aving looked at Fiore dei Liber's pedagogical system, system of blows, and six methods of using the sword, we now turn to those individual sub-systems itself. Swordsmanship proper first appears…
aving looked at Fiore dei Liber's pedagogical system, system of blows, and six methods of using the sword, we now turn to those individual sub-systems itself. Swordsmanship proper first appears…
A cavallo – “On horse”. One of the three major divisions of armizare, the others being senza arme (out of armour) and in arme (in armour)
Abrazare – Archaic for modern Italian abbraciare (“to embrace”). A type of stand-up grappling (as distinct from wrestling; It: lotta) that characterizes much of Fiore’s play.
Accrescimento – “Increasing”. The act of moving the foot that is in front either farther forward along the line of direction or, in the case of an offline accrescimento, somewhat away from it or to the side. Verb form: accresere (see above).
Accressere fora di strada – Offline Accrescimento. A piece of footwork in which the front foot moves away from the line of direction, most often in preparation for an oblique pass (see ).
Alla Traversa – “To the side”. An oblique or lateral step offline.
Armadura or Arme – Armour (Also: harness). In the time of Fiore, the transition between mail armor and plate armor was near complete. A typical full suit of the time consisted in a bascinet with a movable visor or an open-faced helm, breast and back with articulated faulds extending to the upper thigh, pauldrons (shoulder armor), arm and elbow armor, gauntlets, leg armor, greaves (shin armor) and sabatons (foot armor). As armizare is a chivalric discipline, the use of armour in single combat and on the battlefield informs the movement and body mechanics of the entire system, but whereas there are restricted target areas against an opponent wearing armor, Fiore is careful to specify which actions are possible in armor, out of armor, or both.
Armizare – Fiore’s word for exercising the skill at arms, or the “art of arms”.
Azza – Fiore uses the term “axe” for the poleaxe: a polearm approximately man-sized with a square-section haft, which was part of the knightly arsenal at the time. On the forward offensive end, it features an iron consisting of a short spike, a hammer or axe-blade (hence the name) and a stout beak protruding behind it. On the other end, it typically has a short spike, so as to enable the user to strike with either end. Although poleaxes could be as long as seven or eight feet, armizare favors the use of weapon somewhere between the length of the wielder’s armpit to full height (approximately 54 – 72″).
Bastoncello – A short staff, usually no longer than the arm, which was carried by Italian military commanders as a sign of command. Bastoncelli could be simple batons of polished, white wood, or elaborately carved and decorated. Descended from the Roman vitis, and remembered in the modern era by the general’s swagger stick. A minor weapon in armizare, Fiore dei Liberi shows the use of a bastoncello about a foot (30 cm) or so long to defend against knife attacks.
Bastone – A club or staff. A minor weapon in canonical armizare, Fiore dei Liberi briefly shows the ad hoc use of a pair of arm-length clubs as well as the use of a walking staff in conjunction with the dagger.
Battere or Rebatter(e) – To beat the opponent’s weapon means to give it a rap with yours so as to set it aside or hit it to the ground.
Chiave Forte – “Strong Key”. A strong lock from the low bind (see ligadura), appearing as the sixth play of the Third Master of dagger, and recurring throughout the art in the use of sword and axe.
Colpo – A blow. A general noun used to describe an attack involving hitting the opponent–with or without a weapon. Fiore classifies three blow angles, each of which can be made from the forehand (mandritto) or backhand (riverso) sides, for six blow angles in total:
Colpo di Villano – “Peasant’s Strike”. A named play for defending against heavy blows, introduced by the Fourth Student of the Second Remedy Master of the Two Handed Sword in Zogho Largo. The peasant is the opponent who delivers a powerful fendente to set up the action. Contrary to what the name suggests, the opponent delivering the first attack does not need do so in a rough or unskilled manner; but simply strikes forcefully – which is why Fiore advises the play will also work against an axe or staff.
Contrario (Also: magistro contrario) – “Counter “. A tier in Fiore’s pedagogy representing the counters to the Remedy Masters (see remedio) or their students (see scolaro). In some cases, Counter Masters also have students.
Contra-Contrario – “Counter-to-the-Counter.” The final tier in Fiore’s pedagogy, this rarely seen Master, teaches techniques designed to thwart an opponent’s counter to your original defense (see remedio).
