Rapier - also known as Renaissance Fencing

FencingRapier at River Haven is handled by Marcos de la Valencia, previously run as Scuola Volpino - School of the Fox, by Don Henry Fox (AA, OR, Ra, Baron, Guildmaster Lochac Royal Guild of Defence ). Fencers get together every Wednesday night for training sessions, mini-tournaments, and classes on all things Rapier.

Anyone of any fitness level can learn fencing. And to start, all you need is a pair of gloves (like welding gloves) and yourself. If you can't afford a sword, you may be able to borrow one during the lesson, or an aluminium curtain rod cut to size and weighted with sand makes a practical alternate. If you wish to go into tournaments, that's when you start having to organise specialist equipment.

So what seperates Renaissance fencing from Olympic fencing?

  • Renaissance Fencing is late 16th century to early 17th century (forget Pirates of the Carribean - that's too late for the SCA)
  • The swords are different - Ren Fencers use a Rapier as opposed to an épées or foil
  • Ren Fencers can move in every direction - forwards, back, sideways, diagonally
  • Ren Fencers can use bucklers/ shields, capes, canes, daggers, parrying gauntlet and other offhand defensive equipment
  • There are many schools of defence for Ren Fencing
    • German - focus on speed and efficiency - of kill them quick, who cares if I look pretty? i.e. German School of Swordsmanship
    • Italian -combines a number of styles, but is practical in its approach i.e Italian school of swordsmanship
    • Spanish - often compared to a dance with swords. A form that uses geometry and chess-like thinking to outsmart the opponent - i.e. Destreza
    • French
    • English

Each year a fantastic event is held at River Haven - North of the Border Fencing Festival (August). Fencers come from all over Australia and New Zealand for training sessions, tourneys, good food, lively discussion and fun. Check the Gallery page for pictures from past events.

Links of interest (taken mostly from Scuola Volpino's links:

Fencing Equipment Suppliers. These are not endorsed by the SCA. For specialist equipment such as armour and swords, please speak to a rapier marshall first.