Physically preparing for this task will require building up levels of fitness and flexibility, agility and coordination, stamina and strength. Along with the physical criteria involved in this training regime there would also need to be a plan to encompass and incorporate the mental aspects of learning; dedication, reasoning, strategy. Finally the learning path would need to incorporate historical context and the fundamental knowledge behind the sword itself and its use.
All of these things will be set out within The Programme and incorporated into a single progression where the focus shall be to learn the art of swordsmanship.
The first stage will attempt to attain reasonable proficiency in the basic use of the sword, progressing through combat training in stages related to the level of skill required and the expansion of the resources required. The training I will be setting out will be related to the study of the following resources:
- Primoris – The Rob Lovett Fiore dei Liberi Training System.
- The Swordsman’s Companion – Guy Windsor
- Mastering the Art of Arms, Volume 1: The Medieval Dagger – Guy Windsor
- Mastering the Art of Arms, Volume 2: The Medieval Longsword – Guy Windsor
As you can see the work of Guy Windsor is a pivotal point of reference and through his written work and videos available there are many, many hours of material from which to draw a learning plan. The School of European Swordsmanship sets out a clear syllabus and provides many videos to aid the student.
All of these focus on the writings of ‘Fiore dei Liberi’ and those who studied his system. To quote the Wiki:
Fiore Furlano de Cividale d’Austria, delli Liberi da Premariacco was a late 14th century knight, diplomat, and itinerant fencing master. He is the earliest Italian master from whom we have an extant martial arts manual.
Having the earliest extant manual seems like reason enough to follow the Fiore path but I have also found that the material lends itself to a clear and logical progression of learning; a complete system. The source material may be studied via the English translation and images of the Getty version of Fiore dei Liberi’s Fior di Battaglia, with translation by Durban & Easton (PDF and images arranged by Tracy Mellow of Iron Gate Swordfighting). Hosted by The Schola Gladiatoria.
There are many more resources available and I will try to cite, reference and credit all sources and resources where possible. I do not wish to reproduce within this website the many levels of good information that others have worked to provide but these are the core elements I will be working with. It is my goal to find and follow a learning plan drawn from this core material and document my progress via The Record.
I will use The Record to set out a linear and logical process as I follow the series of lessons derived from these works but also to document my own progress. The first stage of this process is to make good on my intentions and actually start. A job started is half done so I hope to continue this long enough to document the points of success but also the points of failure. There will be some aspects of this journey that will benefit from lone practice and remote learning and some points that will prove impossible.
At the very least The Record will document everything I have learnt for my own reference. At its best it will serve to help others who find themselves in the same place; very much wanting to learn more and not knowing where to start.