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BIC Excellence Award

Ridolfo Capoferro's The Art and Practice of Fencing
A Practical Translation for the Modern Swordsman

By Tom Leoni

Ridolfo Capoferro's The Art and Practice of Fencing
Paperback, 120 pages £20.00
Published: 2011
ISBN: 9780982591192
Format: 254mm x 178mm
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Subjects: Freelance Academy Press, History, Military History

In the 1600s, the elegant and deadly Italian rapier was the choice sword of duelists, officers, gentlemen and noblemen: to master the rapier was to be a feared martial artist and a paragon in single combat.

Among the original treatises on the use of this weapon, the most prized by historical fencing revivalists in the last 150 year has been the Great Representation of the Art and Practice of Fencing, written in 1610 by Master Ridolfo Capoferro. In this remarkable text, Capoferro described and illustrated - in unmatched detail - the use of the rapier alone and with a left-handed dagger, cloak and shield, offering the modern historical fencing student a true wealth of Renaissance fencing theory, form and repertoire.

With this book, expert researcher and rapier instructor Tom Leoni offers a full, accurate and accessible English translation of Capoferro's teachings, complete with high-resolution reproductions of the 43 original illustrations. To make the book even more useful, Tom has included bullet-point synopses of all the actions illustrated by Capoferro, as well as a glossary of rapier-fencing terms with examples referring the reader to how they are used in the text. Also included is a primer on key rapier-fencing concepts and actions, as well as a historical introduction about Capoferro and his extraordinary relevance in the revival of historical martial arts.




    Making Capoferro Accessible to the Modern Rapier Student

    A Personal Journey

    Who Was Ridolfo Capoferro?

    The Two Faces of Capoferro: Period Literature Versus Victorian Scholarship

    Jacopo Gelli: The Main 19th-Century Source on Capoferro

    Capoferro, His Treatise and Its Importance to the Modern Student

    Language, Translation, and Editorial Decisions

    What You Need to Know to Tackle Capoferro

    Additional Resources

Great Representation of the Art and Practice of Fencing

    To the Most Serene Lord Don Francesco Maria Feltrio della Rovere, Sixth Duke of Urbino

    To the Kind Reader

    General Table of the Art of Fencing

    Here Follows the Great Representation of the Practice of Fencing.

    Beginning with the Explanation of the Difference Between Art and Practice

    A Few Recommendations about Fencing

    Explanation of Some Practical Fencing Terms

    The Plates and Practical Synopses

    Some Principles Regarding the Cut

    A Failsafe Way to Defend Against Any Attack by Parrying with a Riverso and Always Striking with an Imbroccata

Glossary of Common and Useful Italian Rapier Fencing Terms

Tom Leoni was born in Switzerland and grew up in Northern Italy. Since an early age, he developed a passion for antique arms and armour and Renaissance-Baroque culture. His meticulous research of Italian swordsmanship treatises helped him become an internationally-known teacher specialising in the Italian styles of the 1500s and 1600s. In 2005, Tom published an English translation of Master Salvator Fabris' 1606 rapier treatise Scienza d'Armi, one the of the most important fencing works of the late Renaissance. In 2009, he published a translation of Italy's earliest extant martial-arts treatise, Fiore de' Liberi's Fio di Battaglia (circa 1409).

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 120 pages
 254mm x 178mm

BIC Code:
  HIS027000, HIS037020, SPO071000
 Freelance Academy Press


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