For years, Italian rapier has ruled HEMA for a very simple reason – Spanish rapier, the other big school from the 1600s, was not accessible to most people.
Thus the great Verdadera Destreza remained ignored, aside from the few HEMAists who know enough Spanish to handle the heavy and complicated works of Carranza, Pacheco, Rada and other diestros.
Some partial translations pop up from time to time, but this week a first, full translation of a core Destreza author was announced.
It is the Compendio de los fundamentos de la verdadera destreza y filosofía de las armas – or “Compendium on the Fundamentals of the True Art, Skill and Philosophy of Arms” by Francisco Antonio de Ettenhard y Abarca.
Ettenhard is one of the key fencers from the Pacheco line of Destreza, a known member of the military Order of Calatrava and a captain-lieutenant of the Real Guardia Alemana of king Carlos II of Spain.
The translator is Manuel Lozano and for the moment, you can only get the book directly from him, by contacting him on Facebook.
Mr. Lozano told us that this translation has been ready for some time, and he has already translated another of Ettenhard’s books – Diestro italiano y español, which was published just a few years before his death.
Mr. Lozano intends to make his translation available through Lulu and Barnes & Nobles sometime this year, as well as to continue translating more Destreza sources. His hope, as well as mine, is that this will make the Spanish school more accessible to everyone.
If you are wondering if Ettenhard is worth the money and time, there have been some partial translations by Puck and Mary Curtis available for free here.