Wednesday, September 28, 2005

SCA: Instructing at Fighters' Collegium

The Shire of An Dun Theine is hosting the Kingdom Fighters' Collegium this year, and Seneschal Ricarte Berenguer Halcon de Catalonia (known as "Hawk") has asked me to teach a class on fencing in the style of Joseph Swetnam.

I've mentioned Swetnam before. He's the author of Schoole of the Noble and Worthy Science of Defence, a manual on rapier fencing published in 1617. Unlike his contemporary, George Silver, Swetnam was a great fan of the long-bladed rapier, especially with a long dagger to accompany it.

For the most part, Swetnam's style is what fencers in the modern SCA would call a "range game". He prefers to stand well back from his opponent, using distance and the threat of a counterthrust as primary defenses. An attacker will have to cover a lot of ground to land a thrust and even more for a cut, giving the defender plenty of time to parry and counterthrust. Of course, this could lead to long, tedious duels, but Swetnam (who was a prize fighter in England) was much more concerned with staying alive than he was with finishing a duel quickly.

I'll be discussing Swetnam's stances for the single rapier and for rapier and dagger. Basic parries, basic attacks, and feints will all be up for discussion. I can also bring up a couple of the "tricks" that I've discovered in the course of my Swetnam research.

The Kingdom Fighters' Collegium is schedule for the weekend of November 12th at the Woodsmen of the World camp in Royal, Alabama.

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