“… this science to be the ground and foundation of the Arte Militarie …”
Vincentio Saviolo, His Practise, 1595
The 1595. Club
The 1595 Club was founded in Brighton, East Sussex, England, in 2002. In origin it could easily have been called ‘The 1595 Project’ as the initial intention (apart from deciphering Saviolo’s instruction) was to test his claim that “… this science [the use of the Sword and Dagger] to be the ground and foundation of the Arte Militarie …”
Over the years our understanding and interpretation of this extraordinary system has grown and developed.
One of the first steps in reaching a stronger comprehension of this style of combat was working with the correct weapon – swords that were (foiled) replicas of the type most commonly used by the professional soldiers of 16th Century Europe. The first point of notice was the weight, heft and balance of these swords (most commonly ranging in weight from between two-and-a-half pounds to three-and-a-half pounds – anything lighter would have had little use as a practical weapon on the battlefield). This, in turn, brought about an understanding of not only how dangerous these weapons actually were (something that can all too easily be forgotten in the case of most ‘sporting’ forms of fencing) but also that they had to be manoeuvred in a radically different way than was previously thought.
From this began a detailed examination of the body mechanic necessary to wield heavy military weaponry; a study of bio-mechanics and of footwork (when most people talk about ‘footwork’ what they actually mean is ‘leg work’ – there was a whole language waiting to be rediscovered on the turning, positioning and shifting of the feet).
It also taught us that the practise of this art could not be played in a competitive manner (the science of the Art Militarie is geared towards hitting as powerfully as is possible and is therefore something that can never be contested at full-speed or with full intent, no matter what protective clothing is worn). Consequently a style of improvised practise had to be developed that allowed the practitioners to safely play, explore, enjoy and examine their potential.
Finally we observed obvious similarities between the body mechanic explained in Saviolo’s work and those to be found in what is sometimes referred to today as the ‘classic pugilism’ of the bareknuckle scientific boxers of the later-half of the 1800s. From this we began combining these closely related disciplines to develop the foundation of our unarmed system of defence.
In 2011 we opened a Salle in London.
2014 saw the opening of 1595 Chapters in both Italy and Ireland.