* * * * * * * * * * * *

The Sign of the Sword

The figure below portrays the symbols of the four virtues necessary for fencing.
Two are technical virtues and two are moral:
The sense of measure and the choice of timing (Prudentia, represented by a lynx), Speed of action (Celeritas, represented by a tiger), Courage (Audatia, represented by a lion), Physical and psychological strength (Fortitudo, represented by an elephant).

The seven swords represent seven types of strikes:
two "fendenti", or strikes from the top, two "sottani", or strikes from bottom, two "mezzani", or strikes from the side and a thrust, with the corresponding seven basic guards to neutralize them.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

* * * * * * * * * * * *

We are six masters, different one from the other:
One does one way, the others another;
And each keeps his sword on guard:
And we'll show what they are about.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm well prepared for the throw,
And I'll make a good deal from a great pass.
Against a throw I hide my hand
With this guard I'm well defended.

To push farther and stronger
This position I want against a man in arms.
Against dagger and sword armed and unarmed,
I want to be found like this.

This grip is the guard of the proud woman:
It protects against any strikes and thrusts.
This sword I use for a sword and an axe:
With harness and without who can take me, go ahead.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Twelve crowned masters
We are called post and guards by name
And we are one contrary to the other;
And depending on how we stand or are positioned
We'll show how one stands against the other.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

I'm the WHOLE IRON DOOR at ground level
And always stop cuts and thrusts.
I'm the GUARD OF THE WOMAN high and proud
For all manner of defense And he who wants to counter me
Should find a longer sword than mine.

And I'm the quickest of the whole art.
I'm the strong HALF IRON DOOR And I kill with strikes and thrusts And for the length of the sword which I feel I always defend myself in close fight.

I am the LONG GUARD with my short sword
And with my talent I often cut a throat.
I'm the frontal guard and I'm called CROWN
And don't forgive anybody a thrust or a cut.

against the boar's tooth With my malice
and cunning I will fight you.
I am the strong GUARD OF THE BOAR'S TOOTH:
And I can measure myself against all other guards.

I am the SHORT GUARD and am as long as
the sword; I often thrust and quickly return to it.
And I'm quick with the right and the left.

extended to the ground, I can offend forwards
and backwards And if I step forward with a thrust
Without failing I enter into close combat.
I am called the GUARD OF THE UNICORN,
And don't ask me how cunning and false I am.

To cross with you the tip of the sword,
On the other side I stopped the tip in the chest.
To the wounding the way the previous master says,
I quickly thrust the tip of the sword in your throat.

Let's cross the middle sword and I'll wound your left arm
And I'll do it quickly because time is short.
For the master who crosses the middle sword,
Of what he said, I'll do to you in abundance.

After this crossing I want to grab your sword this way:
And before yours sword gets off my hand I'll hit you like a weak villain.
There is no question about what the master said before, And the technique he explained, I'll do with reason.

By dodging I have well opened you
And for sure I'll hit your arms by turning.
I do a combat to hit your arms
And from close combat I'll hit you more.

When one wants to hit your leg with the sword, Strike his head or his throat; Or hit the arms rather the head, Because the distance is shorter.
When I cross the swords and come to close distance. I'll hit his groins with my right foot.

This is a cruel exchange of the tip: In this art you can't have a more cunning tip. You traded tips and this I gave you, And I can make it safer by dodging
Thanks to my grip on your hand,
With the tip I make a mark on your face.

I quickly kick your tip to the ground
And this way I'll hit you without any doubt.
And here we stay crossing on the ground,
Ready to learn more techniques.

For the crossing on the ground made by the scholar,
For my swiftness I come to cut your face, And your sword
will be bent or broken And you won't use it for anything.
From last technique I enter into this one:
And it will take me nothing to cut your face.

By pinching your elbow I'll make you turn
And in that I'll wound you without delay.
By turning you with the elbow
I right away hit your head from behind.

I pretended to attack from the right, I came from the left
To give you pain and trouble with this tip;
False tip I make myself called, I'm so cruel
And I change the tip of the sword.
For the false tip with which you wanted to hit me,
I turn around and with my sword I hit you,
And I put the tip on your face
And I took away from you all your advantage.

For the way we are here crossing our swords,
Following are techniques with more knowledge and speed;
And since many techniques start from this crossing,
We are going to do the strongest contraries.
Because I grabbed your sword with my hand
I'll hit you and your sword will be mine.

Because my sword has received a hit and because of
my grab, I'll hit your face with my pommel.
And this is another hit with my pommel,
According to the art and the speed of the masters.

I'll throw you to the ground this way:
I did not miss putting my sword to your neck.
In my hand I have the grip with which
I'll floor you with your sword.

After a right parry I grabbed you in such a way
That I'll floor you long and straight.
I entangled your sword with my arm,
And I stuck the tip of my sword into our face,
And this is the contrary to disarming me
And other close range combats too.

I grabbed your arms with my left arm
And my technique is good armed and unarmed;
And I can also steal away your sword,
According to where master Fiore puts me.
I have blocked the hilt of your sword in such a way,
That I can hit you with hits and thrusts;
I can also grab your sword away:
I can hit you, but you can't touch me.

I have tied you so well in this way,
That you would be blocked armed or unarmed
And your sword would do nothing against me,
But I can for sure take your sword away.
I have locked your hand with my sword
And I'll hit your head with many hits,
And I'll grab your sword from the middle,
This tie I made, which is great.

This is the left guard, For very cunning techniques.
From the left guard I have blocked your hand, And
from close range you won't be protected from my hits.

This is a strong grab with the left hand,
You will be hit and your sword lost.
You wanted to block my sword under your arm
But my contrary will make you have a bad ending.

From the right guard I've grabbed you in such a way,
That my sword will be in your face and you on the floor.
This grabbing of the sword is called the upper grab
And was done a thousand time by Fiore from Friuli.

Here I show the middle grab of the sword,
And I'll cause trouble with your sword or mine.
This is the low grab of the sword:
Who is master of this art, will do it well.

This sword I'll keep as mine, And with
turning and grabbing I'll cause you villainy.

Literal Translation of Fiore de Liberi's printed words by Hermes Michelini, 2001. Pictures grabbed from original 'Flos Duellatorum' sketches and formatted for this web site by Mich Shire. We are happy to present these pages as another study guide for students of the Western Martial Arts community at large. Enjoy.

Hosted by:

4120, 8 Street SE. Calgary, AB, Canada T2G 3A7
Mich Shire 403-202-1922 Rob Valentine 403-243-8662

This page and all photos are copyrighted by Shiretech Web Design.
Last modified December, 2002.
Please ask us for permission to use these photos.