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The Art and Science of Fencing Paperback – January 11, 1999
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About the Author
Nick Evangelista has taught fencing for more than 30 years. He is also the author of The Art and Science of Fencing.
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The books that better met my needs were Fencing: Steps to Success and Fencing and the Master. I hope On Fencing by Aldo Nadi will be good too.
On a side note, the author has a very narrow view of fencing, attributing that there was no "real" swordplay until the 16th century. This is admittedly a common bias in the field. However, it blatantly ignores the fechtschules that have documented evidence from the 1400's. The author is not working from experience or research, as describing non-rapier swords as "can openers" is highly inaccurate.
Lastly, the author asserts that strength training has no place in a fencing training regime. I suggest that strength training has a place in any athletic endevor and that it is simply a matter of tailoring your program to match your sport.
Overall an average introduction for beginning fencers.
The past reviews on this book are now out of date. There are plenty of good books (dozens) on all levels of fencing, and even some outstanding DVDs (LEARN FENCING - FOIL - A DVD Beginers Guide to the Olympic Sport of Sword Fighting) is an example, which also comes in a 3 DVD set for foil, epee and sabre. These ship from UK when ordered on Amazon, but the shipping is fast and vendor (Russel Swords) extremely high rated and reliable, and the series is awesome. Even the older (2002) Elaine Cheris book (Fencing: Steps to Success (Steps to Success Activity Series)) is inexpensive, filled with great illustrations, and covers a wealth of detailed technique.
At from 5 to 14 bucks, the Evangelista book is worth every penny for the stories alone. Sure, Evangelista is full of himself and his ridiculous pronouncements about the good old days (trying to convince us we should wait a year before picking up a foil and another year before trying a bout!) are way outdated (not only for the impatient young, but also we older fencers who don't have long enough left to live to put off the fun parts). BUT, the stories have a LOT of timeless strategy that can be applied to your current game.
For example (p. 247), Nick gives a detailed account of Aldo Nadi's method of not letting even the best opponents get a single strike in. This comes down to pure aggressiveness, controlling the opponent so he only strikes from weakness, and the very modern (for a guy born in 1899) attitude of "attack, attack attack, THEN ATTACK." This is Fairbairn's knife fighting philosophy and I use it in my blade combat courses, which are about real life survival, not just sport.
If you're impatient to get to the how, not just the why or deeper strategy, pass on this and get Cheris, Hutton, Agrippa, Paul Wagner, Cohen, etc. (Search Amazon with any of their names and the word fencing). BUT, if you want to deepen your game strategically, the stories here DO give timeless tips, including a few that have even been forgotten by now that will help you both on the street and in competition.
I teach knife combat at blade combat dot com and have no relationship with the author, publisher or Amazon, and LP always pays for the books we review. Our recommendations are solely for the benefit of the Amazon shopper and Library procurement, with no vested interests.