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I see you have studied your Agrippa

Camillo Agrippa
Camillo Agrippa
photo from ARMA

"I see you have studied your Agrippa."  So said Inigo Montoya to The Man in Black in The Princess Bride, referring to Camillo Agrippa's, Treatise on the Science of Arms, published in Rome in 1553.

This holiday, give the gift of fencing history.  Classical fencing texts are being translated and historical fencers are studying these texts to create new and exciting fencing styles based on these old tomes.

Reprints of these historical fencing texts may be found at local booksellers, or ordered through them.  I have found both Barnes & Noble on Kingston Pike and Borders on Morrell Road to have a good selection of martial texts or quite willing to order them. 

While modern sport fencing is played very differently than historical and classical fencing, the connection to the past remains intact.  Men (and women) still toe the mark with a piece of steel in their hand, seeking to overcome someone who is as equally determined to overcome them.  Both are seeking, ultimately, to learn something about themselves through the discipline of and trial by steel. 

These modern sport fencers are the product of a long line of fencers, extending back through the dim recesses of history. Make no mistake.  The modern sport fencer is just as much a fencer as Fiore de' Liberi da Premariacco, the 15th Century Bolognese fencing master, or Giacomo Di Grassi, one of the master fencers of the 16th Century.    Although the modern sport fencer may be playing by different rules, the heart, mind and spirit are the same.

While the techniques contained in the old texts may not be very useful on the contemporary strip, the books are a spiritual link to the masters who made fencing their life and who, as such, have touched the lives of all of those who have come after.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  May your blade stay sharp and bright!

See you on the piste.  En garde!



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