At SHMS we teach the use of the most iconic duelling weapon of them all, the rapier, from original 17th century sources. Italian fencing systems have always favoured the thrust . By the early 1600 the long, slender and quick rapier was the swordsman’s choice weapon for self defence. This was also facilitated by the development of swordmaking, which allowed these long blades to be trustworthy instruments of death (not an easy task!) while being objects of great beauty at the same time.
The teaching of the rapier was begun by our school’s founder Guy Windsor from Ridolfo Capoferro’s fencing manual “Great Representation of the Art and Use of Fencing” from 1610 and we continue to study and teach this work faithfully. However, our teachers might throw in some insight from other masters of the contemporary Italian school, such as Salvator Fabris and Nicoletto Giganti. Of all historical and even modern fencing disciplines, the rapier manuals provide some of the best descriptions of fencing postures, blade relations, hand and foot movement, measure and tempo. The student of this weapon will be satisfied simultaneously by the electric sensation of landing a well formed thrust on his/her opponent and the eloquent exposition of the art of fencing in the manuals.
Combat with Sword, Staff, and Lance; Fiore Furlan dei Liberi da Premariacco (Italian, about 1340/1350 – before 1450); Padua (or) Italy Venice Italy; about 1410; Tempera colors, gold leaf, silver leaf, and ink on parchment; Leaf: 27.9 x 20.6 cm (11 x 8 1/8 in.); Ms. Ludwig XV 13, fol. 31