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T O P I C R E V I E W
Posted - 09 Dec 2003 : 16:42:20
Institute of Research and Studies of the Traditional Fencing Academy SCRIMA Torino THE ITALIAN ART OF FIGHTING
SCRIMA Torino is an Academy of Ancient Fighting that study the ancient techniques of western combat through the centuries. All the studies an practise are based on techniques since medieval times to the modern age of the Italian country.
The very important different on the approach between oriental martial arts and occidental ones is about the traditions and the teaching of the techniques. In oriental martial arts we have a continuity during the ages, with masters that bring to the new generation their knowledge and practise. In western martial arts, instead, this process is broken and there isn’t a practical tradition bring by masters. Our contest is the study and the reconstruction of ancient techniques lost in the fog of the centuries. Our traditions are only write tradition and not empirical tradition teach by masters to their disciples (or better: all these processes was in the past, but now are irremediably lost).
We don’t define ourselves as “real martialist”, but we prefer to be recognised as a sort of “historical researchers”. In any way, there are some interesting points of meeting between our work and the work of oriental martial arts world. One of this point can be the confrontation of different cultures and their different (or similar) approaches to the way of fighting.
A very different distinction had to be made: for an historical and for a scientific study of the fighting techniques had to be remembered that exist some important difference between duel-fighting and war-fighting. The most of our studies are about the duel fighting techniques, that are the most exposed in the ancient manuscript. (About war techniques we would had to made an other exposition).
First of all we study the theory and then we try to transform it in practice. Then, around the studies on the fighting had to be also the study of the instruments (weapons, armours…) and the historical contest of the different techniques. We use reproduction of weapons, armours and clothes based on the historical fonts. All the weapons are as similar to the original as can be: they are made in iron, but for our safe they aren’t sharpened. This philological approach is also one of our limit: we can’t really hit our opponent (because we don’t want really kill him!). So, in the training, control have a very important aspect. But in any cases we think that this is one of the best way to study the ancient fighting.
Some Academies in the world think that the best way to study ancient combat is made full-contact fighting with “faked instruments”: in plastic or other modern material. We think this approach don’t put the modern fighter in the real condition of the ancient fighter. The modern fighter in this case will had to work for example with a sword or an armour to much light and not heavier like the real ones: and then his way of fighting will be influenced and change. In other hand the modern fighter always approach the combat with a wrong mentality: the technique is thrown away and the only important think became only to hit the opponent without have care to not expose dangerous (or better mortal) targets of his body. Surely it is very important to hit the enemy but is also very important (and maybe more) don’t be hit by him. We had to remember that originally, the word “skirmish” (meaning “fecing”, more similar to the Italian word “scherma”) meaning made a defence. Skirmish is an art and not a rage sequence of attack out of control.
Other Schools think that is possible utilize the ancient techniques for a modern self-defence: in some case the techniques can be utilized but in other they are created with on other way of think and in an other period of time (influenced also by different instrument: make a defence against a dagger is different to make a defence against a modern knife!).
We are not completely in opposition with these approach about ancient combat, when the work is made with intelligence and wisdom. But in many cases this not happened and then we consider our methodology the best way to made a serious and scientific work. In the reconstruction one important thing is teaching to the scholars how really was made a thing and then teach how we had to made reconstruction during the free-fighting (changing the application of a technique when it can be too dangerous for the opponent).
Our study and work is finalized to put the modern fighter in condition to make a free-combat: a fighting in which the hit are not previously decided, and in which both the opponents try to enter in their defences and defeat their adversary (but naturally NOT to kill him!).
--- Il Principe "Ehi tu, villico, leccami lo stivale!"