Tag: alfieri

Unfolding the cape

Neither a real weapon, nor a simple cloth: the cape in Italian martial arts. The cape is an item of clothing, subject to the rules of fashion and climate, and cannot be described appropriately by measures and rules, therefore it may have various shapes, lengths and widths, it may have a hood, or not. It is typically made of  rather thick and heavy cloth, in order to protect from rain and bad weather, but in milder periods it could just be a short cape attached to a shoulder. However, this is usually a garment worn by the men-at-arms, or fencers, commanders and mercenaries. The famous adventurer and goldsmith Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571), brought in front of the Eight of Florence as a result of another stunt, repents “giving me a great reproof and yelled, so to see me with the cape and the others in civilian hood” ”dandomi una grande riprensione e sgridato, sí per vedermi in cappa e quelli in mantello e cappuccio alla civile;” (“La Vita” 1558 – autobiography). As he realizes that, having to discuss their demeanor, he showed up very badly with the cape on him, while his opponent wears “a civilian hood” “mantello e cappuccio alla civile”. In a comment to the same passage from “La Vita” in the edition of 1926, the essayist Enrico Carrara says “the cloak was worn by bad people, unless...

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Brief Notes on Using the Cloak with the Rapier

The following are some suggestions for using the cloak with the rapier. Please note, the techniques will vary from those which can be used with a sidesword, so this should not be taken as a definitive form for all sword types. The notes are not exhaustive and are best used as an aide memoire to a workshop, rather than a complete introduction. Size and make of the cloak The cloak should be wide enough to be grip in the fist at one corner and still cover the forearm and half of the upper arm. It should be long enough that, when in guard, it will drop to the shin, having been wrapped around the arm once or twice. However, it should not be so low that it can be stepped on. It should be of rough linen or similar cloth; nothing synthetic. Warning: the cloak will be heavy! For exchanging, a thick glove (like a hockey glove) and forearm armour is advised. Holding the cloak Grip the cloak at the top corner and hang the rest along your out-stretched arm. Only a little of the cloak should hang to the inside of your arm, the rest should hand to the floor. Wrap the cap once or twice around the arm by swinging the arm around in large circles. This will take practice and space! The cloak should now be...

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A goldmine of printed fencing treatises

Today I thought I would share a little “secret”. In Saarbrucken, Germany there is this great little bookbindery called Fines Mundi that produces prints of antique books with traditional binding and in many different styles ranging from quite simple to very luxurious, depending on your wallet. Currently they have about 3000 titles of antique books in stock. The cool thing is that the man who runs the company, Rolf, is a sports fencers from 40 years back and some time ago he decided to republish old fencing treatises, more for love of fencing than with any expectations to make a profit from it. Currently, they have 47 titles listed and the really great thing is that they start a new project as long as the expect to sell about 30 copies, which means that most clubs can get prints of their favourite fencing master, provided that there are good enough source material and the copyrights are in order. For new projects I have suggested a print of Freyfechter Andre Paurnfeindt‘s treatise of 1516 and a print of the edited Paurnfeindt of 1531 by Egonolff, as Fechtmeister Joachim Meyer was inspired by one of these, or both, and there are links to the works of Paul Hektor Mair as well. Furthermore, having checked three copies of Meyer, Sutor and DiGrassi, I think Fines Mundi need a bit of help with gaining access to really...

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