system.

I'm sorry I could provide more links as I am on my mobile, but I hope this helps.

u/mmhg · 3 pointsr/wma

I have a pair of these sabers (one each of the Radaellian and Hutton guard styles) and have been using them for the past year in my local classical fencing club as we studied the Radaellian school of Italian duelling saber. The Darkwood sabers are much lighter than a heavy cavalry saber, but are close enough to the 20 oz weight mentioned in Holzman's book to be effective for learning the style. The blade is not a great replica of Radaelli's preferred blade as the curve of the Darkwood blades is closer to the tip than the center and is not quite deep enough to match the descriptions given in the book. Holzman discusses the weight and shape of the blade with more context in this thread. The swords are holding up moderately well after a year of use. I found that the blades tended to loosen significantly in the assembled hilt, and required quite a bit of tightening. You can see the protrusion of the threaded tang on the Radaelli hilt in this photo. We spar in standard fencing gear (mask, jacket, plastron, glove) and supplement only with soft elbow guards and occasionally forearm guards. The blades leave some nice bruises, but we've had no serious injuries. We primarily fight these blades against each other, or similar sabers like the Hanwei Hutton, although some of our younger fencers use sport saber blades as they are significantly lighter. The sabers have held up relatively well(edge on top) after a year of use (with regular deburring), although they are showing signs of wear. For the price I think the amount of wear is reasonable considering we practiced 3-4 hours per week with them, although I imagine they would hold up a little less with regular use against heavier sabers.

My personal view is that these are acceptable, relatively affordable duelling sabers, but they could do with a significant amount of improvement. The blades, as previously mentioned, could be made to more closely represent the specifications indicated in Radaelli's original work. It is worth noting that the bell on the Radelli style is wider than that on the Hutton, although the top of the guard on the Hutton protrudes more (see previous image). The edges of the bell guard tend to notch and need to be regularly deburred. Rolling these edges or using slightly thicker steel would help here. I'm not a huge fan of the nylon-wrapped grip, finding it slippery against a leather glove, although it's not hard to rewrap with grip tape or some other cord. I do like the size of the grip though. It's wider than the Hanwei, and is easy to keep in hand even when the blade takes a beating. On the Radaellian-style guard, I find that the ring tends to get beat a little out of shape with heavy use - especially as the base of the ring is not fixed, but slides through a small riveted assembly. Fixing the ring would provide more structural support and would deform less. I also would like to see the rounded heel of the grip that the Hanwei saber has. I agree with the reviewer that the blades could be stiffer. These are decent sabers considering the alternatives, but they could be improved. I hope that as the HEMA, WMA, and classical fencing communities grow, that we will see more vendors offering swords of this type and time period.

tl;dr: some historical inaccuracies and with room for improvement, but recommend as good weapons for classical fencers especially considering the lack of affordable alternatives

u/Hussard · 2 pointsr/wma

You are correct in that all of these things will help you enter and strike.

The manuals are a compendium of techniques, not a guide to "this is exactly what you must do". From the sounds of things, you are wanting more information into how to approach a fight rather than the actual techniques themselves. In that regards, there have been numerous books regarding fencing theory written for modern olympic fencing that would be of great use to you. The weapons are not the same but all preparatory actions translate very well into each other. The only part of the manual that talks about these (to my knowledge) are the naichraissens, the vor/nach plays and vaguely glossed over in the first part on the line, "All Art has Length and Measure".

Recommended reading:

  • "The Onion - Vor & Nach flow exercises" by Roger Norling

  • Understanding longsword - K. Ruokonen's blog

  • Understanding Fencing - By Z Czajkowski. This is actually about modern epee fencing and fencing in general but works well as a modern take on fencing theory

  • Epee 2.0 - by Johan Harmenber. Another modern book focusing on how to win. Essentially boils down to "do several things really really well instead of lots of things really well". And some other stuff.

  • MS 3227a - "Hanko Dobringer" - a little more esoteric than the modern ones but at least its period. You may find it useful.

