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L'art de faire des armes - Saint-Martin - 1804

PostPosted: 05 Mar 2010 23:26
by Matt Galas
Greetings, All!

I don't know if anyone has posted this link to Google Books already, but here is Saint-Martin's L'art de faire des armes réduit à ses vrais principes (The Art of Fencing Reduced to Its True Principles). This was published in Vienna by Janne Schraemble in 1804. Saint-Martin was a French emigré who fled the Revolution and ended up in Austria. He was an imperial Austrian fencing master at the Maria Theresa Fencing Academy in Vienna, and a former officer of cavalry (presumably, the French cavalry of the former royal army). Saint-Martin says he was a student of the famous Danet in Paris, and claims 30 years of experience as a fencing master.

His book is fascinating in a number of respects. In addition to being a fairly standard work on smallsword fencing, he includes a long and detailed section on the Espadon (military broadsword) on foot and on horseback. This has to be one of the most detailed works on French sabre fencing in existance, and is much more detailed than, say, the English sword exercises of the time (which were, in fact, based on the Austrian miitary broadsword system). On foot, it includes a fair amount of off-line footwork, which is unusual for the time. On horseback, there is a good deal of feinting followed by cuts. He also includes his version of the famous Coup de Jarnac (an upward cut from the left, which he says is very difficult to parry). This is the only place I've ever seen this in a fencing manual.

He gives a brief history of fencing; mentions other authors he has read (Girard, Angelo); and gives rules for a salle d'armes. He also gives a number of practical comments, such as criticizing the practice of using singlesticks for broadsword training. His comments on mounted combat are very interesting, and he teaches methods for encountering several opponents at once, using a moulinet à quatre faces (moulinet in four directions) to oppose them. Considering there are accounts of British cavalry using a similar technique to fight off multiple opponents on horseback, this is pretty fascinating stuff.

Unfortunately, the Austrians are going to have to struggle with French if they want to study these imperial Austrian sword arts. So eine Schade! But in comparison to other works on fencing from the time, this is much more interesting than most, so it is definitely worth the effort.

Here is the link (full text, 72 illustrations): ... re&f=false


- Matt Galas

Re: L'art de faire des armes - Saint-Martin - 1804

PostPosted: 06 Jun 2011 15:11
by admin
I wonder if this is connected to Christmann's manual of 1838... ... many-1838/

Re: L'art de faire des armes - Saint-Martin - 1804

PostPosted: 23 Jun 2013 11:29
by Phil C
English translation of the introduction and smallsword section here- ... 81781.html

Re: L'art de faire des armes - Saint-Martin - 1804

PostPosted: 21 Jan 2014 01:23
by Phil C
English translation of the sabre section for foot, with a hint of horse, here- ... 09109.html