Coverta – “Cover.” Any defensive motion designed to block, beat away, deviate or keep away an incoming attack, including parries (parrare; verb: riparare), beats (rebattamenti), or breaks (romperimenti; verb: rompere)
Daga – “Dagger”. A short knightly weapon consisting of a thrusting blade and a hilt featuring a cylindrical handle with a disc (or rondel) on either side to secure the grip and prevent the weapon from slipping. One of its main functions was that of penetrating mail in the various openings left by plate armor–hence its being stiffer than a knife, acutely pointed, and being practically without an edge.
Decrescimento – “Decreasing”. The act of pulling the front foot back towards (but not past) the rear foot. The opposite of an accrescimento. Infinitive: decressere
Dislogadura – “Dislocation”. In abrazare, the act of wrenching a bone of the opponent’s limbs out of joint, without necessarily breaking it. Verb form: dislogare.
Ferrire – “To wound”. One of the Requirements of Abrazare; ferrire are strikes made to vulnerable areas such as the temples, eyes, nose, throat, floating ribs or groin.
Ferro – “Iron”. The tempered-metal component at either end of a polearm. It: ferro.
Fora di Strada – “Offline”. 1) A piece of footwork in which the foot moves away from the line of direction. 2) A way to hold the weapon so that it does not lie along the line of direction or offense. N.B. fora di strada is also used for a generic piece of footwork that is not parallel to the line of direction.
Forteza – “Strength”. One of the Requirements of Abrazare.
Ghiavarina – A polearm similar to a winged-spear, but with a longer iron that is broad enough to deliver cuts. As depicted in this manuscript, the ghiavarina also has two lateral spikes protruding on either side of the base of the iron. An early form of partizan, also called a “Bohemian ear-spoon”, the term ghiavarina may be etymologically related to “glaive.”
Guardia – “Guard”. See posta.
In Arme – “In armor.” One of the three major divisions of armizare, the others being senza arme (out of armour) and a cavallo (on horseback).
Incrossada, Incrossare – ” Crossing, to cross”.The act of meeting the opponent’s weapon with yours so as to form an X, or a cross–either in the course of a parry, of an attack, or of a probing action.
Instabile – “Mutable, changing”. A quality of a guard that makes it apt for fluidly changing into another, rather than waiting firmly in the same posture. Fiore offers a clue of this on Folio 36 Recto: “We have no stability, and we each seek deception: you think I’ll attack with a fendente, but I pass back instead and change guards.” Instabile poste are usually used for making covers and risposte.
Lanza – “Lance”. A term applying equally to the English lance and spear. Fiore shows the use of the lanza corta, or short spear, a weapon about 7′ in length that is apt for combat on both foot and on horseback, as opposed to the longer, heavier weapon specialized for mounted combat, or the long, massed infantry weapon called the picca (pike). Filippo Vadi adopts the teachings to the lanza longa, a weapon longer than the lanza corta but shorter than a picca — generally a weapon about 9′ – 10′ long.
Ligadura – “Bind”. One of Fiore dei Liberi’s Eight Requirements of Abrazare, a ligadura is a joint-lock; although demonstrated against the elbow, the founder makes it clear that ligadure can be applied to any joint. wrestling situation in which one traps one or more limbs of the opponent. It differs from a grapple (see presa) in the sense that a grapple does not necessarily have a locking quality. There are three types of ligadura, classified as sottana (low), mezzana (middle) and soprana (high).
Magistro – “Master”. 1) An individual exceptionally skilled in the art of arms; 2) A principal tier of actions in Fiore’s pedagogy. Master of the Fight, or First Master: a crowned figure representing a guard from which proceed the most logical actions from that position. Remedy Master or Second Master: a crowned figure representing the entry into the plays deriving from the guard, and the defenses against opponents who use the actions deriving from the main guard; the various plays from this Remedy Master are displayed as Students (see), who wear no crown but have a gold insignia below the knee. Counter Master or Third Master: a figure wearing both a crown and an insignia under his knee, who counters the actions of the Second Master and his students. Because they wear a crown, Masters are called “Kings.” Italian: re.
