This time we spent more time on basics than previously - we didn't do any sparring, but instead worked on footwork more than anything.
The lessons were given using Giacomo Di Grasse's technique, by a guy who was clearly a scholar in historical fencing. Rather than being fancy and swashbuckling, like for stage and screen, Maestro Di Grasse emphasizes efficiency, safety, and deceptive maneuvers. This classic manual of arms was translated into English in 1594, and is available on the web here. (with videos!).
Di Grasse promises:
Plainly teaching by infallible demonstrations, apt figures, and perfect rules
the manner and form how a man without other teacher or master
may safely handle all sorts of weapons, offensive and defensive;
with a treatise of deceit and falsings,
offering a way by private industry to obtain strength, judgement and acuity.
We practiced proper footwork, moving on a slope (circling or angling to attack, rather than the linear style of modern fencing), and the four classic wards. It was in addition to a great way to get some exercise, a really fascinating lecture. I wish I knew the teacher's name - he was really good, and did a great job of teaching about timing and distance. It varied quite a bit from the more simple style that Laertes taught two weeks ago. I'm curious to see the Spanish style, which is very formal and done in a circle drawn like a compass - with particular parries and attacks naturally following one's position on the circle compared to that of the opponent.
Learning the various historical styles is as much intellectually interesting as it is physically fun. Plus, you know... swords! I've been playing swords since I was a tot!
Edit to add: And I was just comparing fencing notes with Stephen Brust via IM. That's just too cool for words!