Book Review

Book Review

Post by LCLo » Sun, 07 Aug 1994 13:29:05


BOOK REVIEW

On Fencing by Aldo Nadi, Original 1943, Reprinted 1994.
$19.95, Softcover. ISBN: 1-884528-04-X. Published by Laureate Press.
P.O. Box 450597-185, Sunrise, FL 33345. Tel: 800-946-2727.

Reviewed by William M. Gaugler, PhD.
Director of the Military Fencing Masters Program and Professor of
Classical Archeology at San Jose State University, California. Dr. Gaugler
was a pupil of Maestro Aldo Nadi, Maestro Umberto Di Paola and Maestro
Giorgio Passina. He holds a fencing master's diploma from the Academia
Nazionale di Scherma in Naples, Italy.

Fifty years ago Maestro Aldo Nadi's landmark publication, On Fencing,
first appeared in print. On that occasion Time magazine (19 April 1943,
pp. 54-56) devoted a two-page article to Nadi, in which it noted that he
was "acknowledged the world's finest foilsman." In 1943 the hard-cover
edition of On Fencing sold for three dollars a copy. By the late 1950s it
had become the most sought-after volume of its kind, and a collector's
item; in the rare instance that a copy appeared on the market, it cost
between sixty and one hundred dollars. Indeed, the book was so difficult
to find that third and fourth generations of xerox copies circulated among
fencers for years.

Why was Nadi's publication so important? Because he was one of the most
successful fencers of our century, a super champion, virtually unbeatable
in all three weapons. In the 1920 Olympic Games at Antwerp Nadi won the
silver medal in individual sabre and gold medals for team foil, sabre, and
epee. After the Games he turned professional, and during the following
decade and a half defeated at foil and epee every amateur and professional
willing to face him on the fencing strip, including a generation of French
champions such as Gaudin and Cattiau. Lucien Gaudin, who won gold medals
in individual foil and epee at the 1928 Olympic Games at Amsterdam said
that Aldo Nadi, "the thoroughbred of Italian fencing, will remain
invincible for twenty years." And this proved to be true.

In addition to being one of the finest textbooks on foil technique ever
written, On Fencing is also highly readable, and contains recollections of
Aldo Nadi's duel with Adolfo Cotronei, as well as important insights into
his fencing tactics.

In his autobiography (1), Aldo Nadi describes his own approach:

"I started revising the system which had actually created me (2),
discarding all that I thought superfluous. To the ultimate end of a fully
dramatic interpretation of both my character and nervous assets I felt
that I had to produce a highly personal style and pattern of combat..."

What, in fact, distinguishes Nadi's book, On Fencing, from all other
textbooks on foil is the wealth of technical and tactical advice he
provides.

In summary, On Fencing is a comprehensive guide to foil technique,
suitable for teaching both the beginner and advanced fencer. It takes the
reader step-by-step through the fundamental elements of fencing (footwork,
simple and circular parries, and simple and compound attacks) to the most
advanced fencing actions (counterattacks and countertime). For the
experienced competitor the sections on combat training and competition
will be of unquestionable value. Only a fencer with Nadi's record of
achievement could write with such complete authority. And what is
especially significant is the fact that his advice is as valid today as it
was fifty years ago, despite electrical weapons and rule changes. On
Fencing is a work of cardinal importance, the testament of perhaps the
greatest swordsman of our time; it goes almost without saying that it
should be in the library of every serious fencer and aspiring champion.

Notes:
It should be noted that Laureate Press, in the near future, will also
publish Aldo Nadi's autobiography, as a companion volume to On Fencing.

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by Jessie Mical » Mon, 08 Aug 1994 22:39:18

Quote:
>BOOK REVIEW
>On Fencing by Aldo Nadi, Original 1943, Reprinted 1994.
>$19.95, Softcover. ISBN: 1-884528-04-X. Published by Laureate Press.
>P.O. Box 450597-185, Sunrise, FL 33345. Tel: 800-946-2727.

Do we really need to see this "book review" (i.e. adverti***t) over and
over again?  This is at least the third time it's been posted within the
last few weeks.  One wonders what the connection is between the author
and the publishing company.

Jessie A. Micales

U.S. Forest Products Laboratory
Durendal Fencing Club

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by Mary Ellen Curti » Wed, 10 Aug 1994 10:47:17

Quote:

>>BOOK REVIEW

>>On Fencing by Aldo Nadi, Original 1943, Reprinted 1994.
>>$19.95, Softcover. ISBN: 1-884528-04-X. Published by Laureate Press.
>>P.O. Box 450597-185, Sunrise, FL 33345. Tel: 800-946-2727.

>Do we really need to see this "book review" (i.e. adverti***t) over and
>over again?  This is at least the third time it's been posted within the
>last few weeks.  One wonders what the connection is between the author
>and the publishing company.

