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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, but 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!



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Convenient Location

Tuesday and Friday evenings 430-600pm 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.  Update: Due to Covid-19 please contact for further details before coming to a class.



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.


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.


The instructor, Patrick Bratton, is an Instructor of Arms in classical Italian fencing from the Sonoma State University Fencing Masters Program, and Istruttore d'Arme I iv, from the Associazione Italiana Maestri d'Arme (Italy).  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, Jacopo Penso, and Maitre Pinel de la Taule --  and American instructors like Colin Chock, Maestro John Sullins, Maestro Frank Lurz, Professor Mark Donnelly, and Provost William Byrne.  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.


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.


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

Tony Alvarez:  http://www.harrisburgusfa.org/p/carlisle-fencing-club.html

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/

Mid-Atlantic Society of Historical Swordsmanship (MASHS): dynamic group of fencers and scholars in Annapolis 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/






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