The Spanish Swordsmanship Society of St. Louis is dedicated to rediscovering and promoting the historical sword-fighting arts of Iberia (Spain and Portugal). There are four main areas in which we work - study, practice, translation, and research.
Books describing Iberian swordsmanship date from at least the 15th century all the way up to the 20th century and present many different methods of fighting or training with various types of swords and their accompanying arms. We study a treatise to develop interpretations of the author's instructions, and also to understand the principles of the system that the treatise presents, in order to improve our interpretations and organize training.
The true test of an interpretation is in putting it into practice, to see if we can make it work, or point out the faults that need to be addressed through further study. We practice in order to provide a lab for testing, but also for regular training to help refine and develop the art in a person.
Not everyone interested in Iberian swordsmanship can read the treatises, which may be written in Spanish/Castilian, Portuguese, Galician, Catalan, or Latin. Even those who read modern Spanish may have trouble with the older forms of orthography and grammar. We transcribe these old books and translate them to English, so that they can be studied and enjoyed by a much wider audience.
Works on Iberian swordsmanship and references to it originate from not only Spain and Portugal, but also other parts of Europe and their former colonies in the Americas and Asia. Sometimes they are found in the most unlikely places, so research to find them, or information about them or their authors, is continually ongoing and necessary.
Anyone with a genuine interest in Iberian swordsmanship can find a place in one or more of the above areas according to their aptitude and passion. Those with a scholarly interest can contribute to study and research. Those who just want to learn to fence in a historical Spanish style and have no interest in the intellectual pursuit can come to practice to learn and help test new ideas. Those who like both scholarly and physical pursuits can do both, and those who read more than one language can put it to use in translation, research, and study.