Italian Rapier Combat: Ridolfo Capo Ferro’s ‘Gran Simulacro’.
This beautifully-illustrated and detailed book presents one of the world’s most influential fencing treatises. Ridolfo Capo Ferro was a legend in his own lifetime and his intricate and exact instructions were copied and emulated throughout a Europe bewitched by this Italian’s grace and style. The manual, illustrated with 43 striking illustrations, gives a very real flavour of the panache of this expert in swordsmanship and mastery of that most lethal of weapons – the rapier. Ferro examines different kinds of swords, their component parts and their suitability, before going on to discuss their actual use. There he expounds his theory as to the timing and direction of thrusts, the essential distances and the need for complete control. He also looks at defensive measures, guards, parries, the need for quick footwork. Capo Ferro’s text is a practical guide to fighting and one which builds on the theory to show exactly how a superior form of swordsmanship could be learned by Europe’s elite. His illustrations clearly show the best methods and also show how a rapier could be lethally effective when used with a dagger or with a cloak. Translated into English for the first time, and presented by fencing expert Jared Kirby, this handsome volume is not only attractive to look at its also a vital historical record. It is essential reading for any historical swordfighter, student of martial arts and student of military history as it allows the reader to access the knowledge of one of the masters of the art. The book is also sure to give the modern fencer new insights in technique and a greater appreciation of the history of this exciting sport.