The Role of Filippo Vadi in the dei Liberi Tradition, Pt. II

(c) 2010 Greg Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild While Filippo Vadi’s De arte gladiatoria dimicandi differs in the main very little from the work of Fiore dei Liberi in terms of technique, the assertion that Vadi’s work does not differ in method of communication is simply incorrect. The true originality of the De arte gladiatoria dimicandi stands in the sixteen introductory […]

The Role of Filippo Vadi in the dei Liberi Tradition, Pt. I

(c) 2010 Gregory Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild When I teach at workshops and seminars, I am often told something along the lines of this: I’m surprised that the man who co-authored the reproduction on De arte gladiatoria dimicandi doesn’t work more with the hallmarks of Vadi. It’s a fair question, and suggests that in 2001, when I […]

Developing Tactical Skills at Longsword

Strategy differs materially from tactic; the latter belonging only to the mechanical movement of bodies, set in motion by the former.– Charles James, A New and Enlarged Military Dictionary (1810) Before hostile armies or fleets are brought into contact (a word which perhaps better than any other indicates the dividing line between tactics and strategy), […]

Kunst des Fechtens: German Fencing in the Liechtenauer Tradition

There were many fencing traditions that were recorded from medieval Europe, but perhaps one of the most prolific traditions is that of the German master Johannes Liechtenauer. We know very little of the man himself, save that he probably lived in the 14th century, and was a fencing master lauded by students of his art […]

Italian Rapier Fencing – The Art of the Duel

by Gregory Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild Rapier fencing was the first truly “civilian” system of fencing, maximized for single combat and meant to be used without either any secondary arms (although their use continued for quite some time) or protective armour. Originating in Italy, rapier fencing spread throughout Europe, where it developed into several unique […]

Scherma Tradizionale Italiana: Traditional Italian Fencing

Traditional Italian Fencing is the late 19th century practice of the foil (a blunted training weapon), the épeé or spada (the dueling sword), and the sabre (a cutting as well as thrusting weapon).  It is the art from which the modern sport of fencing derives.  Today’s practitioners study the traditional art as a means to […]

German Sword and Buckler – Royal Armouries MS I.33: The World’s Oldest Martial Arts Manual

The earliest martial arts manuscript known is a sword & buckler text from Germany, 1300 AD, known today as Royal Armouries Manuscript I.33. I.33 is a medieval fencing instructional manual that makes key techniques of Europe’s medieval men-at-arms available to us today. The manuscript shows a priest giving combat instruction to a young man – […]

What is Armizare?

L’arte d’Armizare (The Art of Arms) is the medieval Italian term for knightly martial arts that were employed by the aristocratic warrior class of Europe – the knights. During the medieval era, the ruling classes and the upper echelon of the fighting classes were the same people, and they developed sophisticated martial arts systems to […]

Jessica Finley Ringen and Langes Messer Seminar Report

On Saturday July 28, Jessica Finley gave a day-long seminar in Ringen and Messer techniques from the German medieval martial arts tradition. The day started with a three hour Ringen course, for which thirteen people attended. Drawing from the techniques of Master Ott, Jessica skillfully led the group through a series of basic exercises leading […]

Quickness, Strength and Skill:  Principles of Medieval Wrestling in the Techniques of Master Ott

Quickness, Strength and Skill: Principles of Medieval Wrestling in the Techniques of Master Ott

by Jessica Finley Free Scholar, Selohaar Fechtschule In recent months there has been a surge of interest in medieval wrestling; and for good reason.  For those interested in the recreation of the art of fighting with a medieval longsword, we have it on good authority that wrestling is important to swordsmanship.  Johannes Liechtenauer says in […]