The rapier is a sword with its long thin blade which is primarily, but not solely, a civilian dress sword and dueling weapon. By the time that the rapier had fully matured the methods of using this weapon had been laid down in treatises by many masters and practitioners. The term rapier is used quite loosely by sellers and historians. A small sword for example is often referred to as a rapier and in archaeology rapier is often used to describe any weapon that has a long thin blade in ancient and more modern times. Interestingly in Italy where the rapier as a weapon was so entrenched in the culture the word "rapier" did not appear in the Italian language and was only imported retrospectively in modern times from the English.
Our studies take us on a journey though the early transitional rapier to the late classical rapier. The techniques used were dictated by the heft of the rapier as it evolved over a relatively short period of time. The early rapier, personified by the teachings of Jacomo Di Grassi, True Arte of Defense (1570), Achille Morozzo
(1536) and others followed by the Italian master Vincentio Saviolo (1596) combined methods used in side arms and the new methods developed to take advantage of the lighter but powerful rapier with its effective cutting edge and lethal point. Although it is impossible to nail down the exact moments of change the the writings of Salvator Fabris (1606) and Capo Ferro (1610) for example offer an insight into their understanding of a sophisticated method of use, using longer finer blades with more protection to the hand allowing a longer game, with more controlled lines to target and tip engagement. They deal with exercising the body so that the movements they propose can be achieved with the correct timing enabling perfect measure to defend whilst dispatching the opponent.
This beautiful art is now being rediscovered by the SSA and other schools in the UK and the rest of Europe. Refined and lethal, we develop the body and the mind to enjoy the secrets of this art.