Academia della Spada, Seattle WA

From WMAwiki
Jump to: navigation, search
Contact Information
Phone (206)849-9414
Address 1020 NE 112th Street Seattle, WA 98125

About the Academy

Academiadellaspada logo.gif
Academia della Spada is a school of classical and historical fencing. Opening its doors in 1998, the academy offered instruction to those interested in exploring 16th Century historical Italian systems of sword play, which at the time was an area of study barely touched upon by most in the fencing community. Today, the academy has greatly expanded its curriculum and focus under the direction of its two primary instructors Cecil Longino and Nathan Barnett.

Historical fencing, typically considered fencing arts that predate the 19th Century, has grown considerably in popularity and interest over the past ten years both in the United States and abroad. Classical fencing or what is considered fencing’s “golden age” existed during the 19th Century when these arts were highly systematized, codified, and thoroughly documented. While practicing historical fencing requires a great amount of research and some amount of speculation to reconstruct accurately, there are still a small number of fencing Masters who come from living lineages dating back to the classical period and who still teach these traditional systems of fence.

The academy is dedicated to reviving and maintaining the historical and classical martial traditions of Western Europe. We do this through dedicated research, practice, and proper application of both historical theory and technique. The historical fencing classes taught at the academy are Medieval sword and buckler, Italian longsword, English backsword, Italian rapier, and French small sword. While we strive to faithfully reconstruct these fencing systems from their original treatises, we are equally influenced by the living wisdom of today’s classically trained fencing Masters. Aside from the historical weapons, the academy also offers classes in traditional French foil, an academic, graceful and vigorous form of fencing which is considered to be the training tool for the small sword originally and later the dueling sword.


Academia della Spada is located in Seattle, WA.


Academia della Spada maintains three colleges of fence and two study groups:

Colleges of Fence

Study Groups

Directors & instructors

Cecil Longino, Head Instructor

Cecil's formal martial arts training began with his study of Tae Kwon Do from Grand Master Kyu Il Cho in 1983. It was this strict training and formal environment that would inform his judgment to seek out quality instruction in all his future endeavors. In subsequent years, Cecil continued his exploration of Eastern martial arts; however, while living in Germany, he became captivated with the notion of European historical fencing. In 1994, from the University of North Florida, he received his Bachelor of Arts in Drama with a focus on Elizabethan stagecraft. Founder of the Elizabethan reenactment troupe, Blood, Love & Rhetoric, Cecil has spent many years examining various aspects of Elizabethan society and culture: literature, philosophy, dance and fence. He founded the Academia della Spada in 1998 to focus on reconstructing the rapier play of Vincentio Saviolo, a well known Italian fencing master teaching in London at the end of the 16th Century. In 2003 Cecil felt compelled to seriously pursue formal training under Maestro Ramon Martinez and Maestro Jeannette Acosta-Martinez. He is currently a Certified Instructor in French foil and French smallsword with the Martinez Academy of Arms in New York and is also an active board member of the Association for Historical Fencing, an organization dedicated to preserving the arts of classical and historical fencing.

In his teaching he strives to connect the art of fencing back to the greater historical mindset from which it was developed, because it is crucial to keep in mind that every martial art is a child of the specific culture that gave it birth, and therefore should adhere to a particular ideal esthetic in its form, movement, and manner inherited from its parent culture.

Nathan Barnett, Instructor

Nathan Barnett's passion for historical fencing springs from a more general love of history and the arts. His study of English focused on Renaissance and Medieval literature. After taking a Masters degree from Kent State University in 1995 he began traveling, spreading the next 3 years around Greece, Japan, a fair number of the 50 states and a good 6 months at sea. Settling in the Seattle area in 1998, he rediscovered his interest in the English Renaissance.

Nathan's interest in martial arts began in 1982 with the study a number of Asian styles. Despite intensive study, none of them struck a warm spot in his heart until in 1999 he began to study European swordplay. In 2000, still frightfully green in sword but with a wealth of training and instructional skill from other styles, he joined Cecil Longino at Academia della Spada. In 2001 he devoted himself to the cut-and-thrust sword, eventually settling upon the treatises of George Silver. Since then he has worked to develop a practical interpretation true to Silver's text which can be pursued by serious scholars of fencing. In 2004 The Academy began a curriculum devoted to Silver's backsword with classes taught 3 days per week in the Seattle area.

Notable Events

Western Washington WMA Workshop

Every two years, Academia della Spada hosts its Western Washington WMA Workshop, or 4W, which brings A-list instructors from around the country to Seattle for three days of intensive instruction, networking, and general debauchery.

In the News

USA Today published an article in March of 2008 about the emerging WMA community, in which Academia della Spada and 4W featured prominently.

External links

  • [1] Academia della Spada website
  • [2] USA Today Article from 4W 2008