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New translation of Henry de Sainct Didier’s ‘Secrets of the Sword Alone’ available in print!

2 Comments

by Meg Floyd

Australian Chris Slee has completed a new translation of Henry de Sainct-Didier’s 1573 rapier/sidesword text, which is now up for sale in ebook/print format (a nice touch of variety, as many versions are only available in print!). In his blog post Slee says, “Here’s my modern English translation of Henry de Sainct-Didier’s 1573 sidesword/rapier treatise Secrets of the Sword Alone. This is a straight translation. I’ve not attempted to interpret the text as it’s really not required. It’s 154 pages long including  an introduction and 34 pages of Sainct Didier’s images. The print version is currently available from Lulu and will be available from other print book stores in a few weeks. I’ll list them as they become available.

The eBook is available as of 13 September 2014 but can be pre-ordered today from these stores:

Unfamiliar with this manual? Per the cover blurb:

A modern English translation of Henry de Sainct-Didier’s 1573 fencing training manual. Sainct-Didier taught a style of swordsmanship informed by more than two decades as a soldier on the battlefields of France’s Italian Wars. He demonstrates techniques which are straight forward and direct, without the niceties of the Italian and Spanish salles of the period.

This is a textbook of lesson plans teaching basic cuts and thrusts, how to counter them, and the ways to respond to and defeat these defences. It is written so that each action builds step by step into complex two-person drills in which initiative passes back and forth between the combatants.

No interpretation of Sainct-Didier’s text has been attempted, allowing his words to stand on their own merits.

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2 thoughts on “New translation of Henry de Sainct Didier’s ‘Secrets of the Sword Alone’ available in print!

  1. I am glad to see another translation of this manual–I am all about competition, as it makes everyone better.

    A quick point though: there has been another translation and interpretation that has been published for a while, so this statement from the article is incorrect:

    “No interpretation of Sainct-Didier’s text has been attempted, allowing his words to stand on their own merits.”

    Where to get the other translation:
    https://www.paladin-press.com/product/The_Single_Sword_of_Henry_De_Sainct-Didier/Historical_Arms_and_Combat

    (Or just google search Henry de Sainct Didier. To see other options)

    • Hi Robert! First, thank you for taking the time to read and comment on the blog, as well as the additional information. However, I believe this was meant (and I understood it) to mean that in this published translation, no interpretations of techniques have been attempted, and it is just a translation of the text itself. Again, thank you for the link to another translation. I think it’s good scholarship to compare more than one against the original text if you have the linguistic ability to do so.

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