Category Archives: fencing art

The Fencing Fraud: How Exercitien- and Fencing Masters scammed their students in 1724

In his extensive “Lexicon of Frauds,” Georg Paul Hoenn disects the fraudulent practices of contemporary professions. The Excercitien-Meister—teaching entirely non-martial fencing and dancing to the fashionable crowd—also was suspected of taking advantage of the unwary.

(Sure, it ain’t Theranos… but some things still sound familiar.)

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The German Connection II: “Balefuls of doubloons” and the Sienese Germanica 

This is a sidelight on the Natio Germanica in Siena, before and around the time Capo Ferro was active as a fencing master at the local university. Other than a brief scene provided in Esch, this article is mostly background as to the presence and influence of German students. Unlike Fabri and the Germanica in Padua, we have not been able to locate specific vectors who may have continued or expanded Capo Ferro’s method abroad.

by J. Christoph Amberger

In Capo Ferro’s Siena, the members of the Natio Germanica were known colloquially as forestieri—meaning “strangers” or “foreigners”—and consisted of High and Low Germans, Scandinavians, Bohemians, Poles, Carinthians, Styrians, and Lombards from every corner and recess of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. They occupied the Casa della Sapienza, a former paupers’ hospital that had been converted into a dormitory for foreign students in 1415. The Casa also had living space, lecture and disputation rooms for 30 Sapieanzani who stayedfor a term of up to seven years. 

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Cash and Carry: Why fencing masters prefer payment in advance since 1815

The Fashionable Debtor: Le maitre can’t believe it!
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The unfair advantage: The subtle differences in 19th century French dueling épées

aa3Reduced weight.

Upside-down mounted blades.

A sneakily set handle.

Early attempts in gaining an unfair advantage with épées de combat.

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FencingClassics to release “missing link” late 17th-ct. German fencing manuscript!


This recently re-discovered transcript by an anonymous German noble could fill an important gap in the documentation of German fencing approaches between Paschen and Schmidt.

Under the sponsorship of the new Administration, we’re preparing a limited release of the manuscript.

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Preview: The Codex Amberger and its predecessors

After many a year of absolutely nothing, the dining room table is now bending with old and new books, reams of print-outs, photographs, articles, bibliographies: We’ve finally started to work on the definitive monograph to the modest 15-page anonymous manuscript fragment we acquired back in 2005.

To sucker as many experts as we can into doing our work for us, we’ll be presenting some of the preliminary work here on FencingClassics… to elicit qualified response and criticism and, yes, lavish praise.

Let’s kick off the process by presenting Sheet 8r, which may prove to be a key element in properly placing the fragment in its proper lineage… Continue reading

Follow-up: “What the hell is ‘craping’…”

Oh, the humanity!

You’d think our April Fool’s joke—selling the title and teaching privilege of “Mister of Fencing” and membership in MoFO—was such a blatantly obvious and lame joke, only a sloth would’ve missed it. But apparently, MoFO and the prerequisites of owning a foil and never having earned a competitive ranking were still too subtleContinue reading

Fencing Nudes: Duel Naked!

One of the leading search terms that brings novice FencingClassics readers to our site is “topless fencing”.

Who’d’a thunk?

And since we thrive on giving people what they want, we’re happy to oblige… with images of duels between women in various stages of dress and undress… Continue reading

Massed Assault: The Choreography of Group Instruction

Group class vs. individual lesson?

The armed and police forces of the world had their choices made for them by virtue of the very number of recruits needing instruction.

But how did they get them to look good from a distance…

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Kombative Knick-Knacks: Tin Men Mensur

Who’d possibly want a matched set of tin figures staging a Biedermeier-era Mensur?

Err… yes, who indeed. Possibly the same kind of person who has a sextett of Spelter and bronze fencing figurines staring at his desk?

This one we haven’t acquired—yet. But would accept it from our Leibbursch any time. Continue reading