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Cartilla, y luz en la verdadera destreza (Nicolás Tamariz)

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Cartilla, y luz en la verdadera destreza
A Primer and light on the Verdadera Destreza
Full title Cartilla, y luz en la verdadera destreza, sacada de los escritos de D. Luis Pacheco de Narvaez y de los autores que refiere
Illustrated by Unknown
Place of origin Seville (1696)
Language Spanish
Genre(s) Fencing manual

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 Nicolás Tamariz, Deputy Grand Master of the city of Seville.

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; a note on the "Nine Medios", which describes the preferred offensive maneuvers of Tamariz' Destreza, and; a note on one of D. Luis Pacheco de Narvaez's conclusions, from Las cien conclusiones de la destreza de las armas (MS Phill.1941).

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.

Included in the book are two simple plates, illustrating the Five Paths and the Nine Medios described in the text, in a circular, geometric footwork diagram of a format typical of the Verdadera Destreza tradition.

Publication History

"Cartilla, y luz..." was first printed and published in Seville by "los Herederos de Thomás Lopez de Haro" ("The heirs of Thomás de Haro"), in 1696 CE.

A facsimile edition was published in 1902 by Devinne Press, New York, on behalf of the Hispanic Society of America, from an extant copy of the 1696 Edition, then in the library of Archer Milton Huntington, founder of that Society. Archer Huntington's copy of the original is now in the archives of the Hispanic Society.


Introduction by Nicolás Tamariz
Dialogue by Nicolás Tamariz
Note on Footwork by Nicolás Tamariz
Note on the Opposition of Footwork by Nicolás Tamariz
How to Choose the Medio de Proporción by Nicolás Tamariz
A Note on the Atajo by Nicolás Tamariz
Follow the Five Paths by Nicolás Tamariz
Declare the Nine Medios by Nicolás Tamariz
Note on Conclusion Fifty-Five by Nicolás Tamariz
First Rule by Nicolás Tamariz
Second Rule by Nicolás Tamariz
Third Rule by Nicolás Tamariz
Fourth Rule by Nicolás Tamariz
Fifth Rule by Nicolás Tamariz
Sixth Rule by Nicolás Tamariz
Seventh Rule by Nicolás Tamariz
Eighth Rule by Nicolás Tamariz
Note on the Vulgar Terms by Nicolás Tamariz
A Useful Notice by Nicolás Tamariz


Additional Resources


Copyright and License Summary

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