Jean de Brye's The Art of Fencing (1721) is a manual for fencing instructors and coaches showing how to break down the discipline into four broad developmental stages. He begins with the basics of posture, balance, guard positions and simple actions before progressing to chaining together these actions to make complex attack phrases and later moving on to sparring with another opponent. It is not a book which teaches early French smallsword techniques but it describes a small collection of techniques for illustrative purposes. Historical European Martial Arts instructors and historians will find The Art of Fencing useful in understanding Enlightenment period fencing pedagogy as well as proving a useful framework for teaching period swordsmanship in the modern day. There are a great many practical examples of how de Brye's teaching framework was and can be put into action in the training hall. This is a book which deserves to be found on every fencing instructor's bookshelf.
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