Red Sun Classical Fencing

Red Sun Classical Fencing is a traditional Italian Sala di Armi (fencing school, lit. “room of weapons”) in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Red Sun Classical Fencing is a traditional Italian Sala di Armi (fencing school, lit. “room of weapons”) in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and is a member sala of the Classical Fencing Society.

Our primary focus is upon the Italian dueling weapons of the 18th and 19th century, the spada (sword) and the sciabola (sabre); though all students begin with the classical Italian foil, the instrument with which the techniques of the Science are taught and learned. The training curriculum at Red Sun Classical Fencing is firmly based upon Maestro William Gaugler’s text, The Science of Fencing, as well as that developed by the Classical Fencing Society for nearly 20 years. Ongoing training focuses on practical combat and additional weapons; see the Weapons page for a list of those weapons taught at the school. Unlike sport/modern fencing organizations in the area, Red Sun Classical Fencing is a school of fencing, not a club. This difference means that complete understanding of the systems of defense is our principal objective, not scoring points. We follow a classical pedagogy of a traditional system; the process is logical and focuses on the practical combative techniques passed down to us through the lineage of fencing masters. Rather than adopt unnecessary rules and distort techniques, we maintain the precise and efficient use of dueling weapons. This is fencing as it was intended; a fighting art and training for a duel. If competition, scoring points, being ranked, or using the modern weapons only as instruments for those goals is important to you, then you’ll probably find a sport/modern fencing club more to your liking. However, if you like swords and want to learn how to use one properly, if you like the history of swords and fencing, if you want to be a part of a western martial arts tradition that goes back for centuries, or even if you want to complement your sport fencing techniques, then traditional/classical fencing is for you.

Operating as usual

Reading Radaellian Saber Texts 05/04/2021

Reading Radaellian Saber Texts

Instructor Sean Newton, my friend and colleague, has led 2 workshops in Radaellian sabre here at Red Sun; here’s further reading on the subject in his blog.

Reading Radaellian Saber Texts It seems like the Radaellian saber has become increasingly popular in the last couple of years. Next year’s Saber Slash will focus on Radaellian saber as its main topic, for example. There are also…

KIN 311 Fencing Pedagogy: Theory 04/15/2021

KIN 311 Fencing Pedagogy: Theory

The SSU FMCP is holding the theory class at the end of May. This is the course that one typically takes in between the two practical in-person intensives for each level of instructor certification.

KIN 311 Fencing Pedagogy: Theory This class is the theory component of the Fencing Pedagogy Certificate Program. In this course students will become acqu...


Coupon available on Lulu for Chris Holzman’s books.

If you haven’t noticed, Lulu has been a bit stingy with coupon codes this year. The current code is READER15 for 15% off good through the 26th.

If you haven’t gotten a copy of F.A. Marcelli’s “Rules of Fencing” from 1686, or if part I and II of Giuseppe Morsicato Pallavicini’s “Fencing Illustrated” from 1670 and 1673, you’re really missing out on key texts from the Italian tradition. Likewise with Rosaroll & Grisetti’s “Science is Fencing”, from 1803, which includes some of the best described grapples and counters that I’ve seen in a fencing book.

Get these and more at:

Rapier and Saber Pedagogy | Decatur School of Arms 03/21/2021

Rapier and Saber Pedagogy | Decatur School of Arms

Here’s the registration link for this year’s Rapier and Sabre Pedagogy seminar.

Rapier and Saber Pedagogy | Decatur School of Arms Please join us for our fourth annual Rapier and Saber Pedagogy Retreat on July 29-August 1st. We are eager to welcome you back to beautiful Georgia after a long year for everyone – here is some footage from last year’s event.

[03/17/21]   Here’s a nice coupon for ZWA.

The Naked Swordmaster: Classical Fencing (#10) 03/14/2021

The Naked Swordmaster: Classical Fencing (#10)

Here is some excellent “straight talk” commentary from Maitre Adam Crown on the nature and definition of what we call Classical Fencing. I found it thought provoking; even after having practiced it for over 20 years.

The Naked Swordmaster: Classical Fencing (#10) If you have been involved in the Classical Fencing community for more than a few minutes you already know that not everyone agrees on the definition of Class...

Episode 7: French vs Italian 02/16/2021

Episode 7: French vs Italian

Some great commentary by Maitre Adam Crown. Having been trained in both French and Italian styles, I found it particularly enjoyable.

