Before he was quite so famous, while employed at the Royal Naval Academy in Livorno, Pini wrote a short book detailing his method of group instruction for fencing, according to the regulation method of the time (Parise 1884). It is this valuable and interesting work which I wish to share with you all today, which is entitled Lezioni collettive di spada e sciabola ('Group sword and sabre lessons'), published in 1891 in Milan.
With very little in the way of technical notes, this booklet is more of a pedagogical guide for trained fencing instructors. Although individual lessons were the more popular method at the time for imparting technical skills (at least in the initial phases of learning), Pini's text provides a valuable insight into how skilled fencing masters would impart lessons to groups without compromising the quality of their teaching in doing so.
With reference to Parise's regulation treatise, Pini divides his curriculum into 5 years (the same length as an officer's course at the Royal Naval Academy), with the first four years of which being devoted almost entirely to sword fencing. Here is a summary of each year of the curriculum: