Monday, 25 May 2015

Achille Marozzo - On mastery

"I want you to know that it is a beautiful mystery to know how to teach people well, more than to just play; for a man, if he knows how to play well and does not know how to teach, is not good (he is single): but one that knows how to teach well, is good for many people; and know that when he knows the one and the other, he is of double virtue and is a double master." Achille Marozzo "A new work" 1536

Sunday, 17 May 2015

The importance of introductions

I'm just reading translations of Marozzo at the moment and it's just highlighted, again, one of my least favorite bug bears: the translation skipping the introduction.

Sure, the introduction is often a role call of the authors noble patrons, the linage of swordmanship back to the Romans and comments on the parentage of other so called sword masters who slander the author. However the introduction is also often the source of summaries of the system that provide key information towards understand the rest of the text. Often they comprise the authors "how I learned sword fighting, from whom and how my opinions changed" and my "summary of my philosophy of sword fighting" paragraphs.

When you look at the length of some summaries you realise that they cannot all be filler and there is undoubtedly some killer in there.

Anyhow, whinge over. If some budding translator want to go out and translate all the missing introductions to treatises on Wiktenauer they'd be doing everyone a kindness.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Quote of the day - Capo Ferro on biomechanics

"Art regards nature and sees that owing to the small capacity of matter, it cannot do all that which it intends to do, and however considers in many details its perfections and imperfections, and in the guise of architect takes thereof and makes such a beautiful model that it is thus refined, and sharpens the rough-hewn things of nature, reducing them little by little to the height of their perfection.

From nature art has undertaken in defending oneself the ordinary step, the third guard for resting in defense, and the second and fourth for offense, the tempo, or the measure, and the manner as well of the placement of the body, with the torso now placed above the left leg for self-defense, now thrown forward and carried on the right leg in order to offend." Ridolfo Capoferro, Art and use of fencing 1610

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Giovanni Dall'Agocchie - On theory

"So you see how much those who say that theory isn’t needed in the art of fencing fool themselves, to which one can respond that if they don’t walk this path they’ll never teach perfectly, since this it is which reveals the principles, the causes, the effects, and finally teaches rationally and easily the rule and the method that one must follow in order to teach it adequately."  Giovanni Dall'Agocchie

Thursday, 7 May 2015

William Hope - On internet chat rooms

"Man is Naturally so selfish and invidious a Temper, that except what flows from himself, he can suffer almost nothing to pass, without either playing the Critick upon it, or starting Objections, altho' never so frivolous, against it: And this, certainly hath its rise from a selfish Pride; because upon no other Ground, for the most part, do People Criticise and Censure, but only out of, I may say, an ungenerous Concern, that another person should receive the Commendation and applause, which they would unjustly claim a Right to themselves; so that it Galls them to the very Soul, to think, that others are taken Notice of , while they are overlookt and neglected." William Hope: A New, Short and Easy Method of Fencing 1707

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

George Silver - On Temperance

"It is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you. This noble science is not to cause one man to abuse another injurously but to use it in their necessities to defend them in just causes and to maintain their honor and credits" George Silver, Brief Instructions 1605

Friday, 10 April 2015

Book review: Swordfighting, for Writers, Game Designers, and Martial Artists

"This book is a collection of essays and articles, about half of which have been adapted from Guy’s successful blog, at guywindsor.com, the rest have never been published before."

http://guywindsor.net/blog/books/swordfighting-the-book/#sthash.5lezJdED.dpuf

Just a quick review of this book. Firstly I should say I'm a big fan of Guy Windsor. I read his Swordsman's Companion back in the day and since then I've kept up to date with his blog. I am, at the moment, very interested in reading general thoughts on the Art of swordsmanship so when Guy released this I was quite excited. I also found it quite interesting how you would explain the Art concisely to a complete lay person who perhaps isn't interested in wielding a sword but just wants to understand how it works. Great stuff I thought.

Now, I don't think the book does that or that Guy was really making much of an effort with this book. It really is just a loosely strung together collection of his online material and I very much got the impression that this was a book written for the sake of using that online material to generate income, i.e. a book that could be sold. I think I highlighted about three pages as noteworthy to come back to, which is unusual for any book I read on martial arts. I also think if I was a writer or game designer I wouldn't really have got much out of it either. On the flip side at $9.99 I hardly feel like I've wasted my money. The concept is good and perhaps it will stimulate someone to do it better?