  • The Art of Combat - By Joachim Meyer (trans by J Forgeng). This is out of print until next year but it is the best translation of Joachim Meyer's text available. It covers a wide range of plays intended, I think, for the instruction of fencers. It really is a wonderful resource and well worth getting your hands on.
u/PartyMoses · 3 pointsr/wma

Like others have said, try to find an instructor. If there's no one nearby you can get to regularly, think about making a trip for some private instruction, a special event, or even work at distance, exchanging videos and having chats and the like. A lot of instructors (including myself) offer this on occasion.

If you can't find an instructor, you 'll have to do your best with online material and books. as BLASPHEMOUS as it sounds, I recommend Fiore, mostly because Fiore has a ton of awesome supplemental material aimed at beginners that you can find online for free. Guy Windsor's Swordsman's Companion is a nice resource (which may be somewhat dated by now, but I'm not sure since I'm not a fiorist), and he also has a number of free videos on his youtube channel, and occasionally offers free introductory courses through his website. I've used some of his conditioning material before, it's fairly thorough. As I wrote this, I also stumbled on this page, which is a nice collection of Fiore-facing resources.

If you're dead set on German longsword, Keith Farrel's German Longsword Study Guide is a really great start, but it's best if used in conjunction to a text, and it's difficult to understand the body mechanics, especially if you've got a background in MOF.

Unfortunately I don't know of too many really comprehensive beginner-facing youtube channels for German sources out there that teach any of this in a way that I think is more beneficial than harmful. There's a translation of Danzig coming out soon, but since it's not out yet I can't really recommend it :/. Again, I think you ought to reach out to a well-known instructor for whatever system you want to study, and see what they recommend, especially if there's no club around.

If you haven't already, check out the HEMA Club Finder, and see if there's someone local. If there is, do whatever they do. Once you get down some basics, you can think about spending some time on your own with whatever source you are interested in. You might find that you change your mind on what interests you, too!

u/VictoriousVagabond · 2 pointsr/wma

Meyer is good, although since you are a beginner, I would recommend something with lots of visual aides and pictures. It's a bit outdated nowadays, but I would recommend starting with "Sigmund Ringeck's Knightly Art of the Longsword," by Lindholm and Svard (link below). Also, for longsword reference material, Keith Farrell's book is excellent and affordable.

It has pictures of the plays on every page, has the original text and translation, and also has interpretation, which eliminates much of the guess-work. It starts with the absolute basics and proceeds from there, which should be good for you and your buddies.

(Also, holy crap! This book was like $35.00 when I bought it about 8 years ago. Try to find a digital copy if possible.)

u/olorin1984 · 4 pointsr/wma

Hi, where are you located? The nice thing about sabre is that it is still a living tradition, and there are a lot of people around that can teach it to you. Depending on where you are, you could probably learn quite a lot from a modern club. Ideally though, you'd probably get more out of a more classically-oriented group because sabre has changed a lot in recent years, and a lot of things that will be useful for heavier weight sabres (circular cuts, low line parries, expulsions, etc...) aren't really used anymore.

I was trained in classical Italian sabre, which is well documented and still has a living tradition. The earliest basis for this system comes from Radaelli, who method was written down by Settimo Del Frate and recently translated by Chris Holzman, who added a lot of his own material that would help someone get started. You can get it here:

Masaniello Parise also wrote about sabre in his book from 1883, and while his book was chosen to be the basis of all military training, most people preferred Radaelli's method, and he ended up hiring a number of his students to teach at the newly formed Scuola Magistrale in Rome. Some of those students, Pecoraro and Pessina cowrote their own book on sabre which was basically Radaelli's system but with an organization more consistent with what was already being taught in Rome. Barbasetti, also did something similar. Unfortunately, Parise's and Pecoraro's and Pessina's book haven't been translated to English yet. Barbasetti's book is available in English (

My training came through Maestro William Guagler's (who trained under Pessina's son, Giorgio and was a graduate of the program in Rome) program which was based on this same method. The sabre in his book, The Science of Fencing ( , is very similar to Pecoraro and Pessina's book and is an excellent overview of the theory. If you look at this one, Barbasetti, and Chris's translation, you can get a pretty good picture of what 19th century Italian sabre would have been like.

u/Aristotle29 · 2 pointsr/wma

Dimicator on facebook is one place for pretty great info on sword and buckler.

