History of fencing part two
A singular fact concerning the growth in popularity of fencing is that it gained its greatest momentum after gunpowder had ended the bow and arrow as major weapons in warfare. The aristocracy of Europe clambered out of its suits of armor as soon as bullets started to pierce the metal that had once protected them. These men earlier had called on the sword only to attack. Not needing protection, they had not learned defensive tactics and so had to appeal to the commoners to teach them the strategy of defense with the sword.
Schools for teaching fencing sprang up all over Europe, with the upper classes in the roll of students. Many of the teachers previously had earned a livelihood by putting on sword exhibitions with carnivals that toured the countryside. There was, for a time, opposition to fencing schools and it is noted that around the 15th Century in England, one Roger, who described himself as a "master," was indicted on the charge of "keeping a fencing school for divers men, and enticing sons of respectable persons to waste time and spend the property of their parents in bad practices."
Achille Marozzo of Italy perhaps was the first to write a booklet on fencing (1536), and what probably was the first treatise of its kind in English is Silver's "Brief Introductions on My Paradoxes of Defense" (1599). Roy S. Tinney, an American who began fencing in 1898 and devoted many years to teaching the sport as a hobby, declared:
"The use of the sword for defense as well as offense was first evolved and presented to the world by Camillo Agrippa of Milan, living in Rome. He was not a fencing master. He was a gentleman and engineer and a great mathematician. He worked in collaboration with Michael Angelo, who drew the illustrations for Agrippa's book 'A Treatise on the Science of Arms,' published in Rome in 1553.
"Fencing is an art and an education, a sport with a lure peculiarly its own. Backed by centuries of tradition, idealized in prose and poetry, skill in swordsmanship is universally admired. Fencers exemplify a quality so few possess-poise.
"Fencing has been and always will be enjoyed by a highly intelligent minority; those possessing the moral courage, the self-discipline, the quiet determination required to become proficient in a sport that calls for the highly perfected technique of the golfer, the explosive energy of the sprinter and the split-second decisions demanded of the boxer and the tennis player.
"It demands greater powers of analysis than any other sport."