He who knows most, doubts most.  — Jerónimo de Carranza

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Masters of the Verdadera Destreza

Introduction | Jerónimo Sánchez de Carranza | Luis Pacheco de Narváez

Don Luis Pacheco de Narváez

Biographical Information

A few notes until more content is added:

  • Don Luis Pacheco de Narváez was Carranza's student and later published a multitude of works based on this school of fencing. Some of his works were compendiums of Carranza's work while others were less derivative.
  • It is notable that Pacheco rose to become Phillip IV's Master of Arms.
  • Pacheco denounced 4 of Francisco de Quevedo's books to the Inquisition, including "El Buscon" in which Quevedo pokes fun at the "verdadera destreza" and at Pacheco specifically.
  • According to Pablo Jauralde Pou's biography of Francisco de Quevedo, Pacheco died in 1640.
  • 2 short excerpts from a letter and a treatise by Pacheco de Narváez are available in the Theory and Practice section.

Translated excerpt from Bibliografía é Historia de la Esgrima Espanola {Bibliography and History of Spanish Fencing}, Chapter XIV - notes gathered by Don Enrique de Leguina, Barón de la Vega de Hoz (Madrid, 1904)

Translation by Mary Curtis (August 5, 2003)

In the beginning of the 17th century, Don Luis Pacheco de Narváez endeavored to eclipse the fame of Jerónimo de Carranza who stood out in the previous century, without competition. Converted into an opposer of his [Carranza's] system, after having contributed to propagating it, he wrote eleven fencing books, was Phillip IV's teacher and gave lessons to Suárez de Figueroa, Vélez de Guevara, Ruíz de Alarcón and the captain Blas de Rueda, counting no less notable adversaries, among them Don Luís Méndez de Carmona and the illustrious Don Francisco de Quevedo.

His fame reached England, and Ben Jonson said in one of his works [The New Inn]: <<Don Lewis, of Madrid, is the sole Master now, of the world.>>

There was a duel between Pacheco and Quevedo in 1608, in the President of Castile's house; an event that the very illustrious commander of the works of that famous poet, Don Aureliano Fernández Guerra, refers to in the following words: <<They argued because of the 100 conclusions of the true destreza that Don Luis had just published;Quevedo impugned them, the master defended them, reason was not enough, he resorted to test it, and in the first encounter Don Francisco hit Narváez and knocked the hat from his head. They were enemies all their lives. They say that Pacheco joined with Montalban and the father Niceno to write to the Tribunal of the just vengeance [Inquisition].>>