more flexible version of the military sabre and hits can be scored
by using edge 'cuts' or point thrusts.
scored on the opponent's body above the waist, arm and head count
scored by the fencer who hits the target area and has "right
History of the Sabre
mention of the sabre in print is in Marcelli's manual (1686).
Originally the heavy, curved, weapon with which the Household
Calvary is still equipped, it became known to western Europe during
the eighteenth century as a result of contact with the Hungarian
light horsemen (Hussars) who had themselves adopted the weapon
from the Turks, among whom the blade was considerably more curved,
forming, in fact, the weapon common to the eastern peoples which
among us is generally called the scimitar.
In the eighteenth
and early nineteenth centuries, the cavalry of all nations practised
sabre fencing and fighting.
In the eighteenth
century the small-sword was regarded as essentially the gentlemen's
weapon and from association with it, the foil enjoyed much the
same prestige; the sabre was considered to be a rather crude affair
for the military. The Napoleanic Wars aroused a passing enthusiasm
for edged weapons, but this quickly faded again. George Roland
poured scorn on the sabre and most traditionally minded foilists
affected to regard it with disdain. Only at the nineteenth century's
end did such great Italian Masters as Radaelli and Magrini confer
respectability on their chosen weapon, since when it has gained
steadily in popularity.
day weapon is extremely light and hits may be scored not only
with the fore-edge, but with the top third of the back edge and
the point as well. The contemporary blade is perfectly straight,
but within the writer's memory, many still possessed a vestigial
curve which, according to the rules, might not deviate more than
4 cm from the straight line. The curved, triangular guard, reminiscent
of the old basket-hilt, must now be absolutely smooth; formerly,
it was often perforated, grooved, patterned or embossed.
of the cut has traditionally been the subject of controversy and
has undergone sundry vicissitudes over the years. The military
men delivered the cut with a forearm slash from the elbow, or
even the shoulder. The great Keresztessy of Budapest, however,
preferred the use of the wrist. That was in the 1820s, but when
Barbasetti arrived from Italy at the century's end to take charge
of the Austrian Army, he insisted on a return to the forearm method,
a retrograde step, but consistent with the contemporary principles
of his own country. It was left to Santelli, another Italian expatriate,
to introduce in Hungary the classical wrist-finger technique regarded
as characteristic of that nation and now almost universally copied.
Modern sabre fencing has rules and conventions similar to those
of foil; they were framed in Paris in 1914 by a committee under
the chairmanship of Dr. Bela Nagy, president of the Hungarian
Fencing Federation, and since then have only been modified in