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Cartilla y luz en la verdadera destreza

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"Cartilla, y luz en la verdadera destreza, sacada de los escritos de D. Luis Pacheco de Narvaez y de los autores que refiere", ("[A] Primer, and light on the Verdadera Destreza, taken from the writings of D. Luis Pacheco de Narvaez and the authors he refers to",) is a Spanish fencing treatise in the Verdadera Destreza tradition, written by D. Nicolás Tamariz, Deputy Grand Master of the city of Seville, printed and published in that city by "los Herederos de Thomas Lopez de Haro" ("The heirs of Thomás de Haro"), in 1696 CE.

A run of 200 facsimiles was published in 1902 by Devinne Press, New York, on behalf of the Hispanic Society of America, from a copy then in the library of Archer Milton Huntington, founder of that Society. This facsimile can be found online, and a newly modernized transcription was completed by Carlos Urgel Gómez under the auspices of the Asociación Española de Esgrima Antigua in 2015.

The book, after the usual front matter of approvals from inquisitors and other religious and political figures, poems from admirers and friends of the author, and the author's own introduction, is composed of seventeen chapters. The first is a Socratic dialogue of questions and answers relating to basic concepts of Verdadera Destreza theory and practice, which offers a relatively thorough foundational vocabulary for students of the style. Next, comes a series of seven chapters which are composed of short essays, or notes, elaborating on some of the most vital practical elements of the style: a pair of notes on how footwork is to be performed and how it can be opposed; a note on choosing an opening measure; a note explaining the concept of "atajo", a vital (and contentious) component of Verdadera Destreza theory; A piece on the "Five Paths", describing the "correct" ways to enter measure safely; and a note on the "Nine Medios", which describes the preferred offensive maneuvers of Tamariz' Destreza. Following these notes is a series of chapters which describe "reglas", forms or drills which build on the foundational work laid out by the expository matter of the preceding chapters. Each regla is divided into "términos", or "terms", precisely describing the actions of each combatant during the drill. These reglas are a relatively rare example of direct practial pedagogy in a Verdadera Destreza book- many of which are heavy on theory and short on drills. The penultimate chapter is an adversarial note addressing what Tamariz felt were the errors of the "vulgar" fencers, or "Añasquinos", as he puts it. The final chapter is a short paragraph of moral exhortation to the reader, regarding how, when, and why the teachings of sword-craft ought to be employed, and how, when, and why they ought not be.


  1. Front Matter
  2. Introducción
  3. Dialogo ("Dialogue")
  4. Noticias de los Compases ("Notes on Footwork")
  5. Noticia de la oposición de los Compases (Notes on the Opposition of Footwork")
  6. Como se Elige el Medio de Proporción ("How to Choose the Medio de Proporción")
  7. Noticia del Atajo ("A Note on the Atajo")
  8. Siguese los Cinco Caminos ("Follow the Five Paths")
  9. Declarense los Nueve Medios ("Declare the Nine Medios")
  10. Noticia de la Conclusion Cincuenta y Cinco ("A Note on Conclusion Fifty-Five")
  11. Primera Regla ("First Rule")
  12. Segunda Regla ("Second Rule")
  13. Tercera Regla ("Third Rule")
  14. Cuarta Regla ("Fourth Rule")
  15. Quinta Regla ("Fifth Rule")
  16. Sexta Regla ("Sixth Rule")
  17. Octava Regla ("Seventh Rule")
  18. Noticias de los Términos Vulgares ("Notes on the Vulgar Terms")
  19. Sirva Esta Advertencia de Reconocer ("Serve this Warning to Acknowledge")