Mandritto – 1) A cut or cut-like blow you deliver from your right towards the left; 2) Mandritto Side: the side to the (your) right of the line (see strada).
Passare – “To pass” (Noun: passo) One of the four basic types of footwork in armizare, this is the act of stepping the rear foot forward, so that it becomes the front foot; a walking step with martial intent and body mechanics. A pass can be forward, backward (tornare), along the line of direction or oblique.
Passare alla Traversa – “Oblique Pass”. A pass that crosses the line of direction; i.e., the foot that is behind, as it passes forward, goes to the opposite side of the line of direction, typically after an offline accrescimento of the other foot.
Pedale – “Heel”. The part of a polearm consisting of the bottom part of the haft, opposite the main iron. Most Italian Masters who address the issue–including Fiore–advocate capping it with an additional iron cap or sharpened spike for offensive purposes.
Piu Forteza – “More Strength”. A defense against a dagger strike where the right hand grasps the left wrist, making for a stronger cover (see coverta).
Posta – “Position”. A deliberate position of the body, feet and, when applicable, the weapon(s); a fighting stance. Fiore gives us his own definition in the introduction: “A guard, or posta, is what you use to defend or ‘guard’ yourself against the opponent’s attack. A posta, or guard, is a ‘posture’ against the opponent, which you use to injure him without danger to yourself.” Most guards are represented in the drawings as a Master or King standing alone, without an opponent. Fiore classifies them as First Masters.
Presa – “Grab”. Another requirement of abrazare, prese are any grip or hold used while grappling.
Presteza – “Speed”. One of the Requirements of Abrazare
Pulsativa – “Smiting”. A quality of guards, which Fiore does not define, but that may involve the ability to deliver strong blows to the opponent or his weapons.
Punta – “Thrust”. To his basic six angles of attack, Fiore adds a seventh blow (see colpo), which is the linear attack with the weapon’s point. The thrust can also be made from the mandritto or riverso, and either overhand (punta sopramano) or underhand (punta sottomano), as well as straight up the middle (stoccata).
Punta Curta, Punta Falsa – “Short Thrust, False Thrust”. The sixteenth play of the second Remedy Master of Two-handed Sword in Zogho Largo. It consists of feinting a strong mezzano to the opponent’s head and, upon his attempted parry, turning your sword to the other side while grasping the blade with your left hand, and finishing with a thrust to the opponent’s neck or chest.
Remedio (Also: magistro remedio) – “Remedy”. Also called Second Master, it is a tier in Fiore’s pedagogy representing the entry-point of the various plays that can be performed from the guards, which Fiore calls First Masters (see posta).
Riverso or Manriverso – “Reverse” or “backhand”. 1) A cut or cut-like blow you deliver from your left towards the opponent’s right; 2) Riverso Side: the side to the (your) left of the line (see strada).
Rompere – “To break”. This verb is used in armizare in two ways: 1) In wrestling, the act of causing a fracture in the opponent’s bones, typically in the limbs. 2) In fencing, the act of strongly disrupting the opponent’s guard, design or attack.
Rompere di Punta – “Breaking of the Thrust”. An action designed to counter an incoming thrust, which Fiore introduces with the two-handed sword. It consists of beating the opponent’s thrust to the ground with your own weapon, and following with different kinds of risposte.
Scambiar di Punta – “Exchange of Thrusts”. An important recurring technique that Fiore first introduces by name with the two-handed sword, consisting in countering a thrust by meeting the opponent’s weapon with yours and simultaneously setting it aside while pushing a counterthrust. The Exchange of Thrust also forms the basis of spear-play and can also be used with the axe.
Scholaro – “Student.” 1) A person who learns the art of arms. 2) A secondary tier of actions in Fiore’s pedagogy representing all the various plays that the Remedy Master (see remedio) or the Counter Master (see contrario) can perform.
Segno della Spada – “Sign of the Sword”. A symbolic diagram of the seven blows of the sword superimposed over a human figure, surrounded by four animals, each representing an ideal quality of a swordsman. The animals are named in both Latin and Italian, depending on the copy of il Fior di Battaglia, but there placement and meaning is always the same:
Senza Arme – “Without armour” One of the three major divisions of armizare, the others being in arme (out of armour) and a cavallo (on horseback).