As for books... You could go with the pretty outdated Sword and Buckler book from Chivalry Bookshelf. Found here on Amazon.

Then there is new book (BTW thanks for having me look this up, I didn't even know this existed)

Next in line would be Manciolino.

You could also try looking at Lignitzer through That is going to more updated than David Lindholm's books (two links btw), or Christian Tobler's. But, it is nice to have physical copies.

u/ithkrul · 2 pointsr/wma

My group has had one session on the same mats! They worked well but stained our clothing green. :)

On a side note, it helps we have a lot of grapplers around, so that makes it easier. We are using Jessica Finley's book as a guide to period specific items.

u/MeyerAtl · 9 pointsr/wma

I think this book might be of use to you. It can answer a lot of the basic German questions in a concise and useful manner:

Another good option is this one:

I say this as basically it seems that you are looking for a starting point into German longsword. The question you ask is not quite so simple as listing off techniques. This is one of the main parts of fencing with the longsword and honestly can take up chapters to talk about properly. The above books have most of the options listed, as well as ideas on how to implement them. They should be able to help you.

u/taksihat · 2 pointsr/wma

There's a few resources out there for you; things like the AHA Longsword Study Guide are general enough that they're not going to make too many leaps from interpretation.

In all honesty, though, the majority of early KdF isn't that hard to parse through. Download the Liechtenauer composite that was produced for the latest Wiktenauer fundraiser, and start reading the Commentary on the Long Sword

You'll be reading things that look like this:

>[6] This is the text and the gloss of yet a lesson:
>>11 Whoever goes after hewing,
He deserves little joy in his art.

>Gloss: This is when you come to him with the pre-fencing:
then you shall not stand still and look after his hews, waiting
for what he fences against you. Know that all fencers that look
and wait on another’s hews and will do nothing other than
parrying deserve such very little joy in their art, since they are
destroyed and become struck thereby

It's not too hard to understand what's being said in a lot of these glosses; and where you do have issues, look for videos or articles that are as recent as possible. A lot of the reason you don't see a lot of work put in print is that most people are constantly revising and changing their interpretations of techniques as they learn more; so by the time they would get something in print, they might not agree with themselves on some of what they've put down.

u/Ringerkunst89 · 4 pointsr/wma

You might consider having an experienced instructor come out to do a workshop with your group.

Also checkout the "Ringen discussiongroup!" on Facebook. Nice people, happy to answer questions.

Definitely pick up a copy of Jess Finley's book Medieval Wrestling if you haven't already.

u/SilverismyonetrueGod · 1 pointr/wma

Silver's Paradoxes of Defence and Bref Instructions. Plenty of versions online, but the most modern transcription from Silver's handwritten manuscript is the book Master of Defence and Stephen Hand's English Swordsmanship is a superb how-to manual.

u/AlexanderZachary · 7 pointsr/wma

Tim has two translations up regarding the True Art. Pacheco de Narváez and Díaz de Viedma. See below.

There is also a translation of Rada that is currently out of print. However, there is an excellent series of videos made by the author that demonstrates the plays, linked below.

Here is puck curtis’s partial translation of Ettenhard.

And here is Puck demonstrating some plays.

Thibault is not Spanish, and holds his sword funny, but he studied in Spain with the styles founder for 10 years and very clearly fights in the style. You can buy his book below:

The previous post made note of the earlier works being sidesword rather than rapier. He’s not wrong, yet I would recommend you read them anyway. The early works show how Destreza was “counter meta” when it was first developed, using point centric play to defeat cuts and beats. The later works deal more with using the style against opponents using thrusts and “point forward” stances.