Episode 7: French vs Italian Episode 7: French vs ItalianA common topic in the fencing world, especially the classical fencing world. Maître Crown offers his take on the differences betw...


Pre-Made Item Sale | Zen Warrior Armory

For those of you wanting one of ZWA’s classical fencing jackets (like a few of our members have) for a discount, have a look at the white ones and see if available in your size.

Pre-Made Item Sale | Zen Warrior Armory

Timeline Photos 02/01/2021

Another possible smarra source, though the blade would need to be changed.

A nice looking piece regardless!

Modern interpretation of an italian smallsword inspired by some models of the late 18th and early 19th century. The guard is made as described in some treatises like "La scienza della scherma" by Rosaroll Scorza and Grisetti Pietro (Milano-1803).
Stainless steel hilt, iron pommel, and hand carved oak handle.
Total lenght 106,5cm
Blade length: 90cm
PoB: 10cm from the cup
Weight: 550g
Precio: 250+shipping

Interpretación moderna de un espadín italiano inspirado en diversos modelos de finales del s.XVIII y principios del s.XIX. La guarnición está basada en las descripciones de algunos tratados como "La scienza della scherma" por Rosaroll Scorza y Grisetti Pietro (Milano-1803).
Guarnición de acero inoxidable, pomo de hierro, y puño de roble hecho a mano.
Longitud: 106,5cm
Longitud hoja: 90cm
Puno de equilibrio: 10cm
Peso: 550g
Precio: 250€+envío



Example and commentary on Italian dueling swords pre-“epee” style.

ANTICO FIORETTO MARCATO S.I.B. BRESCIA DA SCHERMA ? | eBay Le migliori offerte per ANTICO FIORETTO MARCATO S.I.B. BRESCIA DA SCHERMA ? sono su eBay ✓ Confronta prezzi e caratteristiche di prodotti nuovi e usati ✓ Molti articoli con consegna gratis!


This ought to make The Art of the Dueling Sabre happy. I call it “The Chris Holzman Collection”, and I’m sure that it must be said in some sort of snooty accent.

Everything above Art of the Dueling Sabre arrived today as a result of me irresistibly taking advantage of LuLu’s 30% off coupon during Black Friday.

But I thought it was worth pulling out the rest for a group photo.


The Art of the Dueling Sabre

Some wise words from Barbasetti, in relation to recent discussions in class.

From Barbasetti's notes in his copy of the 1876 Del Frate: "Molinelli with a lunge

The greatest difficulty for the exact execution of the blow with the lunge is that of the precise tempo in which the student must lunge. For the lunge to be advantageous, the foot must touch the ground a moment after the blow has touched. If the student lunges before the tempo, the maestro will make him understand that [?] only delays the movement, but with a time hit to the arm or to the body he will persuade him that he shows himself exposed."

[12/01/20]   Per the Governor's updated health order, which takes effect Wednesday December 2nd, we are allowed to reopen.

The next scheduled class session will be Thursday December 3rd.

[11/14/20]   Per the latest public health order of the Governor of New Mexico in response to the surge in Covid cases, Red Sun Classical Fencing must close for 2 weeks beginning Monday November 16th.

The next possible class session will be Tuesday December 1st.

Updates will be posted as the order is amended. Stay safe over the Thanksgiving holiday.


Zen Warrior Armory

Some good news for those of you looking for equipment.

New site, a few new choices in garment color, and some new clothing items almost ready to go! We expect to launch tomorrow evening and we're excited to share our work with you all.

We are also starting holiday discounts early, which we will post here on our page when the new site is released live. With the impact of COVID-19 and an overall increase in shipping-related delays, we want to do all we can to ensure your holiday experience is focused on your family and friends, not whether your order arrives.

We do our best to ensure fighters and actors are safe on the field and stage. We sincerely hope you're doing your best to stay safe everywhere else as well.

Thanks to everyone who has supported us during the pandemic so far. We hope our improvements are a help to you. From everyone at Zen Warrior Armory, we appreciate YOU.