Spada – “Sword”. Any kind of sword, be it one or two-handed.
Spada a Dui Mani – “Sword in Two Hands”. The weapon generally referred to as a longsword; a weapon between 44 – 54″ long and 3 – 4 lbs in weight. Dei Liberi preferred a shorter weapon that could easily be wielded in one or two hands, on foot or on horse, whereas Filippo Vadi recommends a weapon that reaches to the armpit, with a hilt as long as one’s forearm.
Spada d’un Mano – “Sword in One Hand”. While this can imply an one-handed arming sword, Fiore dei Liberi uses the term to distinguish how the weapon is being wielded, and his techniques for the sword in one hand are shown with the same, long-hilted weapon he depicts in the two-handed sword section.
Spada en Arme – “Sword in Armour”. A term which both refers to use the normal spada a dui mani in armour, as well as a type of specialized weapon for judicial duels. This latter sword was a massive weapon, with a broadly flared point, like a boar-spear, a dull lower blade, a long, pointed crossguard and a sharply pointed or spiked pommel.
Stabile – “Stable”. 1) The adjective in volta stabile (see volta); 2) a characteristic of a guard or posture that makes it ideal for waiting motionless for the opponent.
Stanga – “Staff”. A polearm consisting of a cylindrical length of wood with no iron. It can be a stanga, or roughly man-sized or longer, a shorter bastone (roughly half the size of a regular staff, or no longer than the armpit), or an even shorter bastoncello, which is usually no longer than the arm. See bastoncello.
Strada – “Line”. The shortest distance between two opposing fighters. The Line of Direction is on the ground, while the Line of Offense is (traditionally) at chest-height. Far from being a concept only developed in subsequent times, Fiore names it (strada) and clearly considers it as a vital concept of the footwork and weapon-work he presents. He uses strada to mean both the line of direction and the line of offense. Modern Italian: line
Taglio – Cut. An attack that uses the shearing ability of an edged weapon to inflict damage on the opponent.
Tor di Spada – “Sword-Taking”. Weapon disarms. As with the ligadure, which use similar mechanical principles, Fiore shows three types of tor di spada, classified as sottana, mezzana and soprana.
Volta – “Turn”. The term is used generally by Fiore, such as in the volta di pomo, and also to describe a type of footwork that has a specific, tactical component. This latter classification has three variations:
Volta di Pomo – “Pommel Turn”. An action that follows a crossing (see), consisting of pivoting your sword around the opponent’s using his blade as a fulcrum, so that your sword finishes pommel-forward on the opposite side of the crossing. It usually involves a pommel-strike to the opponent’s face.
Zogho – “Play”. 1) An individual technique, taught in the tradition’s manuscripts by Masters and Students (see magistro and scholaro) that combines both a technical and tactical lesson, 2) a type of combat, related to the measure and line and the types of techniques thereby available. Modern Italian: gioco.
Zogho Largo – “Wide Play”. Only appears when discussing long weapons, such as the sword, spear or axe. At this measure, combatants may use the weapon’s edge and point, bind or grab the weapon’s head and, depending on the weapon’s length, make long-range unarmed attacks, such as kicks. Grabs will not reach any deeper than the opponent’s elbow; body-to-body contact is not possible.
Zogho Stretto – “Close Play”.Combat that is executed from grappling measure — i.e., from a distance that enables you to grapple the opponent after (at most) a single passing step. All grappling and knife fighting occurs at zogho stretto, whereas with long weapons it is normally arrived to through a crossing (see incrossada).
Roberto Laura was born in the beautiful San Remo at the Italian Riviera. In 1975 he moved to Heidelberg, Germany, were he lived till 1994. He currently lives with his family in Neckarsulm, close to Stuttgart.
After many years within boxing, Filipino and Japanese martial arts, in 2001 Roberto started training in the traditional Italian knife fencing systems with knife and stick. The systems taught by Maestro Roberto Laura are primarily the dueling and self-defense systems from Liguria, Apulia and Sicily, all probably from the 18th or early 19th century. He was the first to teach them outside of Italy.
