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Italian Fencing

The Italian method of fencing is prolific. This style of fencing is considered to be more vigorous, definite and active. The humanist spirit of renaissance was embraced by the Italians and treaties on swordsmanship were written by several masters. In addition, Italians traveled across Europe and established their style of fencing as predominant the method. From the late 1400 to 1600, Italian style was the premier in sword play. The earlier groups who fought were limited by rules and tools. Though Italian fencing may have had some military origins, soon enough it was used for duels of honor, judicial combats and civilian defense. As a result, rules were introduced into their method of fighting which changed with time. Achille Mirazoo, who is considered as the Carranza of Italian fencing used a transitional style that bridged the gap between the high middle ages martial arts to renaissance. While Camillo Agrippa was a true Renaissance man who was not only famed for fencing but also for mathematics and engineering, simplified the works of Mirazoo. The mathematical aspects of swordsmanship fascinated Arigappa which made him to publish The science of arms, with a philosophical dialogue. This book influenced Carranza`s works that were published only three decades later after Arigappa`s. From then many books were published in the years to come, which were authored by Giocomo Digrassi, Salvator Fabris and Ridolfo Capo Ferro. The Italian style combats were face-to-face type and the masters were interested only in finishing the fight quickly as emphasis was made only on measure (The distance from the opponent), Tiempo (Timing of an attack) and velocita (How and where should an attack occur). These things made the fight to get over in literally one move. Initially broad swords were used, but during 16th and 17th centuries, the rapier replaced broad swords as a side arm and emphasis was made only on point rather than cut. The rapier was primarily a thrusting weapon and the Italians used specific terms for types of thrusts. Stocatta meant to be a thrust under an

opponent`s blade. Imbrocatta was used to mention the thrust over the opponent`s blade. Botta Lunga meant the Lunge and Passata soto was a lunge that so far extended and low to the ground so that the fighter planted his offhand on the ground in order to not lose the balance. The Italian dueling sword typically looked like Neapolitan foil that offered only little protection to the back of the weapon hand. Agesilao and Aurelio, the Greco brothers designed an epee with a large offset bell guard that shielded the entire hand and had a cross bar that extended inside the bell guard from one side to another. This dueling sword later became the modern Italian epee. For people who are interested in Historical fencing, the Italian method is fantastic because many manuals are available online for free of charge and there are many Italian masters to choose from. Each manual has its own set of rules. For example Alfiere might believe thrusting is the only option to go, but when a cut and thrust rapier is used and his manual was only meant for long and thrusting only, blade, there comes a problem in implementing his methods. The learner has to be more specific while choosing the manuals. It was the French who tailored fencing to a gentleman`s duel and eventually fencing was made as a sport. Modern fencing changed this martial art to a sport since the main aim of modern fencing was concerned about scoring points. At present, due to cultural intermingling and competitions, the national fencing styles were eliminated, instead Fencing has become more reliant on individual techniques.