Monday, 26 December 2011

Armizare book and 1.33 video from Agilitas

With my rekindled enthusiasm for fencing I decided to treat myself to a swordy book and a how to video. I purchased Robert Charrette's book "Armizare" and the Agilitas video on 1.33 sword and buckler.

First impressions. Both are excellently produced and quite slick. I have not heard of Mr. Charrette previously but he has put together a concise book on Fiore, which runs through the plays of the various sections and includes black and white photos to accompany the descriptions. While some of his interpretations of the plays differ somewhat from what I'm used to, they do make sense. One of the best features of his book for me are the pages which show the various plays in nequence on a single page. I always have trouble remembering the order of the crossing of the swords at giocco largo/stretto with the sword in two hands, let alone the sword in one. With "Armizare" you can have just that page open in front of you and work through the plays in order. Also, each individual play is named and  numbered at the edge of each page. Very handy! Particularly fetching are the pictures of fighting in harness! Lastly, with this book, I remembered how to do the sword disarms "tor di spada" using the sword hilt. I had been shown ages ago and could only remember the first and third, but not the second. All in all, a very useful book and one I would recommend getting.

The Agilitas DVD was put together by Hammaborg members and sword and buckler afficionados Roland Warzecha and Tobias "Toke" Wenzel. I've had the pleasure to take classes with Roland at previous Swordfish events and have seen both gentlemen spar vigorously with each other and others in this the oldest treatise-based sword system in Europe. The DVD is clear and gives some very good tips as to how to approach the system. I was particularly impressed by the clear repetitions of actions and attentiuon to small details I had previously overlooked when practicing 1.33. In particular, the extension of the cut/thrust using an extra hip rotation rather than an over extion of the arm. I liked this so much I will incorporate it into longsword also. I guess I should be doing it already but the hip extension gives at least 5 cm (if not more) reach on a cut/thrust. Combined with other modifications of cutting this should snap the sword tip out at high speed and land from a farther distance than i could previously get. So, although this is a basic thing, I will need to work on this to maximise the effiiciency of my cuts. Also, the Hammaborg interpretation of the Stichslag is very interesting. I had previously just thought that it was simply a thrust. Instead, they see it more as a push-cut. If the point is on line, thrust, but if slightly off, thrust anyway cutting with a pushing motion of the sword. Nice! Although the DVD includes some plays and tactics, i.e. what to do when in the first ward and you are beset by habschilt, etc. it does not deal ward by ward with the various besetments/obsessio shown in the manual. Instead it gives you a basic intro and some exercises to do in both solo and pairs. As such I believe it gives a superb foundation for further work in this fascinating fighting style.

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