SALA DELLA SPADA
Sala Della Spada (the school of the sword) is a historical fencing school in Carlisle, PA. We focus on Italian military sabre, rapier and dagger, and dueling/smallsword. We also do work with the great sword (spadone/montante), sword and buckler, and other historical Italian weapons of the Renaissance to early modern period (1500-1900). If you are interested in historical fencing -- sometimes also referred to as Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), or Western Martial Arts (WMA) -- and are in Central Pennsylvania (Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, Carlisle, York, etc. ) come by and try it out!
CLASSES AND COURSES
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DOWNTOWN CARLISLE CLASS
Tuesday 745-915pm, and Friday 530-700pm at 40 N. Hanover St, Carlisle (at the Carlisle Kung Fu Center). For 2021 we are doing spada (rapier and dueling sword) on Tuesdays, and sabre on Fridays. Free street parking after 5pm. $45/month for once a week, $65/month for twice a week. We do twice monthly montante/great sword classes on the weekends. Update: Due to Covid-19 please contact for further details before coming to a class.
VIRTUAL LECTURE SERIES ON HISTORY AND THEORY OF ITALIAN FENCING
Email for details
DR. STEVEN HUGHES ON THE HISTORY OF DUELING IN ITALY
January 26 2021
MORE ABOUT OUR SCHOOL
See below for more information on the weapons/styles we practice, recommended equipment, and more.
One of our primary weapons is the 19th century Italian sabre. This was a curved weapon for both cut and thrust. It was both a military weapon used by the cavalry, and a civilian weapon used in dueling all the way to the 1920s. Our style is based upon the system of Settimo del Frate and Giuseppe Radaelli as passed down by Italo and Giorgio Santelli and their students. The blade averaged about 32-34" inches in length, and weighed about 1.65bs.
THE SWORD (SPADA)
Our other primary weapon, the spada (Italian for sword) takes two forms. The first is the later dueling sword of the 18th-19th centuries. This was a lighter weapon that mostly thrust oriented, with a blade of 32-37" long. Primary texts include both Roman-Neapolitan works like Rosaroll Scorza and Pietro Grisetti, and Masaniello Parise, and Northern works like Luigi Barbasetti. The second form, is the rapier of the late 17th century. This was a larger, cup hilt rapier with a 38-42" blade, that while a thrusting oriented weapon, retained some cutting ability. For rapier our focus is on the Roman-Neapolitan school of Francesco Marcelli.
PATRICK BRATTON, INSTRUCTOR
The instructor, Patrick Bratton, is an Instructor of Arms in classical Italian fencing from the Sonoma State University Fencing Masters Program, an Istruttore d'Arme I iv, from the Associazione Italiana Maestri d'Arme (Italy), and a Moniteur d'Épée from the United States Fencing Coaches Association. He is a student of Chris Holzman and Andrew Bullock, both from the Santelli lineage of fencing. He has also trained with leading European instructors and competitors -- Maestro Francesco Loda, Maestro Ton Puey, Maestro Jacopo Penso, and Maitre Pinel de la Taule -- and American instructors like Colin Chock, Maestro John Sullins, Maestro Frank Lurz, Professor Mark Donnelly, Provost William Byrne, and Prevot de Sabre Tony Alvarez. Patrick specializes in Northern Italian military sabre, and Southern/Neapolitan rapier and dueling sword, but has an interest all the Renaissance and early modern Italian weapons. He is an active visiting instructor and competitor at various Historical Fencing and HEMA events. In 2018 he was first place in both sabre and smallsword tournaments at Brassfrog, and 1st place in the tournament at the American Smallsword Symposium. In 2019 he won the technical award in the Second Indes Sabre Invitational, and a technical award for smallsword at Brassfrog. He is one of the organizers and instructors at the annual American Smallsword Symposium.
Minimum equipment requirements: fencing mask, lightweight fencing jacket, glove, and protective cup and/or chest protector. For sabre and rapier a rigid forearm and elbow protector, gorget, and a mask overlay are recommended. We have limited club gear for beginning students. After 1 month you should get a starter kit from Absolute Fencing/Force (AF), Blue Gauntlet, Zen Warrior, Leon Paul, etc. Ordering through the school can get you a discount on AF gear. We can give you advice on getting training weapons.
AMERICAN SMALLSWORD SYMPOSIUM
Annually we work with other great instructors and fencers to organize and teach at the American Smallsword Symposium. This event draws together national and international instructors and students of small and dueling sword for a weekend event. Founded by the late Victor Markland and modeled after the Smallsword Symposium that takes place annually in Scotland. Since 2021 we have been holding this at Carlyle House an 18th century mansion in historic Old Town Alexandria. This is a wonderful event that should not be missed!
ASSOCIATED CLUBS AND FRIENDS
There is great community of fencing in our region, across the country, and internationally. Here is a list of clubs, schools and other organizations that we have connections with and recommend:
Carlisle Fencing Club: our dynamic local Olympic fencing club run by
Keystone Academy of Dueling and Swordsmanship: the school of the renowned Professor Mark Donnelly covers a wide variety of historical weapons https://kadswords.com/
State College Association of Rapier Scholars (SCARS): great group of people working both Spanish and Italian rapier https://www.facebook.com/RapierScholars/
The American Smallsword Symposium: Annual event founded by the late Victor Markland, we participate annually in his wondeful event: https://smallsword4us.weebly.com/
Mid-Atlantic Society of Historical Swordsmanship (MASHS): dynamic group of fencers and scholars in Annapolis. MD https://www.mashs.net/
Sword School Wichita: the Kansas based school of Chris Holzman who is the teacher of our instructor http://swordschoolwichita.com/about/
SSU Fencing Master's Certificate Program: Classical Italian fencing pedagogy program. http://web.sonoma.edu/users/s/sullinsj/
Salle Honolulu: run by Colin Chock who got Patrick back into fencing https://sallehonolulu.com/
Academia Romana d'Armi: The school of top international competitor Maestro Francesco Loda whose style of Roman-Neapolitan rapier we study
Academie da Espada: The School of Maestro Ton Puey whose intepretation of the montante/spadone we follow.
La Sala dell Armie: the hard training Marozzo school of Jacopo Penso http://lasaladellearmi.it/?fbclid=IwAR1zJoerZvz19yC8gvi2qKHlD-5OP4_zh8m2E1osNuA3yRKksVmeCuPknFg
Salle Coudurier, oldest fencing school in Paris, our instructor has fond memories of lessons with Maitre Pinel de la Taule, https://www.sallecoudurier.org/
CODE OF CONDUCT
Fencing Safely and with Respect
Conduct and Positive Environment
Address your training partners and coaches in a respectful way.
Respect Carlisle Kung Fu Centre’s space, staff and students by staying off their equipment and out of restricted areas.
Show respect and kindness to everyone in the building. Avoid swearing or foul language. We are here to train and fence and not argue about maters not related to fencing.
Listen to and respect your instructors. Avoid crosstalk when they are speaking.
Examples of behavior that are not respectful: interrupting or talking over instructors, interrupting or over-explaining during drills with training partners, using club gear inappropriately, borrowing gear without permission. All forms of harassment, discrimination, and bullying are unacceptable at Sala della Spada.