Red Sun Classical Fencing 8th Anniversary

Red Sun Classical Fencing 8th Anniversary October 31 2020 marks the 8th anniversary of the opening of Red Sun Classical Fencing. As with most organizations this year, our training was upended by the emergence of the Covid19 pandemic that has swept across the world. Most events we would have ordinarily participated in (The West Palm Beach Classical Fencing Open, SSU Fencing Masters program, CombatCon, The Grand Assault of Arms, among others) were all cancelled. Provost Mank used this opportunity to make progress on his Masters' Thesis, which had been stalled due to the many life events that had previously occurred over the past few years. All training was suspended in the middle of March, but beginning in the middle of June, following orders laid out by the Governor of New Mexico, and following the Covid-safe practices of our host facility, we started back up with only private lessons at first, and then group sessions again. We have been fortunate in that our membership has remained healthy, and most have returned to training. Thanks to the membership of RSCF; let's do the best we can, as safely as possible, for the remainder of 2020, and make 2021 one of the best years we can.

[10/27/20]   RSCF Membership:

Due to the inclement weather, and that it's forecast to A) continue to snow and B) not get above freezing today (thus making for potentially treacherous roads), and also the fact that I'm snowed in at my house over here in the East Mountains and unable to get over to the sala, I have decided to CANCEL tonight's class (10/27).

If you ordinarily only attend Tuesdays, I would encourage you to instead attend on Thursday this week (10/29), as by then my road will have been plowed and some of this will have melted.

Stay inside, stay warm, and stay off the roads. See everyone Thursday.


An artistic detailed look at our hand positions.

A beautiful reminder on hand positions for dueling sword and sabre:

[10/11/20]   Due to multiple (non-COVID-related) extenuating circumstances, tonight’s (10/11) Sabre class is cancelled. Classes will resume as normal on Tuesday 10/13.

Apologies to all for the last-minute announcement.


If you’re looking for an inexpensive Italian foil, this is generally the one to get.

Classical foils and parts are back!
#italianfoils #fencing 09/29/2020

The Duellists (1977)

Resharing since I occasionally mention this film in class. To mark the founding of a new film site carrying on the legacy of Ferdy on Films, the site I co-authored with Marilyn Ferdinand for 13 years, I offer as the first piece on Film Freedonia the previo…


The Art of the Dueling Sabre

Quotes and commentary regarding the smarra from various sources.

"In this profession it is necessary to train yourself with a little heavier smarra in order to acquire strength in the right arm of the sword, so that later, having to bout with lightweight smarre, it is without a doubt that the thrust will go with more velocity to the determined place. Moreover, this is the opinion of many maestri skilled in this exercise, as Narváez affirms the same opinion (in his book on the greatness of the sword, in the first part of the universal at fol. 248) with these words, “that the sword with which you practice is of the Mark and of such weight, or something more than that, of the belt ; because of creating more strength in the arm, going with them to the opponent’s movements.” -Maestro Giuseppe Morsicato Pallavicini, from The Second Part of Fencing Illustrated, 1673.

It seems clear that the tradition of bouting with lighter smarre/foils in the Neapolitan-Sicilian school stretches at least as far back as Pallavicini. Rosaroll and Grisetti endorse it in 1803 (indeed, they want a very flexible foil for bouting compared to the heavier and stiffer smarra for lessons), and Blasco Florio (1844) further specifies that in giving lessons the Maestro also uses a light weight foil so as not to tire himself, while the student uses the heavier smarra.

Yes - this is a hint that Pallavicini Book 2 is coming. I'm hoping to have it ready in time for buyers to take advantage of the Black Friday and Cyber Monday lulu codes.


Fencing Strategy and Tactics: The Psychology of Feints

Some more commentary by Mo. Selberg.

Fencing Maestro Charles Selberg answers the following question from a fencer, Phillip,"Can you talk about the different type of feints, when to use them and ...


Selberg Fencing

Here is the video (shown to me once before by Mo. Charles Dobbs) in which Mo. Selberg demonstrates the false edge cut to the chest, which I’ve occasionally taught and used with the modern sabres.


Fencing Masters Certificate Program

Dr. William Gaugler, Maestro di Scherma, was born today in 1931.


The Art of the Dueling Sabre

Sharing since there was some discussion about yielding parries recently in class.

I've posted a bit about yielding parries in the past, and Barbasetti's yielding parries, in English, have been exceptionally confusing at times. I finally got a digital copy of his 1902 Italian language foil book, La Scherma di Spada.

