Visibility and invisibility – I want to be an International Marcellist

This place has been silent for too long, I know. Since the last time I wrote here I became a dedicated longswordsman, a Meyerist to boot. It made a better athlete out of me, it made a better martial artist out of me, and it gave me a lot more training partners too. But when my friend Ilkka used me as help for his own Marcellian experiment back in Sweden, I just remembered… Remember what? Remember what is unseen:

All’hor mostra piagar; quando ha piagato

Then it shall show the wound; When it has already wounded

This sonetto speaks about the straight thrust of Titta Marcelli. The Heart and Crown of Marcellism, to cite the Prophet of the Vor who wrote 3227a. And no, the lunge is not it. It’s the unseen quality: Marcelli speaks long, and hard and flowery about it, but we can get it. We would call it a non telegraphic blow. He calls this invisibility, since regretfully nobody had yet invented the telegraph in his times, but still it is the same, a combination of speed and sudden, perfect motion that is never heralded by any gaze, by grimaces, by tension of the limbs. Marcelli does not want you to lunge farther, or provoke the adversary, aiming to turn everything into a single time counterattack, he wants you plodding, methodical, flowing slowly or suddendly in range, parrying enemy blows when he is provoked enough by your relentless creeping and domineering (you seek his steel, remember).

And then, of course, hit him out of a first or second intention -better is that he can’t even see when you hit him. He actually hopes you are hitting him with a first intention, yes: faster, and non-telegraphic, that’s what he wants out of you. Given his system, you have to entrench “deeply” into enemy lines to launch such an attack, but given that you use 2 tempi, it is indeed a question of everything falling down at the same time and supporting itself by its own weight, like a cathedral built out of tall arches.

Is this striving for perfection, for suddenness, for unearthly quickness through relentless training a wishful fencing, one that works only if the enemy is flawed? Thibault would have probably called it something like this. Except… Marcelli seeks you out in the bind, wants to dominate your steel phisically and from above. Even going literally out of his way to gain your blade, and is not even bothered about going around you to unsettle you, as he plainly says. That is quite Spanish of him, really, even if it is really pretty simple and uncodified. Maybe I’m making this bigger that it ought to be, but it looks a bit like contamination.

I really want to keep translating now, this place will be good to throw notes, doubts and off-handed remarks like the above. Translating what?

This, of course.


3 Responses to “Visibility and invisibility – I want to be an International Marcellist”

  1. 1 drmarcelli
    dicembre 12, 2011 alle 07:52

    I agree, bravo Mr. Lanza!

  2. gennaio 5, 2014 alle 10:43

    Ciao Francesco. Del ritratto dei Maestri Marcelli su “Le Regole della Scherma” ho trovato una scansione molto migliore Eccolo: http://www.meso.it/marcelli-spadaccini.jpg


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L’argomento di questo blog

Regole della Scherma è un testo scritto nel tardo 17mo secolo da Francesco Antonio Marcelli, romano d'origine e discendente da una nota stirpe di schermidori. Questo blog, che ne prende a prestito il nome, tratta della scherma insegnata da questo Maestro e dai suoi contemporanei con lo scopo di riviverla a fini ricreativi e culturali.
dicembre: 2011
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