Renaissance Swordplay: The Deadly Art of the Duel

Learn the truth behind the swashbuckling swordplay of the Renaissance! By the later 16th century the two-handed longsword had been replaced by the elegant and deadly rapier as the principal weapon of the trained swordsman. Only once this weapon had been mastered was the use of companion arms taught, occasionally followed by the older polearms and two-handed sword.

Although the rapier has come to symbolize the era, the older, military sword continued to be used throughout the same period in an elegant, cut-and-thrust style learned by soldiers and civilian fencers alike. Your training begins with the rapier and then adds the use of the older, cutting sword. Together, these two weapons form the foundation of an extensive curriculum derived from the teachings of the 16th and 17th century masters of defense that pairs the sword with the shield, dagger and cloak, and also includes knife-fighting and unarmed knife defense.

Forteza is the home studio of the Chicago Swordplay Guild, an internationally renowned organization that offers two distinct tracks of historical fighting arts from Medieval and Renaissance Italy (1350 – 1650). Ranking is based on a traditional system of licensing used by fighting guilds found throughout late medieval Europe.

Is the Renaissance Swordplay Program right for me?

Through the study of Renaissance Swordsmanship, you will learn:

  • A more than 400 year-old fighting art that revolutionized swordsmanship and gave rise to modern fencing;
  • How to wield the elegant, agile and deadly rapier and the powerful cutting sword, both alone and when combined with daggers, shields or cloaks;
  • A solid foundation in natural, elegant movement and universal body mechanics;
  • Combative integration – learn how to move from weapon range to grappling range, and how to fight with against diverse weapons in dissimilar combat scenarios;
  • The evolution of both the sword and dagger during the Renaissance;
  • The history of the duel;
  • The history of our tradition and the stories of its most famous (and infamous) students;
  • The ethical system of chivalry, in theory vs. practice, and its evolution over time.

How do I begin?

Mastery is difficult, but beginning is easy! Just enroll in our Taste of the Renaissance introductory class and let your journey begin.

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