We (safely) play with swords as we study, interpret, and practice the integrated single-sword fencing system of the great rapier master Gérard Thibault d’Anvers. Derived from the Spanish Destreza style, Thibault’s form of rapier combat uses natural, un-strained postures to maintain strength and unity between all parts of the body and features circular footwork, forcing opponents to deal with threats from unexpected angles. Thibault documented his entire system in a 400-page, comprehensively-illustrated manual that sets out a clear, progressive curriculum for an untrained student to build all the skills necessary to defend themselves and prevail in a Renaissance rapier duel.
We use blunt metal swords and modern protective fencing gear to simulate the experience of historical combat for fun and to revitalize a forgotten martial art. While our source is historical, our activities are not primarily historical re-enactment. Our practice is contemporary martial skill in a friendly sporting context.
This group does not have an experienced teacher, but is instead a cooperative study group where we hope everyone will share their interpretation and understanding of the techniques we’re learning together. We are all students here.
To learn more about Thibault’s unique fencing style, check out Why Thibault? and the pages in our Scholarship section.
The NoCo Thibault Rapier Study Group is a HEMA Alliance affiliate, and all activities are governed by the HEMAA Safety Policy. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors alone and are not endorsed by or representative of the HEMA Alliance.