In 2015, Maestro Laura founded TIKF – Traditional Italian Knife Fighting. The TIKF is not a system in itself, but is rather a “holding tank” for transmitting the different traditional arts he practices, trains and teaches. He also founded the AMICI-Group, a voluntary union of maestri, instructors and groups teaching the traditional Italian arts. Maestro Laura is also the head of the ASAMIR (Associazioni Sportive Arti Marziali Italiane Riunite)-Germany, an international recognized association dedicated to the preservation of the Italian and – most of all – the Sicilian fighting traditions.
Roberto began studying fencing 22 years ago, specializing in the two-handed sword of the Italian Renaissance . He attends many HEMA events in Europe and Italy as instructor. Author of Caino, a meticulously researched book on the history of Italy’s most important sword-manufacturing region, he is also the founder and director of Guardia di Croce, a small society in northern Italy dedicated to preserve and promoting Italian martial history. The society has a growing collection of original weapons and treatises, and maintains a private sala d’arme for the reconstruction and training in the school of Achille Marozzo. He is a member of the Federazione Italiana Scherma Work Group on historical fencing, and a founding member of Associazione Italiana Maestri d’Arme (AIMA).
Puck Curtis began studying historical fencing in 1992 and began researching Spanish fencing in 1994. He is the cofounder of the Destreza Translation and Research Project and maintains the Theory and Practice section for the website. Currently living in Davis, California, he is the primary historical fencing instructor for the Davis Fencing Academy. Puck is certified to teach classical Italian fencing (foil, dueling sword and sabre) as a Master at Arms through the San Jose Fencing Master’s program.
DEVON BOORMAN (CANADA) — MAESTRO D’ARMI, ACADEMIE DUELLO
Devon Boorman has practised martial arts for more than 20 years. Starting first with Asian martial arts, including Kung Fu and Arnis, Devon discovered western swordplay through the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) which connected him with a burgeoning community of martial artists and scholars studying Historical European Marital Arts throughout the world.
Devon has travelled extensively, first as a student, then as a competitor, teacher, and researcher. He has won more than 40 European martial arts competitions, and worked on both stage and screen as a stunt person and choreographer. Devon is actively involved in the translation, interpretation, and revival of Western Martial Arts from surviving historical manuals, some of which are on display at his school.
Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques. He has taught workshops and seminars throughout the world on both the study and practice of historical techniques and on practical combat implementation.
Devon is the co-founder and director of Academie Duello, which has been active in the Vancouver area since 2004. Under his leadership the school has become a centre for swordplay with over 200 active students, a store, and an arms and armour museum. The Academie is currently the largest WMA centre in the world; a model that Devon hopes to help others achieve as the Western arts grow in popularity.
ORAZIO BARBAGALLO (ITALY) — TRADITIONAL ITALIAN KNIFE AND STICK FIGHTING
Maestro Orazio Barbagallo was born 1955 in Riposto/Sicily. He started his path within the Bastone Ruotato (“circling stick”), the traditional shepherd stick from Riposto, in the year 1964 under the tutelage of Maestro Franco Mille. In the same year, Maestro Barbagallo started to learn the Sicilian street knife called scerra by Angelo Fazio, a highly respected street knife fencer. In the years 1979 to 1991 he further practiced different martial arts, such as Greco-Roman wrestling, Wu Shu, Hung Gar, Sanda and Kick Boxing, and he won several championships. In the 1990s, he began training in the traditional circling stick with Maestro Scapellinu, the head of this system, and in the 21st century, he has studied intensively with Maestro Salvatore Scarcella from Riposto, one of the few icons of the knife system of the Ruotato school, used both in the form duel and the street encounters.
Marco Quarta is a biomedical scientist at the School of Medicine of Stanford University, CA, USA. His research is focused on skeletal muscle physiology, biomechanics and on bioengineering of stem cells for regenerative medicine. He also teaches and promotes Italian Martial Arts (IMAs) at Stanford and in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Marco grew up in Bologna, Italy. His interest in Italian martial traditions started in the early 1990s with formal training in modern fencing, boxing and wrestling. As a co-founder, he served as senior instructor of the Nova Scrimia brotherhood from 1999 until present time. He is also a teacher of historic fencing at Scrimia Scuola d’Armi, and since the late 90s has been teaching and promoting IMAs with publications, lectures, festivals, tournaments and seminars at Italian and international Universities and fencing/martial arts symposia (such as University of Bologna, Stanford in California, Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium, or at the Bone Breakers MMA Academy in Mexico City). In 2008 he moved to California, and founded Nova Scrimia International; teaching and promoting IMAs in Canada, USA and Mexico.
