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Bill Grandy
myArmoury Team

myArmoury Team

Location: Alexandria, VA USA
Joined: 25 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Mon 27 Sep, 2004 8:58 pm    Post subject: Review: Italian Rapier fencing DVD from Martinez Academy         Reply with quote

(I wrote this up on the HES board on SFI)

I received La Scherma Italiana: Basics of Italian Rapier Fencing vol. 1 and 2 this week, created by Palpable Hits productions and the Martinez Academy. I bought the DVDs through

I have to say I was very impressed by this set. The first volume sets down the basic fundamentals of footwork, guardias, measure, and important techniques such as the cavazione. The second volumes continues from there with lessons on tempo, proportion, and techniques which teach those concepts. The DVDs are clear, concise, and build logically from technique to technique.

One of the things that I especially liked about the presentation was the use of multiple camera angles and close ups, along with repition of specific techniques, showing them performed slowly and at speed. I own the tapes on La Verdadera Destreza, and I must say that this DVD set shows that they have really analyzed what they could improve on since that time to make an even better instructional program.

Maestro Martinez freely admits in the video that he is not trying to show a specific master or school, but instead is showing a broad overview to introduce the Italian methods overall. I was a little worried that this might lead to techniques shown with a modern blanket thrown over, but I clearly recognized exact plates from the Gran Simulacro and L'Arte Di Ben Manegiarre La Spada, as well as many techniques that transcend any particular manual.

There were certainly techniques that I thought odd because of my slightly more master-specific background. For instance, Maestro Martinez shows a fair number of blade engagements for techniques where neither Fabris nor Cappo Ferro do this. (for some reason I'm drawing a blank now, though something that comes to mind is when performing the cavazione di tempo, Maestro Martinez has the agent engage the blade rather than finding the sword... though that really isn't a good example, as this really isn't what the technique is about... will try to find an example later when I rewatch it.) I wish Maestro Martinez had stated why he choose to do things in a way different to what certain masters say (perhaps it is shown in other manuals I am not familiar with, for instance). This is not to imply that I think that he is wrong or inventing his own techniques, but I would have liked it if he had occassionally said, "here is technique A. You will find that Master A says such and such about it, while Master B says this. When I teach it, I do this..."

Overall, though, I think this is an excellent set for a beginning rapierist, or for a person who wants more of a basis in proper/historical technique. It is nice to see a DVD in production that shows good, clean technique, and does not come across as flashy or going for the "wow" factor, of which I've seen of many teachers (not generally true WMA teachers, I should add). I would highly recommend this one to beginners or to those unfamilar with the Italian style. In fact, to anyone struggling through the period texts, I think seeing ths DVD would help clarify some things and make reading the texts easier. (I know I personally had quite an epiphany in re-reading Capo Ferro after being lucky enough a while back to learn from Tom Leoni's excellent interpretations on Italian fencing theory, but not everyone is as lucky to get to meet someone with such a strong understanding of the subject. Hopefully this DVD set will help some of those unlucky ones.)
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