Instructors and classes at the International Rapier Seminar

During the International Rapier Seminar, widely renowned, and well-known instructors will teach classes on their chosen style of Rapier fencing. Each instructor will teach one class directed at experienced rapierists, and one class aimed at beginners in rapier fencing. These classes will be run with one beginners class and one experienced class in parallel so that the event can cater to all experience levels. On this page, you will find information about these instructors and their classes.

David Rawlings

The Truth of the sword

William Cavendish, the Marquis of Newcastle, was an interesting fellow, a general on the wrong side of the English civil war, a playwright and all round smug clever person. He was clearly knowledgeable of fencing masters of many styles before him, and (as is so unusual in in a sword-master) regarded them all as lacking in some way, and all of their works as flawed, or certainly not as good as his “Truth of the sword”. His style is incredibly simple, his explanation is not.

So you will want to come and learn it from David Rawlings, who will explain it to you, most likely using many swear words which were omitted* (accidentally) from Cavendish's method. David runs the London Longsword academy & Boar's Tooth fight schools, he is a full time swordsmanship instructor in London. He teaches many things, you may have heard of him.

*this is a lie, he will just swear, this is a sign he is happy, distressed, or needs biscuits.

Maestro Francesco Lodà

Francesco Lodà started his career in historical fencing in 1999. He is the founder and president of the Accademia Romana d'Armi, a historical fencing school in Rome that has been active since 2001. As a teacher, Francesco graduated from the Accademia Nazionale di Scherma (National Academy of Fencing) in Naples. He is also a graduate of the UISP (Italian National Sport Union). He teaches courses in historical fencing at the Roman academy, and works for Federazione Italiana Scherma (Italian Fencing Federation) and UISP as a National Trainer of teachers and member of the National Technical Committee for historical fencing. He also graduated as an Athletics Trainer from the Italian Olympic National Commitee (CONI).
As a researcher, he has a doctorate in History at the University of Toulouse (FR) and Rome (IT). With regards to fencing, he is the author of several books and numerous articles on the history of the discipline (XVII-XIX), on the methodology of historical research and specifically athletics training. Beyond fencing, his research mainly focuses on the history of ancient religions, indo-Europeanism, and the historiography of the twentieth century.
As an athlete, he has placed prominently in several national and international rapier tournaments, including: Swordfish 2013 (1st place rapier and dagger competition)) GISS 2013 - UISP Italian National Championship 2013 (1st place) Hemac-Dijon 2013 (2nd place, Technical prize) Swordfish 2012 (1st place rapier and dagger competition) Rapier 2012 (1st place general group, 1st place single rapier group) Rapier 2011 (3d place) UISP Italian National Championship 2011 (2nd place) UISP International Championship 2009 (1st place Open group, 1st place Maestri group) FISAS International Meeting 2006 (1st place) FISAS International Meeting 2005 (1st place) BFHF's Rapier Tournament 2005 (3d place, Technical prize) WMAW 2004 (1st place) FISAS International Meeting 2004 (2nd place)
*for a complete list of references, certifications, papers please visit:

In 1686, Francesco Antonio Marcelli wrote possibly one of the most important fencing manuals, giving us a complete, personal interpretation of the Roman-Neapolitan school, the system established and developed by his family in Rome and Italy from the mid-Seventeenth to the mid-Nineteenth Century. In these workshops, we will present some of Marcelli's principal teachings, comparing them with those of the "old rapier" authors, and also showing their influence in the history of fencing up to the present. We will also look at the work of some other authors, who were disciples of the Marcelli family.

Thibault Ghesquière

Thibault Ghesquière is a French HEMA practitioner from the De Taille et d'Estoc group, who has been focusing on rapier since 2008, using Dancie's book as a base to develop his fencing. He is now joined by Rob Runacres of Commilitium Historical Fencing in this study. Thibault will demonstrate why the understanding of Dancie's fantastic use of measure, tempo, positioning and psychology can be a key to acquire a fast yet double-free style of fencing, using simple mechanics pushed to a high level.