Academically, Dr. Quarta has particular scientific research interests in the history, biomechanics and neurophysiology of duels and self defense in Western Martial Arts. He also practices, researches and promotes Italian regional/folk traditions of unarmed, knife and stick martial arts of living traditional schools and methods. He is currently producing and directing documentary series on traditional IMAs for the international community, closely working with the Masters, their families and their closed circles, who inherited these centuries-old living legacies.
Steven Muhlberger, PhD. (Ontario, Canada) — Professor of History (retired), Nipissing University
Dr. Muhlberger is a noted researcher on late medieval chivalry and its relation to practical warfare. He studied late ancient and medieval history at Michigan State University and the University of Toronto, and taught for over a quarter of a century at Toronto, Trent University, and Nipissing University. His intellectual interests are wide and he has published scholarly works on late ancient chronicles, the world history of democracy, and formal combats in the Middle Ages.
In connection with his study of chivalry, Dr. Muhlberger has translated and interpreted some of the key texts that describe the practice of jousting, tournaments, and other formal combats. His most important books on this subject are Jousts and Tournaments, Deeds of Arms, and Charny’s Men- at-Arms. These three works not only describe what was done by warriors who took part in these activities, but also analyse why they did it. His translation of Geoffroi de Charny’s Questions has made this unique text on the law of arms and war available to a wide audience.
He is the editor of Freelance Academy Press’s Deeds of Arms series, which provides modern readers interested in chivalric combats with accessible translations of the original accounts upon which our knowledge of such competitions is based.
In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Muhlberger is a long-time member of the pioneering medieval re-creation organization, the Society for Creative Anachronism. As a member, he took part in SCA-style combat re-creations for 40 years.
Tom Leoni was born in Switzerland and grew up in Northern Italy, where he acquired a thorough Classical education and a passion for historical Renaissance swordsmanship.
Since his coming to America in 1990, he has become known in the growing Western Martial Arts community for his work on historical Italian fencing theory and technique, especially on the Italian rapier and the Bolognese school. As a researcher, he has also shed considerable light on Renaissance dueling jurisprudence in Northern Italy.
His 2005 book The Art of Dueling presented the English-speaking public with the first critical translation of Salvator Fabris’ influential 1606 rapier-fencing title, “Scienza d’Arme.” Tom followed in 2010 with Venetian Rapier: Nicoletto Giganti’s 1606 Rapier Fencing Curriculim, The Complete Renaissance Swordsman: Antonio Manciolino’s Opera Nova of 1531 and Ridolfo Capoferro’s Art and Practice of Fencing.
Tom has also contributed articles to various Western Martial Arts anthologies–such as SPADA II and In the Service of Mars: Proceedings from the Western Martial Arts Workshop (vols I and II)–as well as to historical swordsmanship magazines such as WMA Illustrated. He has privately released a successful translation of Fiore de’ Liberi’s “Fior di Battaglia” (Getty MS version), and is currently in preparation (with IAS founding member Gregory Mele) of a four volume critical edition of all four of the surviving manuscripts.
As a swordsmanship instructor, Tom Leoni regularly appears at International events and reunions both in the US and abroad–including WMAW, ISMAC, 4W, VISS, NHSC, the Australian Historical Fencing Convention and others.
Tom’s formal education ranges from the humanities to classical music to business administration. He now lives in Alexandria, Virginia, where he pursues a Ph. D. in medieval studies at Catholic University, and teaches historical swordsmanship via his own academy, the Order of the Seven Hearts.
