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Body Mechanics and Power Generation in Armizare: An Example from the Training Hall

“I am the axe, heavy, cruel and lethal, and I deliver bigger blows than any other handheld weapon. “ - Maestro d’Arme Fiore dei Liberi, Il Fior di Battaglia, 1410 (translation Tom Leoni)

While the axe is indeed heavy, it’s not merely the weight of the weapon that is both cruel and lethal: it’s how the blow is struck.  Fiore’s Armizare is founded on a system of mechanics that engages the whole body into a strike, a defense, a grapple or a throw.  This example, taken from class on August 31 2015, demonstrates the integrated nature of the body mechanics, and their use of True Times (as defined by George Silver in 1599, but found in all martial arts) to both power the blow and deliver it in a martially correct manner, with the weapon leading, thus providing both threat to the opponent and cover to the attacker during the attack.

Note the use of the hips, legs and core to drive the blow.  The hands begin the movement of the weapon, as the left arm drives forward (not up)  and the right arm pulls back, the hips join in and support the action, as the hips turn and the rear foot lifts, the step naturally occurs, and the weapon lands on target driven by the entire composed force of the body.  At the end of the action the body is balanced and immediately ready to move again.

More examples can be seen in this post:


I will also be publishing different examples, using sword, dagger, and grappling, both with and without partner demonstrations.

Published on Categories Pedagogy & Practice, UncategorizedTags , ,

About Sean Hayes

Maestro Sean Hayes initially studied classical French fencing under Maitre d’armes Adam Adrian Crown in Ithaca, New York; and also pursued studies of rapier and dagger under Maitre Crown. In 1995 he began his studies of traditional Italian fencing at California’s San Jose State University Fencing Master’s Program, under the direction of fencing master Dr. William M. Gaugler. The program employs the system of instruction developed by Masaniello Parise, first director of the celebrated 19th century Military Masters School in Rome (Scuola Magistrale di Scherma). The program trains teachers to think critically about the details of fencing theory and the application of fencing theory in actual practice, to work with students closely and carefully, and to observe the most minute aspects of their performance in the lesson and when fencing. Maestro Hayes apprenticed directly under Maestro Gaugler from 1995 to 1999. His examination for Master At Arms was open to the public, and conducted by an international board of 6 fencing masters representing the United States, France, and Italy. The examination included oral and practical components: intense questioning on the smallest aspects of classical Italian fencing theory; the candidate required to teach group lessons, individual lessons, take individual lessons; and finally to teach any actions or combination of several actions in any weapons desired by the board to a fellow candidate.

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