Monday, January 4, 2010
Addendum: The Rapiers Place in the Greater Art
My friend was right when he said that I love the rapier, but this post is not emotionally biased. His Silverian exclusion of the rapier from the greater Art may leave some confused as to what we mean by “the Art” in the first place, so allow me to place it in its proper context.
The rapier is, in point of fact, governed by the Art of which we speak.
I’m sure, as divided as our audience may be, that they can agree that the rapier is, obviously and practically, a specialization of the more common and versatile sword.
A specialization, by nature, is not an exclusion from, but, particularly in regards to weapon forms and their styles of use, a discarding of other elements, and to a lesser degree, a focus on the particular strengths of that specialized weapon’s design (for the design, though derived from the Art and its pre-existing weapons, governs how it may be used). What this means is that the rapier, and thusly the way it is used, did not appear in a vacuum, upon its own foundation, any more than the Art of the Longsword appeared from nothing and entirely separate from the pre-existing sword. This very specialization was, in part, why Master Silver felt the Art of the Rapier was “false,” or lacking. Because it was a specialization of the greater Art, it excluded certain elements which he felt were proper to have in a more rounded methodology.
Though a specialization, the rapier is part and parcel of the same Art of which we speak.
Even if the rapier was favored in a certain area and then exported, it was quickly exported and popularized in all nations nonetheless. Just as the knights of the feudal age were borderless and their art shared, the rapier was itself borderless and those who instructed in its use exported. Though regional styles were more “regionally” pronounced with the rapier, they were just that: styles. The frill on the Art itself. Some Masters preferred a peripheral weapon, some did not. Some stood this way, some stood that. Some held their weapons here, some there. However they decided to stand when they were still, they all stepped, lunged, passed and thrust, with the aim of piercing the opponent while themselves not being pierced, while using a rapier (as with the longsword, while there were many designs, a rapier is a rapier is a rapier). There was no more a separate art to the rapier than there was with the longsword, just as the rapier is no more disconnected or separate from the Art itself than was the use of the mace; simply specialization. All styles of the Art of the Rapier were based upon the principles of the Art itself. They had to be as they were subject to intense natural selection in a dueling and self-defense environment, and they could not spontaneously arise experimentally with no basis.
The Art is the trunk of a tree. The branches are the styles. The branches, however, intertwine and grow within and without one another. The use of the rapier is a twig upon each branch, and those twigs likewise entangle and merge with one another, growing inward as well as out.
Copyright Jan. 2010, Casper Bradak
Posted by B & C at 6:07 PM