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Classical Academy of Arms

A Society for Classical Fencing Instructor Training and Credentialling

Classical Fencing Glossary

The Classical Academy of Arms Glossary of Classical Fencing Terms is published quarterly in a revised and updated edition.  It is available on request to members of the Academy and to students in our professional courses, and on a subscription basis to all others.  The subscription price is $20 per year.  The current edition of the glossary extends to more than 60 pages.

This glossary of fencing terms is grounded in terminology used by a wide variety of sources to describe fencing in the Classical Period.  Each term is dated, defined, and attributed to the source or sources from which it was drawn.  The Glossary is a living document, updated regularly with new terms or with added meanings for existing listings.  Inclusion of a term does not constitute an opinion on the correctness of the author's definition or the viability of the described action, position, or technique in fencing.

Definitions are not exact quotes of the various authors' text.  In some cases the term is mentioned and discussed without ever being defined; in those cases the definition is a best approximation of the author's intent as established by the context of the text.  In other cases the key elements of the definition are scattered throughout the discussion of the topic.  In these cases the definition is a paraphrase of the text based on the key elements.

As a demarcation between the Academy's Glossary and that of the Center for Historical Fencing, this glossary addresses the following fencing weapons: foil, epee (dueling sword), the fencing sabre, bayonet, and singlestick.  Broadsword, sabre (as opposed to the fencing sabre), cutlass, small sword, and earlier bladed and hafted weapons are included in the Center for Historical Fencing's Glossary.  Sources included in this glossary extend beyond the limits of the Classical Period as the Academy defines it when it is reasonable to conclude that the author is describing technique used during the classical period.