Tratado Elemental de la Destreza del Sable

Title: Elementary Treatise on Fencing with a Sabre

Símon de Frías’s Tratado Elementral de la Destrza del Sable was published in 1809, in Mexico City, in what was then part of New Spain. This was an important time in the history of Mexico, as the Mexican War of Independence would break out less than a year later. Although the sabre was in wide use in the 16th century, this text is still one of the earliest known sabre manuals in any language, and earliest known manual in Spanish.

Purely judged on its merits as a fencing text, it has a number of interesting features that set it apart. First and most obvious is that it contains a lot of material influenced by the Spanish Destreza school of fencing. This in turn leads to a much more detailed theoretical discussion than you tend to see in sabre manuals, which are often more practical condensed guides and drills to quickly train up a group of recruits in something that isn’t their main weapon. Frías by contrast does not appear to be focused solely on military sabre. My hope is that through translating and working with this text, we can gain insight into new areas of sabre fencing.

Draft translations will be released periodically, and are open for comment. As each section is translated I will publish a new draft and increment the version.

Current Version: Símon de Frias Draft Translation v 0.1.2
Last Updated: 5th January 2020