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Eric's Fencing Information and Links
Written and researched by Matthew Rhys Sypniewski, B.A, M.A.

On this page I will endeavor to place some interesting links and stories about the sport of fencing, various fencing champions, and novels about fencing. Interestingly enough I have a few fencing masters in my family. One was Count Kreussler/Crysler

Did you know that St. Paul, the Apostle, is the patron saint of swordsmen? To read about this CLICK HERE

A currently available fictional novel on fencing is The Fencing Master by Arturo Perez-Reverte. Arturo Perez-Reverte has also written Club Duma and The Seville Communion. The novel is about Don Jaime a fencing master and a beautiful and mysterious female fencer. It has both romance and a flavor of the fencing scene. Interesting reading. Of course, this book explores the Spanish type of fencing. See these pages for more: Martinez Spanish Fencing Academy...Video on Spanish Fencing Techniques.

The épée á l'estoc was a stabbing sword which terminated in a point. The Germans called it the "Panzerstecher.

*****CLICK HERE Upcoming Schoolcraft Fencing Club Meets*****Fencing Resultswith information about tournament results.

The Sport of Fencing (ABC) Sydney, Australia 2000

By the Sword:

The sword was a knight's most essential weapon. Swords were made by repeatedly heating, folding, and hammering the blade. This process created carbon steel, which was much harder than ordinary iron. This process took much time and was best done by a professional. Iron was brittle while carbon steel would flex rather than break.

  1. Oaths were taken upon the sword. The point was stuck into the ground, and the hand rested upon the hilt, much like we swear upon the Bible. Among Pagan Germans this oath was considered sacred. In Holstein, this mode of swearing was retained longer than in any other part of the country.

    - The Quadi (religious judge) took their oaths upon drawn swords. They played a significant role in the military affairs of medieval Granada, Spain. The Quadi were Islamic.

    - The Pagan Saxons confirmed their alliances with their naked swords.

    - Even church pontificals and sacramentaries had contained prayers for the blessing of swords.

    - Early swords were cruciform in shape. They were considered an object of simple beauty, with an austere perfection of line and proportion. The sword was designed for delivering cutting blows or thusts, or both.

  2. The sword was used solely by freeman, men of noble standing, and kings. The right to bear arms was taken very seriously. A peasant was not permitted to have a sword legally.

  3. Vanquished warriors gave themselves up without their swords or by holding them up by their points. They basically surrendered their sword to their victor.

  4. The Goth's sons were adopted by means of the sword, which was handed over to the adopted individual as Theodoric adopted the king of the Heruli as his son.

  5. In Western Europe, the sword was a symbol of dominion.

  6. The sword was an emblem of justice, especially penal justice. The ancient courts of Germany never attended court without their swords.

  7. At nuptials in early Frisia, the sword was employed symbolically. While the bride walked towards her bridegroom, a young man headed the march with a drawn sword, symbolizing that he would pass the duties of guardianship and protector to the groom upon their wedding day.

  8. The Franks delivered and accepted swords as a preliminary to an impending execution.

  9. In the 15th century, a sword as sent to an adversary as notice of a challenge (to a duel or to a matter of law).

  10. A drawn sword was also used at proxy marriages.

  11. Knights were dubbed with swords and many Chivalric Orders have "sword bearers" who led the processionals at the beginning and the end of their ceremonies.

Duels were fought for the purpose of settling the rights of property or for the avenging the commission of a crime. Crimes that were tried by duels were murder, manslaughter, rape, infliction of a wound, neglect in the discharge of a feudal service, or treason. If a knight challenged a commoner, the duel took place on foot.

(from A Treatise Upon the Useful Science of Defense by Capt. John Godfrey, 1747)

Before I enter upon the Characters of the most eminent Masters, who have come within my Observation, I must take notice of the Superiority the Back-Sword has over the Small, in point of Use. Indeed as we cannot put a Stop to the natural Passions of Mankind, which , according to their Constitution and Temperment, more or less excite them to Mischief, if not proportionately checked by Reason; we must endeavour at the readiest Means of putting it out of their power to do us that Mischief their Passions prompted them to. It is therefore requisite to learn the Small-Sword, in order to guard against the Attempts of that Man, with whose brutal Ferocity no Reason will prevail; But then that Necessity is productive of Pain and Misery, though it tends to the Preservation of your life. Killing a Man, when you are forced upon the Defensive, clears you in human Laws; but how far you are justified in Christianity, the gospel can best tell you. There is a Consciousness attends all Actions, which is the strongest Monitor; and that Consciousness will not leave a Man undisturbed after his Fellow-Creature is laid bleeding at his feet, though from the highest Provocation, and in his necessary self-defense. But Lays divine as well as human justification and protect you in your Country's Cause. Sure the wide Difference between the killing numbers of your Enemy in Battle, and one Man in a Quarrel, ever so much in your own Defense, every calm thinking man cannot but allow.

It is therefore that the Small-Sword, in point of true Reason, is not necessary; it is only a subservient Instrument in our Passions. This is viewing it in the tenderest Light; but I fear it oftener proves, proportionably to its Practice, an Incentive and Encouragement to Mischief.