DANIEL JAQUET, PH.D. — UNIVERSITY OF GENEVA (SWITZERLAND)
RESEARCHER IN ARMOURED COMBAT, AUTHORSHIP AND AUTHORITY IN MARTIAL ARTS AND CHIVALRIC CULTURE OF THE LATE MIDDLE AGES
Daniel Jaquet is a medievalist, with a background in literary studies and interest in history of science and material culture in the early modern period. He received his P.hD. in history at the University of Geneva in 2013. He taught at the Unive rsity of Geneva and Lausanne (2008-2015) and was a visiting scholar at the Centre pour l’Histoire des sciences et des techniques (University of Paris, Pantheon Sorbonne 1, 2011). His teaching and research specializations are the history of warfare, the anthropology of single combat, ludic practices and knowledge transmission in technical literature at the end of the Middle Age and the beginning of the Renaissance. He actively works toward recognition of the field of Historical European Martial Arts studies, notably by proposing methods of modern-day laboratory-based experimentation.
Arditi Prize winner in 2006 for his master’s thesis, his doctoral thesis, Combattre en armure à la fin du Moyen Âge et au début de la Renaissance, concerns the praxes of armoured combat at the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the Renaissance, in the light of the surviving technical manuals. A portion of the practical experimentation that accompanied this work was presented as a video at the exhibition L’Epée. Usages, mythes et symboles (“Sword Uses, Myths and symbols.”), organized by the Cluny Museum, Paris in 2011. An active author and article contributor, he also served as editor for L’Art Chevaleresque du Combat. le Maniement des Armes a Travers les l Ivres de Combat and co-founded Acta Periodica Duellatorum (APD) the first academic yearbook of publications related to Historical European Martial Arts.
A martial practitioner as well as an academic researcher, Dr. Jaquet has a martial art experiences in medieval and German and Italian traditions, Judo and Yoseikan Budo.
Robert N. Charrette (Virginia, USA) — Independent Scholar
An accomplished author, illustrator and historian of 14th-century daily life, Mr. Charrette has devoted his life to combining a childhood love of knights and related culture, with his artistic training and his avocation as a “living historian”. After involvement in nascent “medieval reenactment” in America, in the 1980s, he was first introduced to the work of Fiore dei Liberi via a photocopy of Novati’s Pisani-Dossi facsimile with rough translations pasted over the text. It would be over a decade before he could seriously return to the question of “how did they fight?”
Fortunately, about the same time he became involved with creating a living history group interpreting English forces in the Hundred Years War, a group that became La Belle Compagnie, which allowed him to indulge his interest in material culture and archaeological re-creation. The fruit of this labor was 1381: The Peel Affinity (with La Belle Compagnie), an illustrated look at a year in the life of a single knightly household in rural England, andThus, when he returned to the study of armizare, he was able to bring the skills he had developed in reconstructing 14th-century material culture to reconstructing the martial art within its original context. The end result was Armizare: The Chivalric Martial Art System of il Fior di Battaglia (2011).
Jason is the principal instructor and curriculum director for Les Maîtres d’Armes. Active since 2001 in historical swordsmanship, he began his love affair with the sword at a young age, and finally fulfilled his dreams of becoming a swordsman when he discovered the Codex Wallerstein and Secrets of Medieval German Swordsmanship by Christian H. Tobler. Following on the heels of these discoveries were yet more discoveries, as the online community grew: Fiore dei Liberi and the I.33 or Lutgerus manuscript, all of which he studied to a greater or lesser degree.
Founding Les Maîtres d’Armes with Bernard Emmerich in 2005, Jason focused his studies on a single tradition, that of l’Arte dell’armizare, to better progress in his training. Since then, he has developed curricula for all the weapons of the system, as well as a ranking system which he has now aligned with the goals of the IAS.
Leveraging his experience as a teacher and his ongoing studies in pedagogy at the University of Sherbrooke, Jason continues to refine the curriculum and help give direction through qualifying the Quality of Execution (QoE) model used by the IAS.
Since the founding of Les Maîtres d’Armes, he has taught internationally at events such as the Western Martial Arts Workshop, the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium, Borealis Swordplay Symposium, and Chivalric Weekend, and has fought publicly in both martial challenges and armoured deeds of arms in these venues, among others.
Gregory Mele has had an abiding love for all things medieval since early childhood, melding his love of history into his collegiate studies, graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with degrees in History and Journalism. He currently focuses on the Italian martial traditions from the 14th to mid-16th centuries, for which he co-founded the Chicago Swordplay Guild in 1999 to create a formal venue to study historical European swordsmanship and its adjunct arts. In October of that year he also organized and hosted the first Western Martial Arts Workshop as an attempt to promote these arts among practitioners throughout North America. The workshop now draws participants from three continents. The Guild itself has continued to flourish and now has a permanent, full-time sala d’arme in Chicago, as well as chapters in Wisconsin, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Texas.
