Training in Fencing for Battle
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.