Also, you don’t need a 1000 pages. Rada needed an editor, and his work included a lot of religious text. The translation I posted is much shorter than that

u/g2petter · 2 pointsr/wma

High intensity, lots of "aliveness" in the drills.

At least a couple of possible outcomes for each action so that it doesn't turn into "I do this, you do that, I do this".

Working on setups instead of assuming ideal conditions so that it's possible to understand what leads to successful outcomes for given techniques in certain situations.

Basically, read Understanding Fencing and steal as much as possible.

u/TheNewDavout · 2 pointsr/wma

I've personally done both classical fencing and HEMA/WMA and modern fencing (epee). Very little in classical sabre will be applicable to modern, at least from what I've seen. It has, at least for me, made me think more creatively and tactically in all my sword-sports.

In terms of where to start other than local clubs, I'd recommend two books: Gaugler's science of fencing ( and Chris Holzman's book on radaellian sabre ( Gaugler is writing specifically from a southern Italian perspective, but he's good for general theory. Chris' book is nothing short of fantastic, and offers lots of insight into the dueling culture around fencing in 19th century Italy.

u/slavotim · 9 pointsr/wma

I've found "hema in its context" by Richard Marsden interesting for that. Even if the book doesn't go as far as I wanted, it's a good read.

u/Wertilq · 13 pointsr/wma

For primary sources:

Two books are completely translated for True Destreza:
Viedma and Thibault

There are also partial translations, for Pacheco, Ettenhardt and a few others I can't remember off the top of my head.

There is also MANUEL ANTONIO DE BREA for smallsword, which is post-rapier Destreza. I think he is more or less fully translated.

For secondary sources:

There is some content on youtube.

Alberto Bomprezzi's Channel It's some sort of mixed Destreza.

Associació Catalana d'Esgrima Antiga (Barcelona) I am unsure what Author(s) they use.

Tim Riveras Spanish Swordsociety. There is some information on Viedma there.

Puck Curtis lectures on J Diamond's channel. It's Pacheco.

Puck Curtis own channel It's Pacheco and lots of videos of his kids.

Phil Swift's Channel I think it's on Pacheco.

Ton Puey's Academia Espada The rapier is Rada. Think the two swords and Montante is mostly Godinho.

UmeHFS(my club) has a series on Rada. It is still in its infancy.

UmeHFS also has some workshop videos with Aleix Basullas Vendrell aka /u/Azekh. It's Rada.

Also, check the gilded comments on this sub. There is a book worth of comments there by /u/Azekh

u/dm1986 · 2 pointsr/wma

Here is a very reasonably priced book on the subject:

And here is a lengthy online article about the history of cane defense, with an overview of, and links to, period sources:

I hope this helps!

u/GenUni · 4 pointsr/wma

If you can find an affordable copy, Anglo's Martial Arts of Rennaissance Europe is a great, thorough overview. Might be on the dry side for a 13 year old, but it's about sword fighting. It should keep their interest.

Or Marsden's HEMA in its context

Clement's early books are pretty awful. There, I said it.

u/thoughthorizon · 1 pointr/wma

I'd avoid synthetics in general, especially anything rawlings - they're just too slippery and flex in strange ways, so you end up training some bad habits. If you're insistent upon synthetics, though, just get blackfencers.

If you're wiling to pick up steel trainers, the darkwood armories hutton sabre are pretty good for the price, though you'll need to fit them with some kind of button/point protection.

In terms of sources, if you've done Olympic sabre then Hutton dovetails nicely into a lot of what you've already done. He also has some nice drills in there which go back and forth between fencers. From Hutton you can also trace backward in time through Waite and Roworth, so you can basically follow a continuing "style" back to an era and style you find that suits you.

