About Me

My photo

Fencing and History Nut Extraordinaire. While I am tending toward 16th century at the moment, I am and have been interested in history for a long time. Hence the fencing focuses more on the Renaissance period than the modern. This explains two out of three of my blogs. The third is a more personal one focusing on fibromyalgia. What I write in these blogs, I hope will be of use to people.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Update on Fabris from a Chair


A post was made some time ago about working on manuals from a different point of view, and more to the point, working on Fabris but from a seated position. With regard to this, I have made a start on the discussion paper variant of the overall project. I have run into some interesting findings in the process of writing the investigation actually.

The first part of the process was to describe to the reader exactly what I was doing, and the perspective I was taking with regard to the manual itself. This was mostly covered in the introduction, but a little more detail is required. An additional part to this particular discussion of intent is discussing the fact that only the single sword will be discussed. This is because it is considered by Fabris that if the single sword is known then the other forms will follow without much difficulty.

An important part of the introductory part of the discussion was to highlight the tactical differences between the seated and standing combatants. Much of this has been discussed earlier in one of my blogs so I will not go into any detail about it here, for such information I would direct you to the previous blog mentioned. Needless to say this is designed to introduce the normally standing combatant to the important changes when being seated.

From this point on there is a discussion of the various theoretical principles which Fabris delves into and must be understood before delving into the more practical aspects of the manual. The discussion of the single sword has already been pointed out. This then needs to be combined with his division of the weapon in order to understand the various important parts of it. The next part of the discussion follows on with more of the basic elements.

One of the most basic elements of fencing is those positions that the combatant adopts in the performance of the art, the wards. Now, Fabris calls these guards, but they are wards in effect. While they do protect certain areas they are not the guards found in the modern sport. These are the foundation positions that the fencer will adopt and as such it is important to go into some detail about them, thus there is discussion of the four basic guards, counter-positions, body and sword position. Armed with this information, the reader can then proceed with more of the theoretical elements.

Time and distance are the two essential elements from which no art with the sword, true no martial art can escape. To this point there are two separate sections one about distance, or measure, and the other about tempo. It is important also that the reader also understands how these two interact, thus there is also a part within both of these sections about how they both interact. Once these theoretical elements are understood it is then possible to discuss the actions made with the weapon.

The actions of the weapon go along with the movements of the body and as such it is important that both are understood. The essential offensive action with the rapier is, of course, the thrust and as such there is quite a bit of detail about this particular action. The other offensive action with the weapon is the cut, and while Fabris has some misgivings about its use, he does describe it as a technique that can be used should the opportunity present itself.

With regard to defensive actions, Fabris actually says surprisingly little about them. For the most part with regard to this, Fabris advises the use of the void as a purely defensive action over the parry. He makes some various points about this and also goes into a little detail about the reason for his preference for the void over the parry.

The next set of actions with the weapon once offensive and defensive actions have been discussed are those with regard to blade engagement, such things as finding the blade and the disengage. With very little surprise, Fabris goes into a great deal of detail with regard to all elements of blade engagement as he finds them essential to the proper use of the weapon. These particular elements are most important if Fabris' method is to be understood completely.

The tactical elements are those which divide the beginner from the more experienced fencer and it is these considerations which are important to truly understand and be able to plan how to defeat the opponent. To this will be added feints as they are a tactical option more than a specific action. Fabris also goes into a discussion about how the fencer should deal with different sorts of opponents as many Renaissance theorists did.

The final part of the theoretical part of the discussion covers the guards. There is a great deal of information covered in this particular discussion. Each guard is discussed separately for its advantages and flaws. There is little surprise that Fabris makes his impression of which guard is better than another and so on. He also presents some basic actions which can be performed directly from the guards and their defensive potential. This is designed to lead on to what he calls the "wounds" which are his practical demonstration of the theory previously presented.

This completes the update for my investigation of performing Fabris from a chair. No doubt I will come up with a better title for the investigation as time goes along. I am in the process of now working through the various "wounds". This will form one of the most time-consuming parts of the investigation as they will have to be deciphered and then seen whether or not this technique will work from a seated position. This will be the first and final update as the wounds are very specific and to go into each would take a great deal of time. Needless to say, I will continue working on the investigation and hopefully publish (in some form) my results.