Fabris Lesson Plan for Plate 1

Brief introduction to the rapier itself and its parts.

Terminology: The four hand positions in Italian rapier (one, two, three, four). Their introduction by Agrippa. The difference between one, the hand position, and first/prima the guard.

[students demonstrate the four hand positions to reinforce the terminology]

Fabris’s stance, including the crossing or near-crossing, of the feet when they are close together. Contrast with modern theory in which the feet should never cross.

Review the rest of the body in the withdrawn prima.

[students practice assuming the withdrawn prima]

Discuss how to use the illustrations to distinguish between important and unimportant details by comparing the left and right fencer in the same guard.

[students practice assuming the withdrawn prima with refinements]

Discuss the strengths of the withdrawn prima, namely protecting the head. (Note, changed the order slightly from the text.)

[students drill parrying basic high cuts to the head]

Discuss the weaknesses of the withdrawn prima, specifically the opening beneath the sword.

Continue the discussion with talking about the importance of hand parries in this posture.

[drill attacking someone in the withdrawn prima. Agent starts in a generic third, the patient in prima will parry with the hand.]

Terminology: single vs double-time actions

[repeat drill, but patient may parry with the sword.]

Discuss Fabris’ theory that this posture is only good for retreating. Then conclude with a preview of the extended or “properly formed” Prima.

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