To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Renaissance Swordsmanship: The Illustrated Book Of Rapiers And Cut And Thrust Swords And Their Use Paperback – March 1, 1997
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
John Clements has practiced cut-and-thrust swordsmanship for almost 20 years and trains regularly in long-sword, sword and shield, sword and buckler, sword and dagger, Medieval spear, and rapier and dagger methods. He lectures on historical weaponry and is an ardent promoter of contact-weapon sparring with historical replica swords.
Top customer reviews
What the book is:
With over 100 pages of original drawings, which depict fighting stances, forms, and techniques, Clement's books not only make deciphering medieval fightbooks much easier but also makes the mechanics of learning to use the weapons accessible to the student/enthusiast of European Medieval Martial Arts. It is great starting point to understand (in a modern sense) what various medieval fight masters/books were teaching.
While Clements cannot (and does not attempt to) recreate the EXACT conditions of the teaching/education/training of the old fight masters (that would be silly and not at all the point of his books), he does succeed in giving the enthusiast a fantastic starting point upon which to build a knowledgeable base of information and practical instruction of Medieval Rapier and Cut-and-Thrust Swords.
I believe he has succeeded in what he has set out to do.
What this book is not:
An exhaustive, authoritative, exclusive, know-it-all book on everything (method, source, opinion, school-of-thought) about Medieval Rapier and Cut-and-Thrust Swords. It is not perfect (and does not claim to be).
I would not use it and claim to be a master of European Marital Arts without training and/or instruction by a school/instructors who have studied and can interpret medieval fight books.
So why give it a "5", why not a "4" or "3" or "2" or "1"?
This book met and exceeded my expectations. I am a student of Medieval Martial Arts (and have been for nearly 4 years as of Feb. 2015). Over the past 4 years,. I have bought and studied many different books (modern and facsimilies of ancient fightbooks). Although I can can say I have learned from each one, there was a slight disconnect from "translating/extrapolating" the static poses and information in ancient fightbook plates for use training in Medieval Martial Arts. Mr. Clements (along with Mike Loades) gave me the first "in-roads" into what the plates meant and how they were used.
Do not expect me to agree with every conclusion in this book. Mr. Clements doesn't and gives specifics on why he wrote his books from the perspective he chose.(Tthat does show I am not just an over-excited fanboy who goes along with whatever someone else says.)
He has satisfied every point he makes in his introduction as to the purpose of the book. There are many myths and improper uses of the sword (terminology, construction, use, instruction) that arise from not only media (movies, television, books) but also incorrect instruction (stage fighting and/or historical reenactment and/or training are not NECESSARILY historically accurate) and education (looking at the sword as only a museum piece or part of static history without regard to the actual use).*
*These methods of instruction and education are not necessarily wrong in that there is a specific reason that fighting schools and/or societies have evolved to give instruction for specific purposes, situations, and types of weapons. Fighting with 'wasters' or 'trainers' will not give the same feeling or training as fighting with steel weapons. None is "better" (meaning that fighting and using one type does not negate the validitity of using another) in the same way that records, mp3, cassettes, and cd's are valid and acceptable means of providing music. It all depends on one's preference and equipment.
This book, along with Medieval Swordsmanship, are excellent starting references for the enthusiast of European Medieval Arts.
There are two DVD's that have sections or cover medieval fight books in their entirety. One is Reclaiming the Blade and the other is Medeival Fight Book.
We are told that the rapier "is incapable of delivering edge blows that cut" despite every original rapier master teaching such cuts. The author writes, "Its ability to riposte (counterattack)", suggesting that he believes the riposte and the counterattack to be one and the same (they are not). We are told that there were three basic rapier stances, Prima, Seconda and Terza, which are "roughly equivalent to a high, middle and low sword position." Then we are shown three guards, one high, one middle and one low, which bear no resemblance to guards shown in surviving rapier manuals and which show that the author doesn't have the first clue what Prima etc. actually mean. We are shown parries that bear no resemblance to the defensive actions shown in rapier manuals. I could go on and on.
Except for a few areas, (where the author gets it wrong) this book contains no discussion of any of the fundamentals of rapier fencing. There is no mention of distance, tempo, stringere etc. It is clear that the author hasn't read any of the major rapier works. The inaccuracy of the illustrations suggests that he didn't even look at the pictures.
Once upon a time, despite this catalogue of errors, this was the best book out there. Thankfully that hasn't been the case for a long time. Arte of Defence is itself dated, but is a better introduction to the rapier. In the last year a couple of very good translations have been produced, Italian Rapier Combat, a translation of Capo Ferro's manual and Art of Duelling, a translation of Fabris. These are two of the most significant works on the rapier, and they show just how far Clements was from reality. Most of the English language rapier manuals, Di Grassi, Saviolo, Swetnam and Pallas Armata are freely available on the net. All are better sources than Renaissance Swordsmanship.
No doubt in the future, more books on the rapier will be produced that will elucidate the works of the masters. Renaissance Swordsmanship should be withdrawn from sale immediately. It was a poor book when it was published. For it to still be available when it has been so comprehensively superseded is disturbing.
As someone who followed this advice a few years ago, let me tell you that this is NOT a particularly good book for beginners. There is a fair amount of information that must be taken with a grain of salt (particularly stances, footwork, and the ability of the rapier to cut), and a beginner is likely to be either misled or forced to spend unnecessary time sorting out what to believe. In addition, the organization of this book is fairly poor, with no good way to find what you are looking for.
For those interested in learning about historical fencing, particularly with the rapier, I suggest William Wilson's _Arte of Defence_. It is important to keep in mind that this is also ONLY a beginners guide, and not to be taken as authoritative.
In the long term, interested persons would be advised to look at Capo Ferro's 1610 manual, translated by Jared Kirby, and Fabris' 1606 manual, translated by Tom Leoni.