Thursday, August 22, 2013

Book Review: Cold Steel-The Art of Fencing with Sabre

Cold Steel the Art of Fencing with Sabre is an interesting book that covers many of the concepts of fencing from the perspective 1889. At the time of purchases I thought it was an instruction manual for the modern fencing sport but upon receipt it became obvious that I bought a piece of history. During the Victorian England Era the career military officer Captain Alfred Hutton wrote the book as a method of updating Sabre techniques in the British military. 

Hutton felt that sword play in England was falling behind its European counterparts. In an effort to update the skill set he combined some of the Italian styles and French styles with English styles. This is what makes the book interesting. Since saber is a quick paced sport where all of the body is target learning a few of the moves unknown to modern fencers may go over well in competition. The unique is sometimes the best advantage. 

To him Fencing was an ideal sport to train soldiers. He believed that it afforded physical conditioning, instant decision-making, strategic thinking and tactical considerations. Originally thinking the book was a general Saber book it was surprising to see sections on Sabre against Bayonet, Sabre against the French Sword, The Great Stick, and Dagger.  It appears to be more of a training manual than a sport book. 

The book also has pictures so someone can envision the movements that lead to striking your opponent. It would not be wise to purchase this book until you have mastered all of the fundamental moves and are seeking some unique ones your opponents are not likely to know. However, as a piece of history it may be something you would like to read and ponder. 

Hutton, A. (2006). Cold Steel-The Art of Fencing with Sabre. NY: Dover Publications. ISBN: 0-486-44931-9

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