Below that, I've also included Rossi's section on yielding parries, again from his foil section. These are, of course, equally applicable to the same thrusts in sabre, to the extent that they exist:

Barbasetti, Cav. Luigi, La Scherma di Spada, (Milano, Tipografia Alessandro Gattinoni, 1902).

Sec. 29. Yielding Parries

The gliding actions give rise to the yielding parries, which always happen as a consequence of the contact of the two blades. The yielding parries are:

Yielding 1st

Whenever the opponent performs a glide in 3rd with a tendency to press it low, instead of reacting with the opposition parry of 3rd, which in this case would be difficult, he yields in the wrist, lowering the point to the inside and raising the hand, turning toward the left in such a way that the opposing blade ends up deflected to the inside.
To the pressure that naturally determines the parry of yielding 1st, great flexibility of the hand must be counterposed in the beginning of the yield, and a certain resistance in the final.

Yielding 3rd

Whenever the opponent performs the fianconata of mezzocerchio, the opposing blade is covered by means of a helical movement from right to left (FN1) and from high to low, passing internally with one’s own shell, raising the point while the hand is lowered. The opposing blade must be found deflected toward the right and one’s own must be found in the position of the parry of 3rd already described.

Yielding 4th

Whenever the opponent performs the fianconata in 4th, or 2nd, or the glide of 2nd, the opposing blade is covered by means of a helical movement from right to left (FN2), from high to low, passing externally to the same (FN3), raising the point and lowering the hand. The opposing blade must be found deviated inside and one’s own blade in the position of the parry of 4th.

In order to facilitate the movement of these last two parries, the blade will be presented with the hand rather high and the point, instead, rather lower than normal. Moreover, it will be useful to await the final moment of the thrust in order to perform the yield without ever losing contact with the blade.

Rossi, Giordano, Scherma di Spada e Sciabola, (Milano, Fratelli Dumolard, 1885).

Book I.
Sec. 38. Yielding Parries.

There are two yielding parries; 4th low and 3rd low. These parries are useful against the thrusts by glide that finish to the flank. The yielding 4th low is performed against the fianconata in 4th or 2nd, and the glide in 2nd. Yielding 3rd low is performed against the thrust by glide in mezzocerchio, and of 1st, and in the fianconata in mezzocerchio.
They are performed without opposing resistance, instead, the action of the opponent's glide is assisted with an elastic movement. Without losing contact with the sword, the hand is lowered, yielding in the wrist and elbow, keeping the sword point at the height of the opponent's chest. In yielding 4th low the hand will be found in position like in the parry of 4th; so in the yielding 3rd low, the hand will be found in the same position to that of the parry of 3rd, with the palm turned down. From this parry, the riposte can be by direct thrust, glide, or after a transport, etc.

Translations by Christopher A. Holzman, © 2020.

[06/02/20]   ANNOUNCEMENT: The Governor's latest order has made it possible for group classes to resume. This must be delayed for a short time, however, to enable Provost Mank to coordinate with our host organization, Duke City Fencing, and meet with the membership.

Therefore, at this time, group classes shall resume on Sunday June 14th!

Until then, the current "individual lessons only" format will continue.


Next year's Rapier and Sabre Pedagogy retreat has been scheduled for May.

Save the date! Our Rapier and Saber Pedagogy retreat (RASP) 2021 will be May 6-10. We will be returning to beautiful Camp Mikell.


The Fencing Post

A decent, long lasting sale from the Fencing Post. They usually have some Italian parts, but also inexpensive general equipment (bags, masks, gloves) as well.

Spring Sale! 05/07/2020

Support Duke City Fencing organized by Toby Tolley

In conversations with the owner of our host organization, Duke City Fencing, it was brought to my attention that while they have applied for the government small business programs for which it qualifies, we have all heard the news that these programs are slow to get the money to the business in need. Duke City Fencing has set up a GoFundMe to bridge the gulf of income during that time.

I would like to help out, and you can too if you want. DCF has been our home for several years now, and our school has cultivated an excellent relationship with them. That, and I don't quite feel like finding a new location when all this Covid19 crap is over. We won't find another place like it; DCF's survival is ours as well.