That's telling 'em, Jesse!

Dirk Goldgar

postal:    9 Titus Mill Rd., Pennington, NJ 08534,  USA

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by LCLo » Fri, 12 Aug 1994 12:14:07


SOMEONE KEEPS REMOVING IT.

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by LCLo » Fri, 12 Aug 1994 12:21:08


This is not an ad. It is a Book Review, as it appeared in American Fencing
Magazine. People on here seem to have a phobia that if anyone can even
remotely make money from a post it is automatically bad. If this is true
then all references to equipment that mention a company name or supplier
should also be removed. I would not have put this back on here if someone
had not removed it. Many people happen to like Aldo Nadi and his book.

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by HEATH JUL » Sat, 13 Aug 1994 00:33:13

Quote:



>This is not an ad. It is a Book Review, as it appeared in American Fencing
>Magazine. People on here seem to have a phobia that if anyone can even
>remotely make money from a post it is automatically bad. If this is true
>then all references to equipment that mention a company name or supplier
>should also be removed. I would not have put this back on here if someone
>had not removed it. Many people happen to like Aldo Nadi and his book.

I found the review interesting the first time I saw and read it, much
less so the next time, very much less so the time after that.  Thank you
for posting it to begin with it.  I have seen it now so I will be killing
it hereafter.

Regards,

Julie

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by Randell Jesu » Sat, 13 Aug 1994 14:39:11

Quote:

>This is not an ad. It is a Book Review, as it appeared in American Fencing
>Magazine.
> I would not have put this back on here if someone
>had not removed it.

        Just in case you didn't know, please realize that articles are
automatically removed by the news software after a period of time (which
varies at every site).  This can range from daily to several weeks or even
months.  Most sites purge articles every week or two.

        Maybe someone did forge a cancel message for the article.  I doubt
it - why would they bother?  After the 2nd or 3rd posting, maybe someone
got annoyed and cancelled it.

--
Randell Jesup, Scala US R&D

Ex-Commodore-Amiga Engineer, class of '94
#include <std/disclaimer>

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by Jessie Mical » Sat, 13 Aug 1994 04:11:53

Quote:
El Lobo writes:
>This is not an ad. It is a Book Review, as it appeared in American Fencing
>Magazine. People on here seem to have a phobia that if anyone can even
>remotely make money from a post it is automatically bad. If this is true
>then all references to equipment that mention a company name or supplier
>should also be removed. I would not have put this back on here if someone
>had not removed it. Many people happen to like Aldo Nadi and his book.

Messages do not stay available indefinitely; they eventually rotate off.  I
doubt if anyone is removing it.  In fact, I don't think that is even
possible.  Once a message is read, it will not appear on your screen again
unless you "unread the group." No one like to see the same message over and
over again, especially one that is so long and takes so long to load.  If
you feel you must repost this for everyone's benefit, please add "repost" to
the subject line so we will know it's the same thing.

Now, about Aldo Nadi's book:

   I also enjoyed PORTIONS of this book.  In fact, his descriptions of
dueling and growing up in his father's salle were fascinating.  I also liked
his chapters on competition and bouting.  I especially liked his
recommendation that one should do "second intention" when fencing good
fencers.  I suspect that some of you who insist on fast, simple bladework
(and who think that more complex bladework is "shoddy fencing") may
disagree.  I am looking forward to the release of his autobiography; he
appears to be quite a character.

   I also have some problems with the book.  It was recommended as a book
that would be good for beginners, but I do not agree with this.  Nadi used
an Italian grip (which was supported into the hand by wrapping it with
a strip of cloth).  Unfortunately, much of his technical descriptions
center around this grip and parry positions and movements are described in
terms of the position of the crossbar.  This was very confusing and
difficult to visualize, even when I knew what the parry positions are
supposed to look like.  I still can't figure out whether he is using
seconde or octave!  There are very few illustrations.  A beginner could
spend a lot of time trying to puzzle out these descriptions.  Much of the
terminology is also dated - e.g. "spanking parries" for beat parries.  He
had another term for opposition parries which I can't recall right now.  One
other thing - although the book is entitled "On Fencing," it deals
exclusively with foil fencing. In fact, he makes some rather depreciating
remarks about epee and sabre (calling them "lesser" weapons!)

I will continue this posting in my next message.  I don't want the computer
to time me out (like it did before).  So, if you are interested in my
opinion, read on....

