Resources: Freelance Academy Press

FencingClassics’s aim is to spread the word of new developments in all aspects of swordplay across the different spheres of interest. Part of that means pointing our readers at promising new ventures that are NOT undertaken by Secret Archives Press.

Like the new line of books by Freelance Academy Press, run by some of our old companions in crime….

by Greg Mele

It may be a well-worn cliché to say that Western swordsmanship is undergoing a “Renaissance”. It’s nonetheless true: The last ten years have seen an explosion of interest in all forms of swordplay, be that in the salle or on the screen, with a particular interest in the recreation of the martial arts of the 14th – 18th centuries.

This has created a unique martial arts community that is one part swordsman, one part bibliophile. Both share a need and a desire to understand the cultures and societies that gave birth to these arts.

That’s where we come in!

Freelance Academy Press is a relatively new publisher that offers both innovative books and rich supporting material in the fields of Western martial arts, American and European history, arms and armor, chivalry, historical arts and crafts, and related fiction for adults and young-adults.

Our goal is to be much more than yet another publisher with books to sell. We’re passionate students of the subjects we publish, and we are invested in seeing the general interest in and knowledge of them grow. We’ve developed a credo to help us choose titles that will lead readers into a historical journey that does not merely start and end with a book:
Discover – We broadcast and promote the existence of fascinating topics such as Western martial arts and the modern communities that exist around them; by doing so, we help these communities grow and we encourage interaction between individuals within them.

Learn – We provide high-quality instructional and translational works for our readers. Even the most scholarly of historical works should not be boring and dry, so we emphasize readability and presentation to make your journey back in time a stimulating adventure.

Experience –  Today, a press must be about communicating ideas, not merely printing books. That’s why we facilitate the reader’s on-going development by providing training packages, supplemental online material, DVDs, featured interviews and Q&As with lead researchers and instructors.

Our First Titles 

Our first releases had to represent our core beliefs: books that make the past come alive in the words of period fencing Masters or in those of today’s foremost scholars and researchers; books that are exciting to read, graphically stunning and priced to really spread this knowledge.

The medieval knight was a well-trained fighting man, expert in the use of sword, lance, spear and dagger, and a member of a warrior aristocracy whose values, virtues and vices helped shape European society for over 500 years. While no longer perceived as an iron-shelled brute, an entire host of new myths and misunderstandings have rapidly become memes in the nascent Western martial arts community. Providing an insightful, fascinating view of the medieval knight and his craft, Christian Tobler, a well-known student, researcher and translator of 15th century swordsmanship set out to put a few of these memes to the sword in his fourth book, In Saint George’s Name: An Anthology of Medieval German Fighting Arts. Besides containing  the first English translation of the so-called “von Danzig” manuscript, the largest and most complete of the medieval German treatises, Christian gives readers a treasure trove of essays on the culture and the context of the martial arts in the late Middle Ages, hands-on training exercises for wrestling, dagger, falchion and the poleaxe.

Perhaps no other weapon represents “Renaissance Italian fencing” as powerfully as the rapier, which is the weapon viewed as the “mother” of modern fencing.  Nicoletto Giganti of Venice was one of the most influential teachers of the late Renaissance; a master whose instructions on the use of this weapon have survived the centuries. It is most fortunate for us that his 1606 text, The School, or Salle is a veritable training curriculum, complete with stepwise lessons and easy-to-follow explanations on the use of both the rapier alone and the rapier and dagger, which makes it a perfect, concise introduction to this style of fencing. In Venetian Rapier: Nicoletto Giganti’s 1606 Fencing Curriculum, Tom Leoni, an internationally-known rapier teacher and translator of Salvatore Fabris’ Scienza d’Arme, renders the original text in clear, modern English, meant to match the plain speech of the original.  The translation is coupled with high-resolution scans of the original illustrations, and an introduction to rapier fencing to enables reader’s new to this art a quick jumpstart into Giganti’s text.

In the Works

We are rather proud of these first titles, but are already hard at work putting together a rich library of supporting online material for our existing books, and a host of new titles for our next release. Visit our Web site us at for embedded videos, a new blog, podcasts and more, as well as a forthcoming announcement on our next exciting titles. We look forward to seeing you there!

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