Blade Length and Capoferro

Something that has been bothering me for quite some time is the insistence on using short blades for Capoferro. Consider this passage:

Therefore the sword has to be twice as long as the arm, and as much as my extraordinary pace, which length corresponds equally to that which is from my armpit down to the sole of my foot.

Now look at this photo from Plate 20.


That isn’t even remotely close to the correct length. Even though he is leaning, the sword is still quite far from reaching his armpit.

When we look at the actual plate 20 we can see why this is important. Were the left fencer to really beat his opponent’s sword so hard that his hand turned down towards the ground he would risk injury to his leg. Instead, Capoferro has us leave beat the sword so that it moves just enough to leave an opening.


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4 Responses to Blade Length and Capoferro

  1. Pingback: Size Matters: how long should your rapier be? | Guy Windsor

  2. Tom H. says:

    I’m not sure how you can draw any sort of strong conclusion from that illustration; C’s left hand is outside D’s right wrist, and so the beat must have been executed with the elbow? Or was done early, and D slipped the blade back inside a much wider beat before being struck? Or, *perhaps*, it’s merely suggestive…

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