mistakenly associate the words ‘martial arts’ exclusively with Asian
fighting arts. Currently, there is a renaissance in the study of
historically accurate Western Martial Arts, from medieval fighting
treatises. These treatises have revealed a well-established, highly
sophisticated European fighting system, employing swords, rapiers,
daggers, shields, pole axes, and more.
theatrical and popular media portrayals have reduced European martial
arts to the myth that combatants merely crudely bludgeoned, hacked, and
slashed savagely at their opponents. In reality, European martial arts
integrate footwork, avoidance, and the ability to use timing and
distance to exploit and enhance the sword's inherent cutting and
thrusting capabilities. These skills include techniques for grappling,
wrestling, kicking, throwing, and disarming of the opponent. European
martial arts are distinctly different from modern Olympic fencing and
Asian martial arts.
Enthusiasts of modern fencing, historical
reenactment and role playing games are now starting to focus on
historically accurate methods of medieval and renaissance fighting
skills. The differences between the English, Italian and Spanish
schools of rapier and sword play have been studied at length. How to
properly wear your weapon, particularly when in a crowd, and knowing
when not to use it, are two of the skills a swordsman must have.
Weapons safety was as important to the Renaissance swordsman as it is to us today.
training in the sword school o f the past, full armor was not conducive
to the fine sword work of rapier and some of the other weapons, but a
variety of protective gear, including (padded) jackets, gauntlets,
boots and helmets, were routinely used. In addition, practice weapons
with blunted edges and points, and more flexible blades have been used
Today in our school we use wooden swords (called
wasters), fencing helmets to protect the head and face, and gloves and
padded jackets to protect the hands and arms. Safety is a primary
concern, so we work very hard on mixing the medieval and renaissance
martial arts with the safety concerns of the 21st century.
join our school, you will get to study the European tradition of
martial arts while you learn how to use different kinds of swords and
daggers. And, in the process you may pick up some history, physics, and
geometry, and have fun while you are learning these skills.
DEMAS teaches the techniques illustrated by the old masters in
the historical fighting manuals:
— for long sword, Flos Duellatorum
(The Flower of Battle), written in 1410 by Fiore dei Liberi.
— for rapier and dagger,
techniques by England’s Joseph Swetnam, circa 1610.
— for side sword, Opera
Nova, written in 1536 by Achille Marozzo.
— for these and many other weapons, Fechtbuch aus Dem
Jahre 1467 (Medieval Combat), by Hans Talhoffer.
— for pugilism, Treatise on Self Defense, by Mendoza circa
1790 and The Art and Practice of Boxing, circa 1743
— for billhooks and quarterstaff, DiGrassi's His True
Art of Defense, and Silver's Paradoxes of Defence, circa 1599