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 rapier, broadsword, 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:
- FOIL & SPADA: largely north Italian, but with some Neapolitan and French elements (Del Frate, Masiello, Rossi, Barbasetti; for Neapolitan we look to Rosaroll & Grisetti, Parise, etc.; for 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: In addition to Italian works, we look to several French and Insular works, among them Domenico Angelo’s School of Fencing, Labbat, de la Touche, Girard, McBane, and Hope.
- BROADSWORD: many of our sabre fencers are closet-broadsworders. Plans are in the works to bring out instructors better versed in these traditions. Stay tuned!
- 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.
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. However, group meet-ups do happen and are normally announced when they happen.
Traditionally this is the best way to learn, and the fastest way to improve. For those interested in this option, please ask! These lessons are affordable and flexible–some like 30 min, some an 1 hr. There are several types of individual lessons SdTS offers:
- pedagogical lessons: for absolute beginners to advanced students; these lessons work on fundamentals of footwork, technique, and tactics
- tournament prep: these lesson are targeted toward particular strategies and tactics useful for competition; lesson plans are devised via consult with Jim and then targeted toward the student’s specific needs, e.g. how to deal with leg cuts, using second intention, etc.
- special concerns/issues: these lessons are for more experienced fencers interested in getting back into things or who desire extra practice with particular skills
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)
- Italian Foil (beginner; intermediate)
- French Smallsword (beginner; intermediate)
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 did I get my start in PDX via his salle, 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