La Verdadera Destreza, the True Art
During the 1500s a new system of swordplay began to develop in Europe unlike any the world had ever seen. The Spanish created a new, universal method of fighting based on Reason and Mathematics that could be taught to any student. They called the system La Verdadera Destreza, the True Art.
The Destreza masters were educated men and their writing is filled with allusions to the writings of Euclid, Plato, Socrates and other classics of Western literature and philosophy. The founder of the system, Don Jerónimo Sánchez de Carranza, was a hero of Spain and known throughout Europe for his skill with a blade and his talent as a scholar. He was attached to the Royal Court and was mentioned by Miguel de Cervantes in “The Song of Calliope” in the Galatea:
"If you want to see in an equal balance
the blonde Phoebus and red Mars,
procure to look upon the great Carranza,
in whom the one and the other are not separate.
In him you will see, friends, plume and lance
with such discretion, skill and art,
that fencing, in divided parts,
he has reduced to science and art."
Carranza’s Philosophy of Arms is more than just a book on fencing, but is a continuing piece of the school of philosophy called ‘Applied Scholasticism’. His text was the beginning of a revolution in Spanish swordplay that lasted for almost two hundred and fifty years.
His most famous student, Don Luis Pacheco de Narváez, succeeded Carranza and was the fencing master to the King of Spain. Pacheco was responsible for authorizing other fencing masters in Spain and is perhaps the most prolific fencing author in history with several books and over 1400 pages of text on fencing to his credit.
Translations & Transcriptions
Visit this section for information about upcoming and currently available translations and transcriptions.
The purpose of the Destreza Translation and Research Project is to rediscover the Spanish art of swordplay and to share that information with the public.
We are in the process of building a Theory and Practice section that will assist fencers as they try to learn the Spanish system. These articles will attempt to guide a fencer as they learn the basics of movement and bladework. We are also continually adding to our bibliography, Destreza history, and literary allusions to Spanish fencing.
The founders of this site are currently working to prepare translations of several Destreza texts for publication. These texts include source texts, letters from notable figures, and other writing related to Destreza.
We welcome contributions to the site and any work submitted will have full credit given to the author. Contact the webmistress for details on using the Destreza Translation and Research Project to share your research with the world. Our collaborators and contributors.
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