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Swordsmanship & Fencing

Fencing: Techniques of Foil, Epee and Sabre
by Brian Pitman
Hardcover   (1989)

The History of Fencing:
Foundations of Modern European Swordplay

by William M. Gaugler, Lance C. Lobo
Paperback   (1998)

This is the most fascinating mainstream fencing history since Egerton Castle's "Schools and Masters of Fence," which was written at the end of the nineteenth century.  William Gaugler's writing, the product of both scholar and fencing master, is always clear and precise.  "The History of Fencing" belongs in every fencing and sword library.  I recommend it highly.
This book is unique in that it shows the development of modern fencing using the unique understanding of a man who is a fencing master and an academic.  Using only original sources a complete picture of the development of fencing results.  A well-researched, scholarly history of fencing.

For serious fencers this book is complete and indispensable!
At long last, someone has written a complete book on fencing.  Eschewing the “dumbed-down” fencing of today’s poorly trained fencing "athlete," Maestro William Gaugler’s “The Science of Fencing” addresses every technique of Italian swordplay, describes the details of their correct execution, and presents them in the logical order of the historically proven pedagogical structure which defines the intelligent fencing lesson.  In addition, the book’s precise definitions, synoptic tables, and descriptions of trains of actions between master and pupil are of invaluable aid to the beginning student who has not yet learned to fence at a higher level of complexity.

A must for sword and fencing enthusiasts!    Written in 1884, this book is full of the history and lore of the sword.    Richard Burton (not the actor) was a historian, an explorer, and a fencer, and he managed to blend all three interests in this fascinating biography of "the Queen of Weapons."   His passion for the sword is obvious as he follows it from its origins in prehistory to Roman times.   For Burton, no praise is too great, no detail too small when it comes to the sword.   He had a burning desire to illuminate, to tell what he knew, and this he did with the full force of a tidal wave. Today, the book is recognized for the work of art it truly is.   As a fencing master and writer, I recommend this book highly.

Secrets of the Sword
by Baron Cesar De Bazancour
Paperback   (1998)

This book was a pleasure to read, with a casual air that pulls one along.  As a beginning fencer, the presentation of a knowledgeable fencer speaking to a non-fencing group, providing a simple (but progressively deeper) overview of the art/sport/skill over a series of evening talks, met my needs wonderfully.   Even so, it is clear that some of the topics (this book was written almost 150 years ago) are apparently still being debated in contemporary fencing. This book was a clever and refreshing break from some of the "heavier" fencing literature I have been reading.  I would have to believe that the more you know of fencing, the more you will get from this book.
I have often compared this book, in casual conversation, to Musashi's "Book of Five Rings."  Like the latter offering, Bazancourt presents a mixture of philosophy, advice, and technique. Obviously, they are also very different — the one was written in Tokugawa Japan and the other in nineteenth century France — but they are similar in that they seek to touch not just the accidentals of the practice of swordsmanship, but also the universals.
Bazancourt's book is not just informative and useful, but also entertaining and well-written.  I'm sure that the French original must be even better!   A must for all fencers!

An enjoyable introduction to the history, lore, and some specifics of technique, including the psychology of fencing. Covers the three types of weapons, the rules, and selecting a fencing school or getting started in the sport. Includes profiles of prominent fencers, a glossary of terms, and book and film resources.  Illustrated with b&w photos.  I would like to underscore my thanks to everyone who has bought a copy of "The Art and Science of Fencing," making it one of the best selling fencing books of all time; and to restate my offer of a free autographed bookplate.
The author, Nick Evangelista , February 27, 1997
A NOTE:  To anyone who purchases a copy of my book, "The Art and Science of Fencing" -- e-mail me your postal mailing address, and I will send you an autographed book plate for your book. FREE. Why? Simple. I appreciate my readers.

