Training in Fencing
Skill in using the sword and to fence effectively took time,
practise and effort . A Knight was trained first as a Page
from the age of 7 to 14 and then as Squire from the age of
14 to 21. A Knight was therefore usually the age of 21
before would make a formal entry into Knighthood. It was the
duty of a Knight to learn how to fight, become accomplished
at using the sword as his primary weapon, and so serve their
sovereign according to the Code of Chivalry. Almost 14 years
of training enabled the knight use the sword with
considerable strength and skill. These skills were still
required during the Elizabethan era for tournaments.
The Art of Fencing
The mid 1500s saw the introduction
of fencing in personal fighting skills and private self-defense. The use
of the sword and the acquisition of fencing arts changed as technology
increased and firearms were introduced and used for military warfare.
The old Feudal system had ceased and so to had the avenues to settle
personal scores. These social changes during the Elizabethan era led to
an increase in the popularity of dueling, or fencing, as a means to
settle private disagreements especially those concerning reputation and
honor. Fencing masters came into great demand. A sword was an important
part of a nobles apparel and it was important that he had adequate
fencing skills. The wearing of the sword with civilian dress was a
custom that had begun in late fifteenth-century Spain.
The elegant rapier was used in
preference to the older, clumsier cutting swords. New fencing techniques
were introduced by the Elizabethan fencing masters. Sword play was no
longer simply dependent on brute strength.