But the Back-Sword, sure, must be distinguished from the other, because it is necessary in the Army, as the other is mischievous in Quarrels, and deadly in Duels. The Small-Sword is the Call of Honour, the Back Sword the Call of Duty. I wish Honour had more acquaintance with Honesty than it generally has. There is a Kind of Honour, which will carry a Man behind Montague House with another, when it will not pay his Debts, though he was the wherewithal to do it. True Honour must be very intimate with Honesty, and I will venture to affirm that, where the latter is not, the former had but a mean existence. It need not be said I here discourage the Small-Sword, I only oppose its Abuse; I own, I have preached a little, but I think what I have advanced is a true Doctrine: But as few of us can arrive to that prodigious Meekness, it is necessary to be a Master of our Sword, to guard against those Passions that we can put a Stop to. I am not that Saint to advise a Man to let another pull him by the Nose; but then I would have him to be the brave User of his Sword, and not the quarrelsome. Quarrelsomeness and Bravery, I take to be Strangers, and the more Bravery I have found in a Man, I have always observed him the more Unwillingness to Quarrel. I yet highly recommend the Small-Sword teaching, if it were only (as I have before hinted) to introduce you better, and establish you stronger in the Back-Sword. The Back-Sword must be allowed essentially necessary among the Horse; and I could wish it were more practised, than I find it is. Sure it ought to be a Part of a Trooper's Duty to learn the Back-Sword, as much as the Foot to learn the common Exercise, and the Exercise of the former's Sword ought to be urged, as much as that of the latter's Firelock. If a Troop of FIGS were engaged with a Troop of men, ignorant of the Back-Sword I would ask, which has the better chance? I believe it will be granted, that a considerable superior Strength in the latter would be an equivalent to the Skill and Judgement of the former.

We are allowed to be more expert in the Back-Sword than any other Nation, and it would be a pity, if we were not to continue so. In FIGG'S Time the Spirit of it was greatly kept up; but I have been often sorry to find it dwindle, and in a Manner die away with him. I must be allowed that those amphitheatrical Practices were productive of some ill, as they gave some Encouragement to Idleness and Extravagance among the Vulgar. But there is hardly any good useful Thing,but what leaves an opening to Mischief, and which is not liable to Abuse. Those Practices are certainly highly necessary, and the Encouragement of Back-Sword Fighting and Boxing, I think Commendable; the former for the Uses which have been mentioned; the latter, and both; to feed and kept up the British Spirit. Courage I allow to be chiefly natural, probably owing to the Complexion and Constitution of our Bodies, and flowing in the different Texture of the Blood and juices; but it sure is, in a great measure, acquired by Use, and Familiarity with Danger. Emulation and love of Glory are great Breeders of it. To what Pitch of daring do we see them carry Men? And how observable is it in Miniature among Boys, who, almost as soon as they can go alone, get into their Postures, and bear their little bloody Noses, rather than be stimatized for Cowards?

*FIGS was the "Altas of the Sword," a Master fencer in the opinion of the writer of this treatise.

In this time period duels were still done by people such as Andrew Jackson, and his exploits were frowned upon. Puts one in mind of a saying carved on a Mexican knife I own: "Do not unsheath me without reason, do not return me without honor."

In the days of duels, unlike fencing today, the ultimate result was a matter of life and death. Discourtesy and unsportsmanship-like behavior were not tolerated. Nor should it be today.



Bouchard, Constance Britain. Strong of Body, Brave & Noble: Chivalry & Society in Medieval France. Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1998.

Fliegel, Stephen N. Arms and Armor: The Cleveland Museum of Art. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1998.

Hopkins, Andrea. Knights: The Complete Story of the Age of Chivalry, From Historical Fact to Tales of Romance and Poetry. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1990.

Kottenkamp, Dr. F. The History of Chivalry and Arms. New York: Portland House, 1988.


Here is some more reading material about chivalry, swordsmanship, and modern-day fencing,






  • Eastern Michigan University's Fencing Club (NEW)
  • Schoolcraft College Fencing ClubDoug McLaren's Pages
  • Ann Arbor Dueling Society (NEW)
  • Three Rivers Fencing Club of Pennsylvania(NEW)
  • Three Rivers Fencing Club, Midland, MI(NEW)
  • Gennesse Fencing Club(NEW)
  • Chicago Swordplay Guild
  • Kansas City Fencing
  • Michigan Fencing Club
  • Listing of Michigan Fencing Clubs
  • Underground Fencing Organization - Westland, MI
    9600 Leverne
    Redford, MI 48239

    Contact: Amy Webster: or Tina O'Brien:

    Currently Meeting Wednesdays, 7 PM to 9 PM, at Hosanna-Tabor Lutheran Church and School, located between Plymouth and West Chicago, and between Inkster and Beech. All fencers welcome.

    Directions: From 275 take 96 East, Exit Inkster road, Drive south 1.5 miles to West Chicago, Turn Left, Drive through the first light and two streets past will be Lucerne, Turn left and the school is on the left. Park in the first lot and the doors there lead into the gym.

    Renaissance Fencing Club - Madison Heights, MI
    31171 Stephenson Hwy
    Madison Heights, MI 48071-1639

    Email: Matt Dossman

    Web Page: Renaissance Fencing

    From Ann Arbor/Jackson/Kalamazoo: I-94 east to I-75 north. Take I-75 south to 12 Mile Road west. Take 12 Mile Road west to Stephenson Hwy north to 31171 and Renaissance Fencing Club.



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    This page is updated and designed by Maggie (BFA) and Matt Sypniewski(BA/MA)
    Last updated on July 14, 2005.