The Salmon Lord wrote:I'd agree on a lot of that except I'd substitute Rapier for Smallsword. As somebody who studies early smallsword its very clear to me there is a step change in techniques between smallsword and rapier. I'd argue a lot of what is perceived as rapier from the outside is in fact not really classic era rapier. Its really epee or smallsword with a cup hilt.
Rapier of somebody like Capo Ferro is not linear, the tempos are different and the basic techniques are very different from Liancour or Hope, let alone modern fencing. Try a disengage into quarte beat and thrust with a proper rapier and you just get in a mess, the sword is too big and clumsy. Basic stuff in Courtsword.
Hi, (first post here)
I would agree with Mitlov on this one. I've been fencing with rapiers for a number of years as well as modern weapons. I would say that the majority of what I do with modern weapons translates pretty well to rapier. I really don't think that the differences between foil and rapier are all that much different than the difference between foil and epee, or foil and sabre. Yes, it's a different weapon, and a different game. The mechanics are different and the tactics are different, but it is not difficult to pick up if you have a grounding in modern weapons. I always love teaching rapier to someone with experience in modern fencing because they already know how to do most of it. Then, all I have to do is focus on some of the distinctives of rapier instead of starting from scratch.
Regarding Capoferro, I find the following relevant:
Many in seeking the narrow measure disengage and counterdisengage, perform feints and counterfeints, stringer a palmo and more of the sword, and step from every side, and twist their bodies and stretch them, and retreat in many whimsical fashions, which are things done outside of true reason, and found to deceive the foolish and make the play difficult...
Yes, Capoferro does mention non-linear footwork in his text, and he describes what to do against an opponent who continually circles, but at distance, I think his ideal is fairly linear. I don't think that he approves much of continually circling your opponent. Images in the plates where someone has stepped off of the line are typically instances of a counterattack or a passing attack, which (as has been pointed out) modern fencers still do, and have ample room to perform on a piste.
Regarding beats, plate 16 of Capoferro describes an interesting action:
[starting from the opponent's engagement in third] If D had been an intelligent person, when he disengaged he would have disengaged with a beating of his enemy's sword with his edge, giving him a thrust to the face or a riverso to the arm...
I've always interpreted this as a circular beat in fourth followed by a thrust. Yes, its far faster to do it with a smallsword or a foil, but it doesn't seem to be unheard of in rapier.
Regarding living traditions. Yes, there are still living traditions. My Maestro's teacher was a student of Aldo Nadi. There were a couple of times when something in Nadi's book confused me (circular parry of 6th followed by a circular parry of 4th) and my Maestro could explain and demonstrate to me what he meant because his teacher had learned the actions from Nadi and had passed that down to him.