Crawley’s Five A’s of French Fencing

Phil Crawley, Provost with the Black Boar Swordsmanship School and administrator with the Smallsword Symposium, has gleaned these 5 themes of French fencing from a number of 18th and 19th Century texts.  They are presented here with his permission, and with our thanks.

Aplomb: grounding and thus balance; not only physical balance but also symmetry of posture leading to adroit.

Adresse: skill; ability to do the basics and combine them into sophisticated actions

Apropros: wherewithal; knowing when and where to apply addresse to maximum effect at an innate level.

Adroit: dexterity; being aesthetically pleasing by doing nothing (aplomb) and being graceful when doing something (adresse), as dictated by apropos.

Avoir Main: fencing only with the sensitivity and actions of the hand to determine the intent of one’s adversary and to define one’s own actions.

fleur de lis

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