4 results for Books: “Luigi Barbasetti”. Product Details THE FOIL. With a Short History of Fencing. by Luigi (inscription by Leonardo Terrone) Barbasetti. The art of the foil [Luigi Barbasetti] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The Art of the Foil is a classic of fencing literature. Within it’s pages. In , Italian fencing maestro Luigi Barbasetti wrote his now famous The Art of the Foil (recently reprinted by Barnes & Noble). While this work by a respected.

Author: Kazuru Kisho
Country: Antigua & Barbuda
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Video
Published (Last): 2 August 2006
Pages: 407
PDF File Size: 10.27 Mb
ePub File Size: 9.1 Mb
ISBN: 689-6-24341-448-7
Downloads: 4196
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Voodookus

It is strange how those who do not study killing arts with real weapons, but only athletic civilian dueling games, will often give “professional consultation” on historical martial arts outside of their own sporting specialties. Often one does not know that one does not know, after all. The following thoughts try to shed some light on this phenomena: While this work by a respected classical fencing expert who lived in an age where occasionally still lethal dueling was not all that infrequent has been largely influential to modern sport fencers, it is interesting to today’s historical swordsmanship students for other reasons entirely.

Barbasetti includes an entire section on historical swordsmanship at the end of his excellent instructions on foil. To those readers who may encounter this re-released book, this essay is a strong word of caution. Barbasetti’s work certainly holds a trove of fascinating tidbits for the student of historical fencing.

But his one hundred-page final chapter entitled, “A Short History of Fencing,” is largely the typical denigration of earlier European fencing methods—which barbasdtti in fact for the most part more sophisticated, diverse, and inclusive martial arts of a much more brutal and demanding era. In some ways Barbasetti’s book is more inclusive than earlier works on fencing history such as those by Egerton Castle and Alfred Hutton.

At first, Barbasetti’s insights show a fairly progressive understanding and tolerant view towards those systems of swordsmanship from the Middle Ages and Renaissance luiigi by his time were entirely nonexistent. He even goes lyigi of his way to state: This obvious, yet no less profound, understanding displayed here is significant and untypical. Additionally, on the same line of thought he later writes: He rightly continued with: His broad-minded understanding quickly erodes to be replaced with a series of overly generalized observations on Medieval and Renaissance swordsmanship that are wholly without merit in light of current information on historical weaponry and understanding of fighting manuals.

On Medieval fighting Barbasetti revealingly yet erroneously declares: That these comments were made by a respected fencing expert without study or practical experience with the very weapons, styles, barbasettj methods from the varied historical texts he comments on is something that cannot be excused. Still, even today it is an all too common occurrence. His above statement is a surprising and honest admission of ignorance on his part that reveals a wealth of both his understanding and misunderstanding.

Yet, despite this astounding admission, he proceeds anyway to dissect the manuals of Renaissance Masters of Defence as being more or less unsophisticated and crude.

His opinion is all the more sad when, in his most extraordinary example of martial ignorance, he later goes on to call the German grandmaster Liechtenauer’s influential Fechtbuch “arrant nonsense. This can be likened to a modern Judo coach declaring the samurai Musashi’s respected Book of Five Rings nonsense.

As was common for fencing masters of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, he refers to Medieval single-combat as “undisciplined bouts mixed with wrestling. Nonetheless, he offered an array of incorrect statements such as Fiore dei Liberi’s manual of being the “oldest known to us” odd since on the same page he references Liechtenauer’s Fechtbuch as being from Of Fiore’s systematic teachings Barbasetti then admits how to him they seem a “rather complicated manner of combat.

The Art of The Sabre and The Epee

Inexcusably, at one point he also wrote: Yet, on the other contradictorily states that the deadly personal fighting of previous ages was not nearly as distinguished as today’s classical sport version. So, here we have someone who we would expect to know better defining Western “fencing” not as skill in the art of sword fighting or even as a martial art of weapons and unarmed skill, barbazetti only in the narrowest terms of what he understands can be done with a modern foil, epee, or sabre.


This is bizarre given Barbasetti’s prior statements about how he apparently understood how social, military, and technological conditions historically dictate what weapons and armors are used, and in turn produce their own distinct skills. Unfortunately, his tolerance garbasetti into a wide array of inaccurate, and in modern hindsight, downright false statements about Medieval and Renaissance sword combat.

For instance he declares: Bsrbasetti acknowledging his incomplete information, despite admitting his inexperience with the use of earlier weapons, he nonetheless feels confident kuigi a master of the modern sport fencing tools—to make authoritative pronouncements on the actualities of methods of Medieval and Renaissance sword combat. But even more revealing is how this 19th century fencing master then admits about puigi techniques of using Medieval and Renaissance weaponry “that which we do have is so vague that it is barbzsetti even for one in the profession to decide from their structure and form how they were manipulated”!

Again, the sad, familiar view appears of modern fencing i. At one point in trying to explain how sabre fencing was not something new, he traces it to older methods of “heavy weapons” p.

We might guess Barbasetfi never bothered to actually compare the weight of 19th century sabres with their Medieval counterparts. But then, even as barbasett admits these methods were ones he does not understand he states as matter of fact that the sabre was an “improvement” over them no doubt because the battlefield conditions were so much “alike” in the 13th and 19th centuries.

One could easily imagine that had Barbasetti more detailed information or experienced fighters at his disposal he undoubtedly would have revised his understanding of historical European martial arts. Had he been able to make use of greater reference material or been exposed to serious students of historical swordsmanship such as practicing today, he would surely have had even greater respect for the fighting skills and barbasetti of earlier times.

