Medieval Wrestling: the Abrazare of Fiore dei Liberi

Medieval Wrestling: the Abrazare of Fiore dei Liberi

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The great medieval martial arts master Fiore dei Liberi bases his entire system of knightly combat, Armizare (the Art of Arms) on wrestling. His treatise Il Fior di Battaglia begins with four guards, and twenty plays of Abrazare, wrestling.

Join Guy Windsor and Jessica Finley (author of the book Medieval Wrestling) to learn these critically important techniques, as well as how to warm up, the mechanics and footwork, how to train, and how to fall.

We also include extensive safety advice, additional wrestling material drawn from Fiore's dagger and longsword plays, and material drawn from medieval German sources. This comprehensive course will give you the solid foundation that Fiore intended, with a thorough academic and practical examination of the material. Every play includes a transcription and translation of Fiore's words, so you can see exactly where the technical instruction is coming from.

We have included everything you need (other than a partner and a place to practice) to learn Fiore’s Abrazare plays, and to develop some wrestling skill. Every student comes to the course with different goals, skills, and limitations, so we have organised the course such that you can create the class you need right now from the materials on offer.

Welcome to the Art of Arms!


When does the course start and finish?

The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.

How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.

What if I am unhappy with the course?

We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Difficulty Level

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Which Weapon?

  • General HMA

How to study

Someone with a purely academic interest could simply watch all of the technical videos in sections 2-7 without practising at all, but we have assumed that you want the course to guide you in developing the ability to apply the techniques.

You certainly can just work through all the videos in order, but that will only be optimal for a limited subset of the students enrolled. So here is what you should do.

Start with the Introduction section. That is not optional, because it contains the safety briefing, and instruction on how to fall.

Work through Section 2: plays 1-6. This will give you a basic grounding in the basic choreography of these fundamental plays from Fiore’s system.

Then decide whether you want to add more breadth, or more depth. Breadth is learning new techniques; depth is developing skill in techniques you already know.

For depth, study Section 8: How to Train.

For breadth, keep working through the course as written (so, Section 3: plays 7-16; Section 4: the Bastoncello, etc.).

Then build each training session according to this pattern:

Warm up. Be mindful of any limitations, and go gently.
Play a little, such as with the Standing Step Drill (08.01) or the Unarmed Flowdrill (01.08), or any of the games from Section 8.06
Add any breadth you want (such as going to the next technical video)
Play a little more, with games from Section 8.
Repeat steps 3-4 until you run out of time
Add conditioning training at the end if you need to get fitter faster (strength, stamina, etc.), using the Solo Training content in section 09.03.
When you’ve completed the whole course, the work really starts. Pay special attention to the video on the Optimal Rate of Failure (08.02) and apply that mode of practice to the plays and techniques you have learned. Gradually incorporate more intense play.

Above all, always:


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How to access your course

When you buy the course, you will receive a PDF by email which contains a link to access the course on the SwordPeople platform. If you can’t find the email, please check your spam folder, and if it isn’t there, let us know at help@swordschool.com

Then just click the link in the PDF (or paste it into a browser), create a free account at SwordPeople (if you haven't already), and enjoy the course!

You will also get access our the community of like-minded sword people, so you can chat with others, ask questions, and talk about lovely swords.

"Learning swordsmanship under the guidance of Guy Windsor is an extraordinary privilege. His holistic approach to the art of combat is a result of lifelong research into historical arms and sources, combined with a profound understanding of the human body, and skills gained in decades of martial arts practice. The human being is at the heart of his teachings, and the sword is his chosen path to bring out the best in his students. When training with Guy, expect no less than improving your inner self and your health while gaining proficiency at arms."

Roland Warzecha, Dimicator.com

When I had the chance to be one of the first to participate in Guy Windsors on-line course on how to recreate historical swordsmanship from historical sources I jumped right in. I had studied with Guy and already knew he had done a great job over two decades in researching original sources on historical swordsmanship and fighting and used his research to reconstruct systems of fighting with different weapons, so I trusted that he knew what he was talking about here. I was interested in sword and buckler fighting and wanted to dig deeper into all the different sources and styles of fighting with sword and buckler. The on-line course met and exceeded my expectations. In addition to learning how to approach and interpret the sources in meaningful manner it also taught me how to actually put together a whole system based on a source and, even more important, how to design drills and a syllabus to teach the system to others.

So far I have used the lessons learned from this course to build a core curriculum for an introduction to sword and buckler fighting and have taught this curriculum to at least five other people. In addition to this the course helped me to approach the sources in systematic and logical manner so my knowledge of the context in which the sources were written and the culture for which they were written has increased dramatically. Whether you are planning to reconstruct a whole system of fighting from sources, building a curriculum and drills to teach an existing system or just want to learn more about how to interpret historical sources and use them to build drills I can recommend the course to you!

Mikko, Suomen Historiallisen Miekkailun Seura Ry

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