Roworth’s Art of Defence on Foot, Second Edition
Roworth’s Art of Defence is one of our primary resources for the practice of British military sabre and swordsmanship of the Napoleonic era. Here is the complete second edition, published in 1798, restored and made available by the AHF. It is for the practice of swordsmanship on foot with the Broadsword, sabre and spadroon.
‘The Rules and Regulations for the Infantry Sword Exercise’ by Henry Charles Angelo.
This is a scan of the first edition (1817) of the first manual officially adopted by the British army as a standard and regulated method of infantry sword practice. This work, and revised editions of it, remained the standard of the British army until almost the end of the 19th century. Based heavily on his father’s military system, the Angelo’s methods of infantry sword practice lasted almost one hundred years.
Printed cotton handkerchief, ‘The New Broad Sword Exercise’, published by William Hanson and Sons, Manchester, 1798.
Owned by the National Army Museum, Chelsea, London.
AHF Rapier Workbook
The rapier is the iconic sword of the renaissance, but it is often misunderstood due to poor representation in popular culture. The reality of the rapier is that it was a brutal and efficient killer. So much so that in Britain it was often considered a bullies or murderers weapon. Because to use a rapier against a person is to attempt to kill them, and not just defend oneself. A result of the heavy emphasis on point work and the horrendous internal damage that such thrust work inflicts.
Rapier teachings were first brought to Britain in the 1570’s, and soon became the dominant weapon for civilian wear. Of course many weapons that were not so different were also used in the military, featuring the same guards and slightly lighter and broader blades.
The rapier was very commonly used with offhand weapons, and Capo Ferro covers a range of them. However for this work book, we will focus on single sword, which is the foundation of the system. This workbook will give a solid overview and intro to the system for newcomers, and will be updated and improved periodically. Updated to version 1, 30th Nov 2016.
AHF Messer Workbook
This PDF workbook is based on a booklet produced for fencing events in 2011. It is a basic guide, but provides everything needed to make a start. Can be printed to A5 as a handy guidebook. Updated version 1, 2011.
AHF Longsword Workbook
This PDF document is a complete training system for longsword, with the source material coming from the longsword component from the 1570 edition of Meyer’s book, the Art of the Sword. The workbook includes all the basic information, techniques and mechanics required to study Meyer’s longsword. The file will be updated and expanded, to finally include notes and training assistance. Updated version 0.7, 29th Nov 2016.
AHF Sabre Workbook
This PDF combines all of the information shown in the Angelo posters into one useful document, including a lot of common questions and extra information. It forms the core framework for the AHF broadsword/sabre classes. Updated to version 4, 28th Nov 2016.
Imperial Roman Fencing
This research paper by Tim Jones investigates how gladiatorial combats were staged in the Roman arenas, with evidence taken from the depictions of gladiators on Gaulish samian. Tim is one of the AHF’s fencing instructors, with a background in historical swordsmanship, archaeology and Classics.
The Angelo Broadsword/Sabre Lesson Posters
These posters were published in 1799 and give a fantastic insight into military swordsmanship at the time, and are especially useful for those working from manuals such as Roworth’s. These posters were restored by AHF club instructor Nick Thomas.
Notice that despite using the terms ‘Highland Broadsword’ on these posters, the system is intended for all British soldiers using the sword on foot, and the ten divisions poster displays the ‘Dismounted troops of the London and Westminster Light Horse Volunteers. For more information on the type of swords that would expect to be used under this system, see the Workbook pdf.
Angelo was a highly respected swordsman whose family taught both civilian and military swordsmanship throughout the 18th and 19th century. Angelo was also master to the light horse unit mentioned above, the same unit that John Taylor (who introduced the ten lessons) taught previously, and the same one that Charles Roworth served in, who published ‘The Art of Defence on Foot, with Broadsword and Sabre’.