Luigi Barbasetti

He would also very well have been able to barbasetyi them in greater context with his own refined sport. The sad part is that there are those ouigi, who like Barbasetti inhold very similar views inspired lkigi by pervasive Hollywood fantasy than by the actual reality of history.

Even for a fencing master writing a short history of Western swordsmanship inthere was a good deal of reliable material on Medieval weapons at the time for those who were genuinely interested. Given his own access to historical weaponry and the information on arms and armor already then available, there is little cause to excuse Barbasetti’s prejudices. They are only understandable when we grasp the insulated and limited martial experience surviving in the West which had long been represented solely by the classical sport fencing of foil, epee, and sabre.

It is remarkable that this fencing master, after studying the historical manuals and despite so much experience and insight, was unable to discern how older methods represented entirely different and self-contained barbqsetti arts lukgi adapted to far more challenging environments. It speaks volumes about the narrow and limited view that a modern fencer often has when faced with anything that is not his familiar style of contrived sport.

Barbasetti was essentially of the view standard at the time that modern fencing was a superior and more “evolved” version of swordplay—beyond anything of cruder centuries where professional warriors actually fought one another with an immense variety of arms and armor.

Modern fencing has been refined above and beyond the past methods of mere “tricks” supposedly without “fixed rules.

In this regard, Barbasetti’s condescending remarks on historical swordsmanship seem self-righteous and almost barbadetti to one with the vantage point of being a student of Renaissance martial arts.

Reading babrasetti views one gets the absurd feeling that Western sword arts must have somehow advanced only after everyone finally stopped fighting for real. We can imagine the notion of practicing historical fighting systems as a “martial art”—that is, with an armed and unarmed self-defence component, a self-improvement and ethical element as well as physical exercise aspect, and an emphasis on heritage and historical exploration all without competitive contests—was apparently just not sportsmanlike enough.

Freiheit student of Barbasetti

After all, those “tricks”—the things that real fighters typically did in real combat—would be just so “unfair. What is most striking in the opinions of a classical fencing master such as Barbasetti and if anyone was ever a “classical fencer” it was certainly he is the implication that earlier Western fighting arts have so little to offer.


While we would never hear a Western fencer comment that by comparison their sport was far more sophisticated or refined than the traditional sword styles of Asian martial arts, they have typically not hesitated to say so in regard to antique arts of European heritage. Yet, we know without any doubt that Medieval and Renaissance fighting methods were indeed true martial arts every bit as sophisticated, effective, and highly developed as brbasetti of their now popular East Asian counterparts.

So, we can forgive Barbasetti his ignorance on matters wholly outside his knowledge and area of specialty as a “modern” fencing master. However, he is barbasett alone in his bias. Today, his legacy continues with a great many proponents of modern fencing sports holding similarly unenlightened views.

Of course, given the even greater factual information now available to Barbasetti’s heirs and successors, holding some of these opinions is far worse. Why do individuals, such as Barbasetti, presume that expertise in a gentleman’s sport of civilian dueling practiced very differently from its street-fighting roots and incidentally, devoid of the grappling and wrestling intrinsic to such skills can grant authority to evaluate historical martial arts? This attitude is indicative still today of many experts in forms of classical Barbsaetti sport fencing.

We may wonder what causes this seemingly endemic frame of reference among them. Is it merely because their craft derives from Baroque ancestors that in turn came from Renaissance forebears? Men like Barbasetti were certainly products of their age. As fencing became more sport-focused in the 19th century, it increasingly lost its military or self-defence value, and those maintaining the “duelling art” did so under conditions increasingly less and less lethal than those of their forebears.

They pursued a far more narrow and specialized form of gentlemanly fencing directed toward duels of honor with single identical swords.

Increased ritual and sportification happened to fencing as its self-defence and military aspects declined—at the same time the craft became more and more concerned with aesthetic form, ritual, etiquette and competitive pastime. Perhaps understandably, perhaps not, swordsmen such as Barbasetti came to dismiss, denigrate, and ridicule older fencing skills—a craft that they actually no longer practiced, taught, or retained in any significant manner or any preserved tradition.

Thus, they simply failed to recognize the true character of earlier fighting arts. As a result, they came to erroneously believe shortcomings in their understanding of it arose only from the deficiencies of the source material itself. In a certain way, Barbasetti’s chapter on historical swordsmanship serves better now to document the origins of modern fencers’ own misunderstanding.

Since this book is so often cited as influential and important among instructors in the classical and sport fencing community today, then it is no surprise that so many of them hold such dim and uninformed views of historical fencing.

The Art of The Sabre and The Epee by Barbasetti, Luigi –

The gulf between edged weapon theory and practical reality is barbasetit widened whenever historical fighting skills are transformed into rule-enshrined sports. This is no truer than in Barbasetti’s views on earlier fighting skills.

For the student of Renaissance martial arts, his questionable chapter is a sobering reminder of how much work still lies ahead. Clements It is strange how those who do not study killing arts with real weapons, but only athletic civilian dueling games, will often give “professional consultation” on historical martial arts outside of their own sporting specialties.

Which fighting skills would seem to reflect a more inclusive “martial art”? The gentlemen’s dueling sport or the warrior combat craft? All rights are reserved. No use of the ARMA name and emblem, or website content, is permitted without authorization. Reproduction of material from this site without written permission of The Association for Renaissance Martial Arts and its luivi authors is strictly prohibited.

All rights are reserved to that material as well.