Beginning Smallsword

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Beginning Smallsword

Postby JRM » 13 Jul 2015 16:42

I've read the other posts on this forum about training swords etc, so have a good idea of how to get started however I still had a few questions and know this forum seems to have experienced members who practice smallsword. Does anyone have a recommendation of a good smallsword text to begin with? I'm leaning more towards the French School of smallsword but am open to suggestions.

I have already purchased A Modern Manual of Smallsword Fencing by Martin Doughtery to help with any unfamiliar terminology but am looking for a recommendation of a period manual to study. The simpler the better.

As a bit of background my experience is in Highland Broadsword (I teach in Canada and run a branch of the Cateran Society). I also did a couple years of Italian Rapier (mostly Fabris).

The reason I'm interested is because many of the Broadsword manuals are advocates for learning smallsword as well. I think this could be very useful in understanding the style I already practice and help our club to develop.

I am ok with sources in French or in English. I also have no preference as to time period, whether it's ealier french sources or later British or American military manuals.

Thanks for your help!
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby Thearos » 13 Jul 2015 21:06

Dr Thurston's book, alas, is currently unavailable

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Newer-Shorter-E ... o+thurston

-- but Hope's new method is simple, vigorous and exciting.
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby JRM » 13 Jul 2015 21:27

Thanks, it looks like they may have some on the Wyvern Media website
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby Arno P » 14 Jul 2015 00:14

As PhilC's not posted yet I'll mention his nice translation of Girard's relatively early smallsword treatise:
http://www.wyvernmedia.co.uk/shop#ecwid ... t=43536257
Also included are some helpful starting tips on training, equipment, interpretation, etc.

Where in Canada are you? If you're anywhere near Toronto there's a fine knowledgeable and skilled Canadian fellow who aided in the translation of above treatise and who is always looking for people interested in taking up smallsword.
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby JRM » 14 Jul 2015 01:09

Unfortunately that's pretty far from me although I pass through there on flights from time to time. I'm located in Winnipeg Manitoba. Thank you for the link Arno.
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby Phil C » 14 Jul 2015 08:26

There's a nice introduction to the later style of smallsword here-
http://www.salvatorfabris.org/SectionSmallsword.shtml
--Effete Snob--
"I have a sword to defend my honour. I have a stick to answer those without honour."

http://www.blackboarswordsmanship.co.uk/
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby knirirr » 14 Jul 2015 09:19

Thearos wrote:Dr Thurston's book, alas, is currently unavailable

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Newer-Shorter-E ... o+thurston

-- but Hope's new method is simple, vigorous and exciting.


Thanks for the plug!

I hear from the publishers that there might be a move to release it as an ebook at some point. Soon, I hope.

JRM wrote:As a bit of background my experience is in Highland Broadsword (I teach in Canada and run a branch of the Cateran Society). I also did a couple years of Italian Rapier (mostly Fabris).


You might find a look at the New Method of interest as it is also supposed to apply to the smallsword and spadroon, and does in fact work rather well with them.

I've put the full text on line here (though please do buy my book anyway ;-):

http://linacreschoolofdefence.org/Libra ... index.html
"FOR, to my certain knowledge I can affirm, that no People in the World, have a swifter Hand in Thrusting, nor any, a more loose or uncertain Parade, than the French."
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby JRM » 14 Jul 2015 14:26

Phil C wrote:There's a nice introduction to the later style of smallsword here-
http://www.salvatorfabris.org/SectionSmallsword.shtml


Thanks Phil, I had read that years ago but totally forgot about it unil you posted the link. It looks like a good place to start!
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby JRM » 14 Jul 2015 14:33

knirirr wrote:

I hear from the publishers that there might be a move to release it as an ebook at some point. Soon, I hope.

You might find a look at the New Method of interest as it is also supposed to apply to the smallsword and spadroon, and does in fact work rather well with them.

I've put the full text on line here (though please do buy my book anyway ;-):

http://linacreschoolofdefence.org/Libra ... index.html


Thanks, an Ebook would be great and would save quite a bit on international shipping; shipping to Canada tends to be expensive.

I have read the new method but never studied it in depth and anything from the hanging guard is immediately favorable to a broadsword fencer since it is considered the ultimate defensive guard!
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby Phil C » 15 Jul 2015 11:49

De Brye gives a nice, simple introduction to the art and how it is to be learned and practiced-
http://linacreschoolofdefence.org/Libra ... dology.pdf
--Effete Snob--
"I have a sword to defend my honour. I have a stick to answer those without honour."

http://www.blackboarswordsmanship.co.uk/
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby JRM » 16 Jul 2015 04:38

Thanks Phil!
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby MEversbergII » 17 Jul 2015 02:37

Thanks for the link, Phil!