Radaelli is interestic and has some noteworthy stylistic differences; especially the backward passing steps for low guards. The definitive resource for the style is:

Then there's the polish etc. which have already been mentioned, which is much earlier period and uses a different style of blade and hilt entirely (so you'd need training weapons specific to that purpose).

u/[deleted] · 3 pointsr/wma

Probably the best German longsword book that I gleaned the most from when I first started out was "Sword Fighting: An Introduction to handling a Long Sword" by Herbert Schmidt.

u/ne0henry · 1 pointr/wma

GRAPPLING and the SWORD. During the 19th century, Colonel Thomas Monstery was known to use seizures and disarms in both actual duels and contests with the sword. His rival, Regis Senac, once complained that during a private bout with Monstery in the 1870s, the latter had resorted to seizures and disarms when they came into close distance. On a similar note, an account of Monstery's duel with the Mexican General Bragamonte describes such techniques:

"At length Bragamonte tried his last secret trick, which would have puzzled any merely school fencer. Monstery made a light cut at his arm, outside, and Bragamonte threw up his own sword to bind his enemy’s blade there, quick as a flash threw forward his left foot and clutched for Monstery’s sword-wrist with his left hand. It was the end of the duel. Quicker than even the Spaniard, the American threw forward his own left foot, drawing back his sword out of danger, and in an instant had reversed the trick. Bragamonte’s sword-wrist was in his grasp, and he plunged his own blade deep into the Spaniard’s vitals, so that the point came out behind Bragamonte’s back, and the hilt struck his breast."

At another time, during a fencing bout with Monstery at the latter's academy, student Francis Wilson recounted how he momentarily caught the Colonel off guard, and succeeded in disarming him.

Wilson described what happened next:

"When I tried to follow up the advantage, he deftly disarmed me with his bare hand and turned the point of my sword against me."

u/Drach88 · 3 pointsr/wma

This is decent. Take the drawings and mechanics with a grain of salt, but it presents the materials in a comprehensive fashion.

u/DamionK · 3 pointsr/wma

Fighting with the German longsword by Christian Tobler

There are a bunch of books published by Chivalry Bookshelf like the one above.

Some can be found at abe books as well as the usual amazon search.

I'll reiterate what others have said about Clements. He is an important figure in the history of modern swordfighting but he also wasn't a diligent student of the arts when he was putting out books and videos back then. A lot has been learnt since then.

u/AFK_MIA · 4 pointsr/wma

Just wanted to add that there's a Godinho translation in print now. It came out somewhat recently.

edit: Added this link because it's expensive on amazon for some reason

u/TJ_Fox · 3 pointsr/wma

I vaguely recall references to an unusual smallsword manual in connection with the Colonial Williamsburg historical society.

Seconding the recommendation of Col. Monstery's self defense manual, which has recently been republished -

u/treeboi · 2 pointsr/wma

I have several books, and I'd point you to:

Sword Fighting: An Introduction to handling a Long Sword by Herbert Schmidt - this covers the German Liechtenauer techniques.

Mastering the Art of Arms Vol 2: The Medieval Longsword by Guy Windsor - this covers the Italian Fiore techniques.

Both books are modern interpretations of the historical techniques, written by instructors, with lots of photographs showing multiple angles of a particular action. Useful for a beginner and an intermediate practitioner as you can see exactly what you are suppose to do, instead of having to decipher a translation or drawing.

u/Cheomesh · 2 pointsr/wma

Well, we've not done dagger fighting in years now, so "current" is a bit inexact. But, at the time, the go-to was Jason Vail's Medieval and Rennaisance Dagger Combat:

But I also went to direct sources, chief of which was Codex Wallerstein:

u/Svartie · 10 pointsr/wma

There are two Italian masters from Florence that I know ofFrancesco di Sandro Altoni and Marco Docciolini

Marco Docciolini does have an English translation, I have not read this myself. From what I can recall hearing, it covers Sword alone, Sword+Buckler, Sword+Dagger and Sword+Sword. Here is another link to buy it from Lulu

u/Nightwinder · 3 pointsr/wma

There's also Historical European Martial Arts in its Context: Single-Combat, Duels, Tournaments, Self-Defense, War, Masters and their Treatises by Richard Marsden if you want someone's recent study into the topic