Consider donating. Here is the link to the GoFundMe: Duke City Fencing has a wonderful history of providing a safe, warm and welcoming environment fo… Toby Tolley needs your support for Support Duke City Fencing

Videos (show all)

CSP Dance Studios Demo, 6-29-18



Private lessons - $30/hr (discounted to $20/hr for members of the school)

Group Classes - $80/mo (discounted to $60/mo under certain conditions)



2840 Girard Blvd NE
Albuquerque, NM

General information

Membership: Members are required to sign a waiver of liability upon joining the school or when taking private instruction. Tuition is payable to the school before the first class of the month. Accepted forms of payment are cash, check, or PayPal. Tuition covers rental of the space, insurance costs for fencing-related activities, use and care of equipment provided by the school, purchase of new equipment, and costs associated with any seminars, workshops, and tournaments the school sponsors. –The base membership tuition is $100 per month. This entitles the member to usage of school equipment and weekly group lessons, as well as a discount on private individual lessons. –A reduced tuition of $80 per month (a 20% discount) applies if the member: 1. is a student enrolled at an academic institution. 2. is an active or retired member, or veteran, of the US Armed Forces. 3. pays at least 3 months’ worth of membership in advance. 4. has two or more family members enrolled in the school. 5. possesses fencing equipment (mask, jacket, underarm plastron/protector, glove, and Italian foil) suitable for training. –Prospective members will receive their first lesson at no charge. This lesson will be an individual lesson covering the most basic elements of fencing. –For fencers who are not members of Red Sun Classical Fencing or the Classical Fencing Society, there is a floor fee of $15 per class. This fee does NOT include usage of school equipment; equipment is for the use of the school membership only. -Individual private lessons outside of regularly scheduled classes are available from the Head Instructor for members and non-members of Red Sun Classical Fencing, for a separate fee (reduced for members). Fencing equipment will be provided to the student during these lessons if needed. If interested, please contact the Instructor using the contact info on the Contact page to discuss place, time, duration, and fee. Basic Equipment Information: The school will provide any required fencing equipment (mask, underarm plastron/protector, jacket, glove, and Italian foil) for members. All participants are responsible for following these other clothing recommendations/requirements: –Pants Pants that are not too baggy, provide complete leg coverage, and do not limit movement are acceptable. Examples include fencing knickers (w/long socks), athletic pants, yoga pants, karate/judo-style gi pants, or sweat pants. Examples of pants that are NOT permitted: Shorts (no lower leg protection against errant blades), jeans (they limit mobility and proper body positioning), excessively baggy yoga or sweat pants (blades can get caught and break). –Shoes Any shoes that are flat, low to the ground (thin sole), have non-marking soles, and not slippery are highly recommended. Examples include fencing shoes, wrestling shoes, indoor soccer shoes, or even Converse. If nothing else, basic tennis shoes will work. –Shirt Starting off, for basic body positioning and footwork (the first few sessions), a regular t-shirt will work. However, once bladework begins, it is recommended that students wear a shirt with long sleeves. –Anatomy-Specific Protection For men: An athletic groin protector is highly recommended. For women: Chest protection is required, either by extra layers or by using plastic chest protectors of some kind (a limited number of these are available from the school). Class Structure: Class material will consist of the practice of proper fencing body positioning, footwork, and bladework. All students begin with the Italian foil, as this provides the basis for all theory and technique. As proficiency grows with the foil, and some bouting experience has been gained (usually after several months of regular training), other weapons will be taught. The class format will mainly consist of group lessons; this is where the majority of the class time will be spent. All members of Red Sun Classical Fencing will receive the same instruction during a group class; there is no segregation between ages or sexes. Individual lessons will be given during class as time allows. Time designated for an Advanced Class will be used to teach other weapons and advanced techniques. Free bouting is allowed when permitted by the Head Instructor. All members will also participate in formal assaults, in order to learn the skills of judging and directing fencing bouts. Bouting is not permitted until the member has completed the initial training curriculum and tested for their bouting privileges. This test includes written, verbal, practical, and combat elements, and is designed to show that the member has learned the terminology, theory, and techniques of the Science of fencing, and can apply them correctly and safely. Depending on how consistently the member attends regular training, bouting privileges will be conferred approximately 6-12 months after beginning training. After that time, the member may freely bout with any other member that has their bouting privileges, the Instructors, or any visiting fencer that is deemed capable of fencing safely.

Opening Hours

Tuesday 19:30 - 21:00
Thursday 19:30 - 21:00
Sunday 19:30 - 21:00
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