The Encyclopedia of the Sword
by Nick Evangelista, William M. Gaugler
Hardcover  (1995)

From the gruff, sword-toting swashbucklers of the Middle Ages to modern adventure epics like The Princess Bride, the aura surrounding the sword is one that is both romantic and pragmatic. Thoughts of this weapon bring to mind images of the Knights of the Round Table, Zorro, the Three Musketeers -- the things daydreams are made of.   Yet, until the publication of this encyclopedia there has never been a comprehensive volume on the subject of the sword.   For the first time, readers can locate information on the history of sword types and styles throughout the world, techniques of combat sword use, techniques of fencing and major fencing masters, and so on.
A reference on the history of sword types and styles around the world; techniques of sword combat; techniques and styles of modern sport fencing; names and descriptions of fencing implements and weapon types; swashbuckler films and the fencing masters who have influenced the genre; significant teachers; the sword at the Olympics; and literature in which swords figure largely are among the information presented.   Also includes winners of various competitions and awards, famous people in other fields who were fencers, writers and scholars of the sword such as Richard Burton, and other auxiliary topics.

The Secret History of the Sword
by J. Christopher Amberger
Paperback   (1999)

This is the most complete treatise ever on the art of European edged weapons combat.  In this volume, the author discusses the development of sword fighting techniques throughout Europe's history, includes first hand accounts of famous duels, compares and contrasts Medieval sword-fighting with modern sport fencing, and provides a comprehensive overview of the "way" of the sword in Europe.  
Here's what some of the world's top swordfighting experts said about The Secret History of the Sword: Nick Evangelista, author, The Encyclopedia of the Sword (1995), The Art and Science of Fencing (1996), and Fighting with Sticks (1998)"
Amberger's approach ... is a ruthless search-and-destroy mission that takes the reader on a quest for the truth that starts in obscure Caucasian mythology, crosses the Greco-Roman past, and then blows through the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and modern period with the force of a two-handed Doppelsoeldner broadsword."
Malcolm Fare, editor, The Sword (UK)
"I recommend this book (...) to anyone in the Japanese arts even remotely interested in the sword in a wider context." Kim Taylor, editor, Journal of Japanese Swords Arts (Canada)
Few historians, let alone martial artists and modern fencers today are aware of the mysterious realm of lethally effective fighting arts that were taught and practised in Europe from classical antiquity until the 20th century.  In The Secret History of the Sword, I do my best to introduce you to some long-forgotten techniques and obscure references from ancient manuscripts and sources that allow a clear picture to emerge of the sophisticated empty-hand and edged-weapons fighting skills of the West.  Wherever I can, I try to apply a hands-on approach to sword fighting -- rooted in my own experience with some living fossils of European edged-weapons combat -- and combine it with detailed analysis of ancient and modern manuals.  On my trip into the secrets of some of the most effective fighting arts ever conceived by man, you'll encounter * a heart stopping view at the blood sports systems of the Greeks and Romans* a devastating critique of Patton's 1913 sabre system* proof that "Renaissance" sword techniques were employed as early as AD150* a fighter's perspective on the use of cut and thrust weapons on foot and horseback from the 1600s to World War I* an exclusive look at an unknown Burgundian baton fighting system * drills and targets of the Highland broadsword* an account of a German student duel with sharp rapiers...from the fighter's point of view! well as dozens of first-hand accounts and references of encounters in the various ways Westers warriors of all eras used the sword in lethal and non-lethal combat.

Records of the Medieval Sword
by Ewart Oakeshott
Paperback   (1998)

A must for any serious student of the European Sword!
This book is full of pictures and data covering the full developement of the Medieval Sword in Europe.   It contains the only complete typeology of swords, based on thier blade shape and function.   It is written in a very readable form by a man with a genuine enthusiasm for swords, without the usual dry-as-dirt pedantry that is usually associated with books of this type.    While by-passing some important data, it is far more comprehensive that any other book of it's type.
THE book on medieval swords, a must for would be swordsmiths.
To date this is the only book I know of that covers medieval sword types and shapes with any accuracy and depth.  The book is based on existing swords in private collections and museums.  I have personally been looking for this book for some time and thankfully it was in stock !

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