Downloadable content & Articles
Because every good fencer needs knowledge,
don’t be lazy and open your books
Find in the following links some of the docs I have been writing along my career in order to assist all new fencers to approach to Destreza (Verdadera, Common and Nova). Beware that the links may change from time to time, since all the documents might be reedited eventually, adding new information or improving the existing one. After the docs, you can find some direct writings, usually in response to doubts or inquires from some followers.
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Find here The Epic Study & Interpretation of the 1805 Manuel de Brea’s Destreza-Fencing Treatise. This treatise is an easy approach to Destreza and it is recommended to all new “Diestros” before venturing to more complex treatises.
New Update: 30th of March 2022
Andre’s Destreza Glossary This is a Destreza Glossary, a compendium of words (176 entries) and concepts from the old Spanish Martial Art of Fencing, not necessary to be just Verdadera Destreza, but also Vulgar or Common Destreza.
Last update: 23rd of May 2023. Some corrections added as well as new techniques, specially from Common Destreza.
Historical Fencing Treatises Timeline: A pocket list of treatises that everyone should have in their computers.
Last Update: 1st Feb. 2022
Rapier Gear Safety Guidelines: This document aims to provide a general guideline regarding gear for achieving a safe practice during the exercise of Rapier Swordsmanship, a very useful text for many HEMA or Historical Fencing instructors as well as many clubs and organizations that want to establish a protocol. Last Update: 15th April 2022
Fantastic Gear Items & Where to Find Them This document includes many links in order to recommend models and brands of gear in order to help new fencers to acquire a suitable material for the practice of Rapier Swordsmanship. Last Update: 29th July 2021
Hema Footwork Find in here some footwork advice for Historical Fencing, the doc doesn’t only talk about how to move but also gives some hints about the perfect shoes for practicing.
Other links of Interest
⚔ Online library to a great variety of docs by Schola Artis Gladii et Armorum, this must be your first bookmark in your browser app.
⚔ Wiktenauer is a great reference for books, manuscripts and treatises, it must be in your list.
⚔ De Brea 1805 Translation by John Cropper, the first open translation to English of such treatise.
⚔ Smallsword project by Scott Wright. Enjoy a great variety of smallsword information of all types including treatises, interpretations and translations.
⚔ A beautiful number of translations and many other sources related to Iberian Swordmanship by Tim Rivera.
⚔ Variety of references for many Destreza sources, which excludes my page for unknown reasons. A work of compilation by Doug Kozlowski.
⚔ Choose your Smallsword! Find in this link a list of Smallsword sellers, made by Finn Beazlie.
SOURCES in FRENCH
⚔ Here a blog from my colleague Jérôme Vigeant called “Les Élucubrations d’un Escrimeur Vendéen au Québec” in which you can find a lot of HEMA content in French.
⚔ Find a French translation of Luis Díaz de Viedma (1639) by Joanna Roux et MO Blattlin in here, which comes from the French HEMA Federation website .
TAUROMAQUIA & DESTREZA 6th November 2021 – by André Hajjar Sesé
Days ago I received a message from a follower, Peter Jaimez, he had a very interesting question in hand:
Is there any link between “Tauromaquia” (Bullfighting) and Destreza?
Then he showed me an amazing article, from about 60 years ago, in Sports Illustrated, called “A Brave Matadora Explains the Bullfight”. Which you can find in here or in the picture-links added after thee article.
The principal subject was about the struggles of Patricia McCormick, an American lady who practiced bullfighting and had to deal with an art dominated by males and non-Americans. Apparently she bested all of his rivals or she would, if she had any fair opportunity to become an official matadora. In the second part of the article McCormick explains to the American reader the art of bullfighting, and uses geometrical maps to do so. Something that to Mr. Jaimez made him think a lot about Destreza and there it was his question. I told him I do not understand a lot about Tauromaquia, something I really don’t enjoy much, even if it’s in my Spanish “culture”. I don’t like seeing an animal suffering for fun. However I do understand there are many skills and knowledge there that is worth to be considered and studied. The diagrams from the article were indeed very interesting. My answer was: A fight is a fight, even if is between equal fencers or between an armed man and a toro (bull) and there are aspects that can be universal. Historically, there is no direct link appointing the causation of one art following the other, but one thing is certain: the weapons of the torero (matador) can well remind to a civilian gentleman of 17th century who knows Destreza de la espada, and might well use the cape and rapier to defend his honor and life. First of all we must know that the word diestro means “skilled” and it was used a nickname for a fencer of Destreza user but also as a title/nickname of the matadores. Following what I see in the article the geometry behind the steps in the movement of the “veronica” by the torero can be translated in Destreza as a “Mixto de Transversal y Curvo”. In the veronica the torero moves aside, diagonally and rotates over his body escaping the forward line of the animal, the same way a Diestro fencer with a mixto de transversal y curvo approaches to the opponent and moves aside to do a disarm, while puts his own sword away, imitating the passing of the torero with his capote (cape). In the treatise of Verdadera Destreza by Manuel de Brea 1805 (which you can find translated and interpreted in my website) a curious situation reminded me to a bull fight. De Brea explains that he fought a famous Master, who tried to trample him in a very savage way, and he had to avoid the whole body of his opponent by doing a “trepidante” step towards the left.
Moreover in the article there is a mention of a movement by the torero called “Natural”, a passing with the cape that follows the force of the toro. Coincidentally, in Destreza, a “Natural” movement is the one of a sword going down, following the force of gravity. I am sure there is more to untangle in this subject and if anyone is intrigued and want to offer their view is always welcome. To me there is certainly some correlations but the reason is simple: the geometrical principals of fighting, body dynamics and tempo are universals. La Verdadera Destreza is an art that described “scientifically” all such principles and creates a base that is not new but can be used as a rule to measure any other art involving the body movement and an opponent.
Thank you Peter Jaimez for writing me every now and then and pushing me to reveal more secrets of Destreza. Thanks also to you reader, that is the reason I write these lines in her.
Images of the original article:
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