Here is one I have recently started reading through: https://goo.gl/0AHtTW

It's a military swordsmanship manual for the United States, published 1850. It has foil training as the first part, and it is pretty detailed. Unfortunately, it's pretty late smallsword so I don't think it was intended to be "combative". I could be dead wrong, though. Not gotten all the way through, very busy.

Sadly, it appears that many of the plates are missing.

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby JRM » 17 Jul 2015 05:13

MEversbergII wrote:
Here is one I have recently started reading through: https://goo.gl/0AHtTW

It's a military swordsmanship manual for the United States, published 1850. It has foil training as the first part, and it is pretty detailed. Unfortunately, it's pretty late smallsword so I don't think it was intended to be "combative". I could be dead wrong, though. Not gotten all the way through, very busy.

Sadly, it appears that many of the plates are missing.

M.


Yes I've read through it in the past a few times for the Broadsword material. The broadsword material at least is heavily influenced by the Angelo style of broadsword/cutlass/saber.
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby MEversbergII » 17 Jul 2015 16:48

JRM wrote:
MEversbergII wrote:
Here is one I have recently started reading through: https://goo.gl/0AHtTW

It's a military swordsmanship manual for the United States, published 1850. It has foil training as the first part, and it is pretty detailed. Unfortunately, it's pretty late smallsword so I don't think it was intended to be "combative". I could be dead wrong, though. Not gotten all the way through, very busy.

Sadly, it appears that many of the plates are missing.

M.


Yes I've read through it in the past a few times for the Broadsword material. The broadsword material at least is heavily influenced by the Angelo style of broadsword/cutlass/saber.


Ah, then you're all set there, then!

I have not read through Angelo's broadsword yet, as I've not done any broadsword stuff. How would you rate this manual's broadsword material?

Also, are the plates actually MIA (there's one for foil equipment, and then a half-rendered numbered cut page), or do I just not know up from down?

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby JRM » 17 Jul 2015 17:22

In any copy I've been able to find on the Internet the plates are missing. Angelos Broadsword lessons are good. If you feel like trying it out and don't have a local instructor you could always join the Cateran Society online apprenticeship program, just contact Christopher Thompson, his info is on the Cateran society Website. Angelo is a solid system and I think it's a good idea to supplement it with other Highland Broadsword sources like Antipugilism, Thomas Matthewson etc. Henry C. Wayne is basically identical to Angelo except his st georges guard has the point higher than the hilt of the sword whereas angelo has his sloping downwards. Also the cuts suggested by Wayne are more from the wrist. I think that has more to do With Highland Broadsword of Angelo being a little heavier and having a completely closed guard, than the Spadroon type broadsword used by Wayne in the illustrations. Angelo uses more of the wrist and the elbow in his Highland Broadsword.
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby Dave B » 24 Jul 2015 14:42

I'm a big fan of McArthur's 'The Army and Navy Gentleman's Companion; or a New and Complete Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Fencing'.

It's very late, and not terribly combative, but it's the first fencing treatise I know of that was deliberately written so that you could learn without the assistance of a fencing master, apparently to give young navy gentlemen something to do at sea.

When I started I used it a lot to understand the basics, what the terms meant and how techniques were executed. I then moved onto earlier more combative but less explicitly explained sources.
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby MEversbergII » 25 Jul 2015 22:46

I've been wondering if we'd have a cleaned up reprint version of that sometime soon. Would be nice!

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby Phil C » 26 Jul 2015 13:29

'S been availble from N&M Press for a while-
http://www.naval-military-press.com/the ... -1780.html
--Effete Snob--
"I have a sword to defend my honour. I have a stick to answer those without honour."

http://www.blackboarswordsmanship.co.uk/
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby MEversbergII » 26 Jul 2015 15:29

EDIT: Yeah, that's a republish. I could probably give it a go now, though I'll admit the font and outdated letter choices do bug me out a bit. Will have to pick up a copy in the near future.

Thanks!

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

Best Advice on the Whole Site
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Re: Beginning Smallsword

Postby MEversbergII » 02 Oct 2015 19:48

This is a bit of a bump, but if anyone in the future finds this, I have found a page with the missing plates from Wayne's manual of 1849/1850.

http://www.drillnet.net/Waynes.htm

M.
When I was a fighting-man, the kettle-drums they beat,
The people scattered gold-dust before my horses feet;
But now I am a great king, the people hound my track
With poison in my wine-cup, and daggers at my back.

Best Advice on the Whole Site
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