The Exemplary Masters Series: Video Courses on L’Arte dell’Armizare for Home Study

Welcome to the Exemplary Masters Series!  This is a series of courses designed from the ground up for online study and practice, at home, for The Art of Armizare.  I’m using a combination of video, still photos, written lessons, short quizzes, an online forum, and critique of student-made “homework” videos of their solo practice.  This is very much a work in progress and I will be hard at work building the courses in longsword, arming sword dagger, abrazare, spear, and axe.  The initial focus will be on longsword, with some important lessons from the abrazare material included, but I’ll build the foundations of the other material in parallel with it.

Masters of Longsword

This course teaches solo practice drills for the longsword of Fiore dei Liberi. It consists of videos, still photos, written lessons, and short quizzes (not graded – these are an aid to learning). The course can be taken by an absolute beginner to Armizare, or used by current students to improve their skills, and learn new ones.

Learning Goals

At the end of this course, students will be able to demonstrate the following:

  • Basic or improved proficiency of stance, balance, and movement
  • Knowledge of the mechanical properties of the longsword
  • The proper formation of each Posta (guard)
  • Basic or improved proficiency in all cuts and thrusts of the sword (the 7 Blows of the Sword)
  • The ability to transition from guard to guard using offensive and defensive cuts, thrusts, parries, and counterattacks
  • An understanding of martial tempo, true times, measure between opponents, line, and angle
  • The difference between zogho largo (wide play) and zogho stretto (close play)
  • An understanding of the tactical applications of each guard
  • Show basic or improved proficiency in the 5 Posta Dances – practice forms

Curriculum Guide

Note: headings that don’t show a link are under construction but will be coming soon! I’m busy writing materials and shooting video, and processing it all to put on line!

  1. Introduction & Exercises with Hammers and Sticks
    • Free Video! In this first video, I cover some fundamental swordplay exercises you can perform with a dowels, sticks, or hammers!
  2. Armizare: A Brief Context
    • A brief video (from a slideshow) giving a high-level overview of Italy in the 14th century and some of the context for Armizare. Consider this a preview of the deeper study you’ll do in these course! – this slideshow will be followed by other presentations that delve into topics only touched on here.
  3. The Exemplary Masters
    • A video lecture covering the 24 Masters of the Longsword who precede the largo and stretto plays of the longsword. These 24 Masters teach us all the fundamentals of the system; even if this was all we had of Fiore’s works, we would still have the core of a robust system of fighting with the longsword.
  4. Stable, Striking, and Mutable: an article on the Stabile, Pulsativa, and Instable Poste of L’Arte dell’Armizare
    • Fiore classifies his Post (guards) with the the terms stabile, pulsating, and unstable. This article discusses why these guards are grouped this way, and what that means for strategic and tactical use of them.
  5. Tempo and True Times in Armizare: article
    • It’s not enough to swing a sword with a strong arm – combatants need to understand how to enter safely into the fight, and to sieze initiative by forcing the opponent to respond rather than initiate.
  6. Line, Angle and Measure: article
    • The physical relationship between opponents is discussed using the terms line, angle, and measure. Each has precise meanings and applications that aid in strategic planning and tactical execution of actions.
  7. Armizare Glossary of Terms
  8. Lesson Plans: article
    • Detailing each lesson of the curriculum, including understanding of when to proceed to the next lesson.
  9. Warm up & Work Out!
    • Free Video Series! A video warmup and workout routine to be used at the beginning of each practice session.
  10. Stance & Basic Footwork: video and article
    • A primer on the basic body mechanics of Armizare.
  11. Abrazare Posta Dance: video
    • A solo practice form for stance, movement, and balance. To be practiced initially alone, as its own lesson, and then incorporated into warmups.
  12. 1st Longsword Posta Dance: video series
    • Posta Code Longa d’um man: drawing the sword to fight
    • Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro pulsativa: lessons from a strong Posta
    • Posta di Donna destra pulsativa: the strong right hand
    • Posta di Finestra instabile: fighting in transition
    • Posta di Donna la sinestra pulsativa: playing in close
    • The 1st Longsword Posta Dance
  13. 2nd Longsword Posta Dance: video series
    • Posta Longa instabile: the deceiver
    • Posta Porta di Ferro Mezzana stabile: the difficult opponent
    • Posta Breve: stabile and instabile
    • Posta Dente de Zenghiaro stabile: the dangerous boar’s tooth
    • The 2nd Longsword Posta Dance
  14. 3rd Longsword Posta Dance: video series
    • Posta di Coda Longa stabile: here I wait
    • Posta di Bicorno instabile: with the strength of an anvil
    • Posta Frontale instabile: the crown protects you
    • Posta Dente de Zenghiaro mezana stabile: the second tooth
    • The 3rd Longsword Posta Dance
  15. 4th Longsword Posta Dance: en Arme: video series
    • Posta Breve la Serpentina: the strike of the serpent
    • Posta di Vera Croce: make of me a True Cross and I will protect you
    • Posta Sonno Serpentina lo Soprano: the sleeping serpent
    • Posta Saggitaria: the archer’s strike
    • Posta de Croce Bastarda: the modified True Cross
    • The 4th Longsword Posta Dance