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Academy of the Sword 1st Edition

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1891448409
ISBN-10: 1891448404
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

A longtime student of history and alternative spirituality, John Michael Greer is the author of more than a dozen books on the occult traditions of the Western world, including the award-winning New Encyclopedia of the Occult and The Druidry Handbook (Weiser, 2006), as well as translations of French and Latin occult texts. He lives in the mountains of Oregon.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Chivalry Bookshelf; 1 edition (October 18, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1891448404
  • ISBN-13: 978-1891448409
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,614,216 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are lots of ways to look at this book, so I'll take them one at a time.

As a fencing instructional text - obscure... "Academy of the Sword" is so detailed, complete, and complex that it is very difficult to follow as a fencing instructional text. Thibault's system includes considering the blade of the sword as being divided into 12 parts rather than the more common 2 or 3 (forte, foible, and sometimes medium). Descriptions of each movement are incredibly detailed, and well illustrated, but the overall effect is overwhelming. The system itself is Spanish fencing, radically different from French and Italian styles that have evolved into modern sport fencing, but the obscurity of the system only adds to the obscurity of Thibault's text. The one of the elements differentiating Spanish fencing from others is the use of a complex geometric pattern based on a circle and its diameter and chords as a training tool, and the circle shows up dozens of times in every illustration. Another difference is the upright posture and manner of holding the sword arm straight out from the torso; very different from modern sport fencing, but there had to be something to it as Spanish fencers were well respected in the period (n.b. George Silver's observations on Spanish style fencing in "Paradoxes of Defence" circa 1599). Typical of the period, the discussion of the circle integrates mathematics, geometry, anatomy, and a hint of mysticism. There is much to be learned here, but it is not for someone with only a passing or casual interest in Spanish fencing. This is a reflection of the author and target audience, scholars and educated men of the 1600s pursuing the art of the sword, rather than ruffians or the soldiers of the period.
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Format: Hardcover
This translation was nearly 10 years in the works and eagerly anticipated by the historical fencing community. John Michael Greer's understanding of the time period, historical philosophy and language make this text an excellant resource. The plates from the original text are recreated in excellant high quality and make this work worth having all by themselves. These engraved plates were done by a small army of some of Europes best and most famous engravers. Sadly many of the original historical copies of this text have had the lavishly illustrated plates removed and sold individually at art auctions for extremely high prices.

Thibault discusses philosophy and sacred geometry and then goes on to show how proportion is the basis for the study of the sword. Covered in intimate detail is the use of the rapier alone to fence against an opponent with single rapier, rapier and dagger, rapier and shield or longsword. In addition possibly for the first time in history is written down how to use zig zag running to come up on a man using a musket to fire at the swordsman.

Many years in the making the book was published after Thibault died and before he could write the section on combat from horseback.

Thibault's text was lauded as the most elaborately and lavishly illustrated book on fencing ever created. The pictures from the original are highly sought after by collectors. This text is a must have.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
this is a rare book, I been searching for a copy at a reasonable rate, and this is it. While the pictures are good, I prefer the colored original, but the b/w are excellent. This is one of the few text dealing with the Spanish sword fighting style which uses circles, in fact, many of the sword movements are similar to the Chinese bagua system (which also utilizes circles) it is magical. While many of the terms are obscure, you can figure it out from the pictures if the translation
didn't make sense. The last section on sword versus a matchlock is very funny.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a good addition to the WMA practitioner's bookshelf. I like Thibault's attitude. He's aggressive. Unfortunately, he's also convinced of the martial superiority of the long rapier, which is admittedly pretty deadly in his system, but I have strong reservations about whether any rapier system can function, as he implies, against other types of weapons.
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Format: Hardcover
"Naturally, but I find that Thibault cancels out Capo Ferro, don't you?"

If it's good enough for the man in black, it's more than good enough for you...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Nothing I can really add to the other reviews. I really liked the book. Nice large images of the plates, excellent translational work, easy to read formatting.
Highly recommended! This is the way modern "reprints" and translations should be.
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