We do not know much about François Dancie. He was a French master, living in Limousin in Central France. His reputation was such that he acquired patronage from Henry de Schomberg, who later became Marshal of France. While, like most of the French masters of the time, he used an Italian based system to fence with the rapier, Dancie's work is unusual because he clearly focuses on duel and self-defense situations, more than on pure technique. However, with a clear analysis of guards and counter-guards, it does form a coherent and logical system.
Sir Maynard, president of Aurillac made this pertinent observation: "C'est un miracle que ce livre, en nous montrant l'art de tuer. Il te va faire toujours vivre": "This book is a miracle, showing the art of killing. It will always make you live."

Ton Puey

Ton Puey grew up studying shotokan karate for 8 years, during his adolescence and childhood, before he started practicing sport fencing in 1995. He did not move to historical fencing until 2002, and around 2004 he started his research into the Spanish fencing style La "Verdadera Destreza". Since then he has been teaching this discipline in different workshops in Spain, Portugal, France and Austria. Ton is a founding member of Asociación Galega de Esgrima Antigua -Galician Association of Historical Fencing- and a honorary member of the Spanish Federation of Historical Fencing. Ton also belongs to the editorial board of AGEA publishing, and to the European Association Hemac, and he is a regular collaborator of the Portuguese Federation of Historical Fencing.

In 1582 Jeronimo Sanchez de Carranza published the first treatise in which we hear of La Verdadera Destreza ("true skill"). In 1600 Luis Pacheco de Narvaez continued this kind of study to understand the fencing raising Destreza to be the dominant style of fencing in the Iberian Peninsula and the countries influenced by it until the nineteenth century.
The concern for defense, the geometric explanation, the meeting of the swords, a different idea of distance compared to the Italian schools, and the often misunderstood "circle" are its main features, developed by many authors among which we highlight, besides the two already mentioned, Cristóbal de Cala, Francisco Antonio de Ettenhard, Luís Díaz de Viedma and Francisco Lorenz de Rada.

Reinier van Noort

Reinier van Noort is the main instructor and founder of the School for Historical Fencing Arts. He started modern (foil) fencing in 2003, but he in the summer of 2005 he was introduced to Medieval European Martial Arts, which changed his life forever. From 2005 until 2010, Reinier has trained in longsword and other Medieval European Martial Arts with groups in the Netherlands, and since 2007 he has been increasingly active as a trainer with one of these groups. From 2008 until 2011 Reinier has also trained Kadochnikov Systema with Maxim Pipotja in Amersfoort.
After making the first English translation of Bruchius' "Scherm- ofte Wapen-konste" (Fencing- or Weapon-Art") in October 2009, Reinier got very interested in rapier fencing, and since January 2010 he has been researching, training and teaching the Fencing Art described by Bruchius in practice.
In 2011, Reinier won the "best fighting technique" award in the HEMAC Dijon Rapier tournament.

After his death, some of Salvator Fabris's students rose to prominence as fencing instructors in the Holy Roman Empire and its sphere of influence. A few of these students, such as Hans Wilhem Schöffer von Dietz, wrote fencing treatises of their own, and so did their students. These treatises offer both a different view on the teachings of Fabris, and show how the Art of Fabris evolved with time to adapt to changing weapons and circumstances. In our workshops, we will look at two of these treatises. Johannes Georgius Bruchius published his “Grondige Beschryvinge der Edele ende Ridderlijcke Scherm- ofte Wapen-konste” in 1671, in Leiden (NL). Jéann Daniel L’Ange’s “Deutliche und gründliche Erklärung der Adelichen und Ritterlichen freyen Fecht-Kunst” was published in 1664, in Heidelberg (D). Both treatises appear to be part of Fabris’s legacy, but they provide rather different points of view which complement one another very well. Through a selection of plays from the treatises, we will explore late seventeenth century rapier fencing in North-West Europe, and see how this compares with Fabris's original style.

Hans Jörnlind

Unfortunately, Hans Jörnlind has had to cancel his attendance at the IRS. Reinier van Noort has stepped in as his replacement.

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