He has been an invited instructor at the Western Martial Arts Workshop, the Schola St. George Swordplay Symposium, in the San Francisco Bay area, the Symposium on the Western Arts of Swordsmanship through History, at the Royal Armouries, Leeds, UK, the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium and a number of private seminars in both the USA and Canada.
Greg has a number of publications as an author, co-author, editor and contributor including Flowers of Battle: The Complete Martial Works of Fiore dei Liberi (with Tom Leoni and Ken Mondschein), Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi: the 15th Century Swordsmanship of Master Filippo Vadi (co-authored with Luca Porzio), contributions to SPADA: An Anthology of Swordsmanship and two-volumes of In the Service of Mars: Proceedings from the Western Martial Arts Workshops 1999 – 2009 (2010). He authored the historical Western martial arts entries for the 2010 edition of the Martial Arts of the World: An Encyclopedia of History and Innovation, and was regular contributor to Western Martial Arts Illustrated, on whose editorial board he served. He is the co-author (with Tom Leoni) of the first volume of Flowers of Battle: The Complete Martial Works of Fiore dei Liberi (2016), a multi-volume translation and critical edition of the master’s works. Greg is also the author of the forthcoming The Art of Arms: Medieval Italian Swordsmanship (2016), the first in an instructional series on the martial arts of Fiore dei Liberi. Greg has also presented several papers on this topic, from armizare to the judicial duel at the International Congress on Medieval Studies in Kalamazoo, Michigan, and organized and co-hosted one day symposiums on the western martial arts at both the University of Chicago and Loyola University.
Sean Hayes is a fencing master trained in classical Italian fencing pedagogy under Dr. William M. Gaugler at the San Jose State University Fencing Masters Program, graduating in 1999. He has studied Western Martial Arts since the early 1990′s, and is also a researcher, teacher and practitioner of Fiore dei Liberi’s L’arte dell’Armizare, including a focus on the armored aspects of medieval martial arts, actively using his training under Maestro Gaugler to assist his research in the Historical European Martial Arts. Through Maestro Gaugler, he has a primary master-student lineage back to Tommaso Bosco e Fucile, an 18th century Neopolitan master, and a secondary lineage back to Giovanni Battista Marcelli, a 17th century master.
Hayes is a full-time teacher and practitioner of Historical European Martial Arts, teaching six centuries of European martial arts privately through his own school, Northwest Fencing Academy, in Eugene, Oregon. He also teaches classical fencing and martial arts at Lane Community College. Hayes has presented academic papers on L’Arte dell’Armizare at the International Congress on Medieval Studies, the University of Chicago, the Renaissance Society of America Conference in Venice, Britain’s Royal Armouries, and the American Association of Italian Studies.
During the last 14 years he has taught and fought multiple times at the Western Martial Arts Workshop in Racine Wisconsin, the Symposium on the Western Arts of Swordsmanship through History (SWASH) at Britain’s Royal Armouries in Leeds, the Vancouver Swordplay Symposium International in British Columbia, the International Swordfighting and Martial Arts Convention in Michigan, Borealis Swordplay Symposium in Quebec, Lysts on the Lake, Longpoint 2014 in Maryland, and sat as a member of the Examination Board for all levels of fencing instructors at the San Jose State University Fencing Masters Program.
In 2009 he founded the Armoured Deeds of Arms, a tournament featured at the Western Martial Arts Workshop in Racine Wisconsin, and in 2010 he co-founded the Companions of the Seven Swords, an armored company that now hosts the Armoured Deeds of Arms in a variety of venues. He is also a founding member of the Chivalric Fighting Arts Association.
He is the author of Memory and Performance: Visual and Rhetorical Strategies of Medieval Martial Arts Texts in Can These Bones Come To Life, a record of proceedings at the Kalamazoo Medieval Conference, and The Importance of Skill Progressions in Studying Western Martial Arts, an article featured in the book In the Service of Mars, and several blog articles.