Sala delle Tre Spade:
Sala delle Tre Spade (“Hall of Three Swords” or SdTS)* celebrates, promotes, and practices traditional fencing, chiefly with fioretto (foil), spada (epee), and sciabola (sabre), but with forays into older, extinct arms like smallsword and bayonet. We also actively seek to build ties with other, similar schools and groups in our region (the PNW) and beyond.
Our primary focus is the Italian tradition, our chief weapon sabre, and for “classical” fencing–at the moment–we’re the only dedicated classical program in the Portland area (the next closest sala is in Eugene (see the links).
*pron. SAH-lah delleh Trrrey SPAdah. The term sala (It.) or salle (Fr.) is the customary word describing a fencing school. Scroll down for how we chose the name.
What We Fence:
- SPADA/EPEE: a) north Italian, but with some Neapolitan elements (Del Frate, Masiello, Rossi, Barbasetti; for Neapolitan we look to Rosaroll & Grisetti, Parise, etc.); b) French, mostly the Reglement of 1877 & 1908
- SABRE: sabre is north Italian. The Radaellian corpus informs most of our sabre curriculum (e.g. Del Frate, Masiello, Pecoraro & Pessina, and Barbasetti); we also fence mid-century/Italo-Hungarian
- SMALLSWORD: we look to French sources, among them de la Touche, de Liancour, L’Abbat, Girard, D. Angelo, and de St. Martin.
- BAYONET: for bayonet fencing and bayonet vs. sabre we look to a variety of sources, some Italian, many French, and some English and American. All hail from works written between 1750 and 1917.
- BROADSWORD: late Insular tradition as codified by McBane, Hope, Page, Roworth, and Angelo
- RAPIER: Neapolitan School as taught by Marcelli
Where we Fence:
SdTS is comprised of fencers from every background, some Olympic, some historical, some SCA, but all of us united in a love of fencing.
We meet in various locations around the Portland area. Most of the training SdTS offers is individual–without a roof we generally hold lessons in parks, covered play areas, or homes. NB: Sept. 2021 ff–see “For Current Students”
The best way to learn, SdTS offers individual lessons in 30 minute and 1 hour blocks, time and days to be determined with the student. The reality of Covid-19 means that at present individual lessons are the only lessons we’re offering–these take place outside, masks are required.
Group classes have been suspended until further notice. The ongoing challenge with the pandemic, especially the looming horror of the Delta variant in a nation where 40% of people decided not to be vaccinated, continues to make meeting indoors unwise.
Class Format: most classes begin with warm-up and stretching, followed by drill, the lesson or lessons of the day, and for more advanced students bouting.
- Italian Sabre (beginner, intermediate, and advanced)
- French Smallsword (beginner; intermediate)
- Tourney Prep (sabre, spada, smallsword, broadsword–targeted lessons geared toward maximizing legitimate technique in an agonistic context)
- Insular Broadsword (beginner, intermediate, advanced)
Why “Sala delle Tre Spade?”
The school name is the Italian rendering of Salle Trois Armes and I chose it in tribute to the late Rocky Beach, instructor there, whose estate selected us for a non-profit donation. Our focus is largely Italian, but I wanted to honor him and the impact FCSTA has had on us—not only was Rocky’s club the first one I called home in PDX, but thanks to the generosity of Rocky’s estate a lot has been made possible—masks, jackets, gloves, foils, sabres, and some coaching equipment enabled us to offer kids classes to name only one example.
Rocky was a fixture of the fencing community in Portland, and in many ways helped build the city into the hot-spot it is for fencing, particularly Olympic fencing. This link provides a brief biography: https://fencingcenter.org/
*photos from Rocky’s memorial page and fb