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Franco-Japanese Military Sabre and Bayonet
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Franco-Japanese Military Sabre and Bayonet

3 Reviews
Product Code: Book-RM.Fra01
Franco-Japanese Military Sabre and Bayonet
by Russ Mitchell

Beginning in the Meiji Restoration, Japan entered a period of intense and dynamic martial arts development, allowing, for the first time in centuries for Japanese citizens other than the Samurai class to receive combat training. This training did not happen in isolation, but involved multiple military embassies from France, which helped to train the Imperial Japanese Army from a fledgling organization scarcely capable of defending its own borders, into a force to be reckoned with on the global stage.
The Japanese did not passively receive French instruction, but adapted it to their own combat theories, creating methods which became less and less "westernized" during the period from the Meiji Restoration until World War I. This book contains translations from three manuals, as well as notes and appendices to help the reader appreciate these dynamic and sophisticated fencing methods and the context in which they emerged.

Saber Series:
Hungarian Hussar Sabre and Fokos Fencing Vol1
Sabre Fencing: by Károly Leszák Vol.2
Sir Gusztáv Arlow's Sabre Fencing: Austro-Hungarian Sabre Series, V3
Franco-Japanese Military Sabre and Bayonet

About the Author
Russ Mitchell was born in Rhode Island and subsequently shipped all over the place as a "Navy Brat," attending eleven different schools before going off to college and obtaining Master's degrees in History in Texas and Medieval Studies in Budapest, where he suckered a Hungarian lass into marrying him.

Russ writes fantasy stories for his friends' and daughter's amusement, and teaches martial arts in his home-town and at regional seminars, with a special emphasis on movement structure and body mechanics.

Russ Mitchell's _Hungarian Hussar Sabre and Fokos Fencing_ is easily one of the best "HEMA" (Historical European Martial Arts) books I've had the pleasure to read. As approachable as it is informative, _Hungarian Hussar Sabre_ introduces the reader to more than Russ' first-hand experience and knowledge of a "broken" Hungarian sabre tradition--it provides a template for how one might best write about or teach such a tradition. In fact, Russ provides a wonderful model for anyone trying to explain a complicated martial system, from warm-up to tactics.

The author's experience with an instructor of the tradition is well laid-out; the descriptions and explanations for positions, techniques, and plays are explained clearly and accompanied by illustrations of everyday folk, the very folk you might know from your own club or school; the context for those positions and techniques are situated in context, and, in a way unlike many works on military sabre. As a quick example, the squared stance, the guards/parries make complete sense given the kit a late 19th/early 20th century soldier would have been wearing, and, given the contexts in which that same soldier may have found himself having to use a sabre--this information, given to Russ by his instructor (Prof. Csaba Hidán), provides a unique layer of know-how to this system. As someone intimately acquainted with late 19th century military sabre texts this sort of second-hand information, something Hidán learned from his grandfather and grandfather's friends, who were Hussars, fills in critical gaps that the official texts left out.

Added to this, Russ includes translations from key works that provide a window into his own tradition, such as Baron Samu Chappon's _Sabre Fencing_ (1891), and works that, to date, have not been translated into English. For students of Italian sabre like myself, who were trained in the mid-century blend of Hungarian and Italian fencing (i.e. the Italo-Hungarian tradition), what Russ reveals here supplies a much needed glimpse into what differentiates the Hungarian from the Italian systems. There are translations of most key Italian sabre texts, but precious few for Hungarian sources (of which there were far fewer).

_Hungarian Hussar Sabre and Fokos Fencing_ goes one step further and introduces a short section on the fokos, a form of "shepherd's axe," that is, again, unique. Students of axe, especially those familiar with the mss. of Fiore dei Liberi or the anonynous "Le Jeu de la Hache," will see much that is familiar. Taken together, the sections on sabre for foot, fokos, and the sabre for cavalry present, for the first time in English, a valuable introduction to Hungarian sabre. More than that this book fills in a critical piece many fencers know exists but which few of us, lacking Hungarian, have had access to.

If your interest is sabre generally, you need to read this book; if you are a student of modern sabre, you should read this book; if you, like me, were taught by maestri within the Italo-Hungarian orbit, you must read this book to understand better your own tradition; if you need a guide for how to write for HEMA, you need to read this book. Informative, fascinating, and fun, Russ Mitchell's _Hungarian Hussar Sabre and Fokos Fencing_ is a fantastic read.
  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: Independently published (April 6, 2019)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1091933294
  • ISBN-13: 978-1091933293
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces

Shipping Charges
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International: Up to $28. Sent by First Class International.


Average Rating:
( 3 )
JamesF from Bremerton, WA
April 20, 2024
Text = good; book binding = terrible
So, just to get the elephant out of the room, the pages of the book are cut poorly, with the back pages being larger than the ones in front (with the front pages smaller than the cover). Also, the binding is poor and one page slipped free during my initial perusal through the book.The content of the book seems fine. It uses full English text, with frequent footnotes indicating Japanese terminolo
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Anonymous Person from Vancouver
December 4, 2023
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Shenghui Li from Piscataway, NJ United States
March 30, 2023
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