Fabris rapier and dagger progression

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The rapier and dagger progression of Fabris is a sequence of guards and motions that take a fencer through the postures described in plates 49 through 70 of the treatise, Scienza d'Arme by Salvatore Fabris. It involves a variety of guards and lunges for the four guards with rapier and dagger.

Sequence for one fencer

The progression for one fencer involves the practitioner moving from each guard to the next in ways that are reasonable in combat (e.g. lunging forward and recovering in reverse).

Begin standing upright with the sword in its scabbard and the right foot slightly in advance of the left. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-0.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-0.jpg

First guards

(Fabris plate 49) Draw the sword from its scabbard into a high first with a withdrawing of the right hip (leaving the feet fixed). The right hand should be above and behind the head, and the dagger should be extended, its tip near the tip of the sword. The body should be well-profiled with the left side facing forward.

Notes: Keep your step small and weapons joined. Recover to the same position after attacks, keeping the dagger extended. Your legs cannot be struck.

FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-1-1.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-1-1.jpg
(Fabris plate 50) Pass the left foot forward of the right, ending in a refused first.

Notes: not as good as the previous first guard, because the left leg is exposed. Best to perform attacks in contratempo. Keep the weight on the back leg when giving up a tempo, so that you can retreat.

FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-1-2.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-1-2.jpg
(Fabris plate 51) Pass the right foot forward of the left with an extension of the sword, and lunge in first.

Notes: Aim above the opponent's weapons in this lunge, since your opponent could easily beat your sword to the ground.

FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-1-3.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-1-3.jpg

Second guards

(Fabris plate 52) Withdraw the right foot (without passing back) and right hip. Withdraw the sword back into a high second , uniting the tips of sword and dagger. The body should be well-profiled with the left side facing forward. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-2-1.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-2-1.jpg
(Fabris plate 53) Make a small step back with the left foot, withdrawing the left side of the body and keeping the right side forward. Unite the sword and dagger hands together in front of the body. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-2-2.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-2-2.jpg
(Fabris plate 54) Withdraw the sword, level with the face or shoulders, in second. The body should be well-profiled. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-2-3.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-2-3.jpg
(Fabris plate 55) Pass the left foot behind the right. Both feet are now pointing inside. The weight is carried over the right leg. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-2-4.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-2-4.jpg
(Fabris plate 56) Rotating on the balls of the feet, square the shoulders and bring the sword to cross in front of the body at eye level. The dagger should be near the debole, and the body should lean far forward. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-2-5.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-2-5.jpg
(Fabris plate 57) Pass the left foot out to the left so that the feet are shoulder-width apart. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-2-6.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-2-6.jpg
(Fabris plate 58) Pass the right foot in front and to the inside of the left, extending the sword and lunging in second. The dagger should be extended low, covering the outside line. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-2-7.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-2-7.jpg

Third guards

(Fabris plate 59) Withdraw the right foot in front of the left and angle the body farther forward. Withdraw the sword low (below the knee) and to the outside, angled up and inward in third . Extend the dagger so that its pommel touches the sword, and point it upward. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-3-1.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-3-1.jpg
(Fabris plate 60) Bring the sword forward of the right leg and place it on the center line. Point the dagger forward so that the tips of the blades unite. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-3-2.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-3-2.jpg
(Fabris plate 61) Angle the body up and back and withdraw the dagger to the inside of the right arm. The body should be well-profiled with the right-side facing forward. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-3-3.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-3-3.jpg
(Fabris plate 62) Withdraw the low and to the outside as far as it will go, withdrawing the right hip as well. The point should be near the dagger's crossbar. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-3-4.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-3-4.jpg
(Fabris plate 63) Pass the left foot forward of the right and bring the sword forward of the left hip. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-3-5.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-3-5.jpg
(Fabris plate 64) Pass the right foot to the right of the left foot, shoulder-width apart. Carry the weight over the right foot and angle the body to the right. Extend the dagger up and forward, align the sword with the forearm, and unite the sword and dagger points. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-3-6.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-3-6.jpg
(Fabris plate 65) Withdraw the left foot near to and even with the right, squaring the shoulders and angling the body forward. Raise and extend the sword at an oblique angle and unite the dagger with the forte. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-3-7.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-3-7.jpg
(Fabris plate 66) Extend the sword on the straight line and pass the right foot forward to lunge. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-3-8.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-3-8.jpg

Fourth guards

(Fabris plate 67) Withdraw the right foot and right hip. Withdraw the sword, with dagger at the forte, to fourth with both weapons covering the inside line. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-4-1.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-4-1.jpg
(Fabris plate 68) Extend the sword low, keeping the dagger united with the sword hand. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-4-2.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-4-2.jpg
(Fabris plate 69) Pass the left foot forward of the right, lift the sword point and extend the dagger to unite it with the sword point. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-4-3.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-4-3.jpg
(Fabris plate 70) Pass forward with the right foot and lunge in fourth, covering the high inside line with the dagger. FRDP-Adam-nov13 L-4-4.jpg FRDP-Adam-nov13 R-4-4.jpg


Adam Lein of Academie Duello performing the solo progression.

Sequence for two fencers

The sequence for two fencers is designed so that the distance between the fencers remains relatively constant. Observing the progression the side, it should appear identical to the plates themselves (which all depict two fencers facing one another).

First guards

Second guards

Third guards

Fourth guards