Thursday, 8 March 2018

I fondamenti della scherma italiana by Poggio Vannucchi

** EDIT: My translation of this treatise may now be found here. **

Below you will find the link to scans of Poggio Vannucchi's 1915 fencing treatise I fondamenti della scherma italiana ("The fundamentals of Italian fencing"). The book is split into two sections, one for sword and the other for sabre. Vannucchi was a Radaellian, and he makes no attempt to hide his loyalty to the great maestro, dedicating the book "To Giuseppe Radaelli, maestro and renewer of the art of fencing, with devoted memory".

In the introduction, Vannucchi states that Radaelli founded his system on the axiom: "the parry does not exist", which Vannucchi then explains as meaning "if the blow is well struck, with all the desired requirements, it is not possible to parry it". He then goes on to decry the "decadent" state of modern fencing, criticising the regulation system of the time (that of Pecoraro and Pessina).

Vannucchi's sabre system does not deviate dramatically from Radaelli's, leaving most of the terminology the same (even continuing to use the word coupé, unlike most of his contemporaries). However his guard position has the arm and sabre (his being straight blade with a Radaelli hilt) in a straight line, extended horizontally at shoulder height with the edge turned diagonally up. He is also unique in that he describes two different types of parry of 1st. One is called "alta angolata", with the arm and sabre at a right angle as described in Del Frate's manuals, the other is "in linea", with the arm extended at shoulder height as described in Masiello's treatise (and many others).

Thanks to Biblioteca Universitaria Bologna for providing me with the scans.

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