Jessie A. Micales

U.S. Forest Products Laboratory
Durendal Fencing Club

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by Jack Camp » Sat, 13 Aug 1994 22:44:48

Quote:

>> BOOK REVIEW
>> On Fencing by Aldo Nadi, Original 1943, Reprinted 1994.
>> $19.95, Softcover. ISBN: 1-884528-04-X. Published by Laureate Press.
>> P.O. Box 450597-185, Sunrise, FL 33345. Tel: 800-946-2727.
> Do we really need to see this "book review" (i.e. adverti***t) over and
> over again?  This is at least the third time it's been posted within the
> last few weeks.  One wonders what the connection is between the author
> and the publishing company.

Has anybody except the guy advertising it read the thing?  I ordered it as
a present (I don't fence myself and monitor this group for someone who does)
because I took that review to be objective.  Since it now seems to have
originated with someone having a dishonestly undeclared interest in selling
it, I'm going to cancel the order unless someone else tells me it's worth it.

I have no problem with people with commercial interests posting to the net,
so long as they are honest and up-front about what they're doing (Henry
Fogel on rec.music.classical, Peter van der Linden on alt.folklore.urban
and Bob the Hasselblad/Rollei rep on rec.photo come to mind).  But this sort
of deceitfulness is out of order.

--
-- Jack Campin  --  Room 1.36, Dept. of Computing & EE, Heriot-Watt University,
   Riccarton, Edinburgh EH14 4AS      Home: 031 556 5272      Fax: 031 451 3431
   Work: 031 449 5111 ext 4195     WWW: http://SportToday.org/~jack/jack.html

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by Jessie Mical » Sun, 14 Aug 1994 03:05:01

Quote:

>>> BOOK REVIEW
>>> On Fencing by Aldo Nadi, Original 1943, Reprinted 1994.
>>> $19.95, Softcover. ISBN: 1-884528-04-X. Published by Laureate Press.
>>> P.O. Box 450597-185, Sunrise, FL 33345. Tel: 800-946-2727.
>> Do we really need to see this "book review" (i.e. adverti***t) over and
>> over again?  This is at least the third time it's been posted within the
>> last few weeks.  One wonders what the connection is between the author
>> and the publishing company.
>Has anybody except the guy advertising it read the thing?  I ordered it as
>a present (I don't fence myself and monitor this group for someone who does)
>because I took that review to be objective.  Since it now seems to have
>originated with someone having a dishonestly undeclared interest in selling
>it, I'm going to cancel the order unless someone else tells me it's worth it.

That was just my speculation.  The poster denied any affiliation with
the publishing company; he just really liked the book (and thought that
someone was removing his posts).  The review was originally published in the
American Fencer (the U.S. Fencing Association magazine).  In a recent series
of two postings, I stated my opinion of the book.  In short, parts of the
book are interesting and have good advice.  I think it would take an
experienced fencer to separate out the good advice from the out-of-date
material.  I would not recommend it to a beginner.

Jessie A. Micales

U.S. Forest Products Laboratory
Durendal Fencing Club

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by LCLo » Sun, 14 Aug 1994 06:13:03


writes:

There is no dishonesty or deceitfulness involved, this book was reviewed
favorably in American Fencing magazine (as I posted with only a few edits
to make it fit the max message size). I freely admit I published this
book. I like fencing. I hope to print many other high quality fencing
books to help the sport. Unfortunately printing costs a lot of money. None
of these books will come back and be read unless I charge for them. I
spent my own money to reprint this one, then only to be chastised for
telling people about it.
    As for the quality of the book, not many people know that it was also
favorably reviewed in Escrime Internationale (FIE), The Sword (England),
Fechtsport (Germany) and The Swordmaster (US Fencing Coaches Association).
When it originally came out in 1943 it was also favorably reviewed by Time
magazine, The New York Times Book Review and Publishers Weekly.
    I did not know that messages automatically dropped off. I thought
someone was doing it on purpose so others would not have an opportunity to
find out about the book.
    My little fencing book company is my life right now, and I want to
make it work while also making everyone who buys On Fencing or any of my
future fencing books happy. There are a lot of almost useless, rudimentary
fencing books out there. I think it is time that there is another
alternative. One that goes back to the classic principles of fencing. This
is what Aldo Nadi stood for and is what I and Laureate Press stand for.
    --Sincerely, Lance Lobo, Publisher

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by Mary Ellen Curti » Sun, 14 Aug 1994 10:52:33


Quote:

>This is not an ad. It is a Book Review, as it appeared in American Fencing
>Magazine. People on here seem to have a phobia that if anyone can even
>remotely make money from a post it is automatically bad. If this is true
>then all references to equipment that mention a company name or supplier
>should also be removed. I would not have put this back on here if someone
>had not removed it. Many people happen to like Aldo Nadi and his book.

1. Perhaps you are not aware that newsgroup articles have a limited life
   span.  This is not the bulletin board at your local supermarket, where
   you can count on finding all the ads for last year's yard sales.  After
   a certain period of time, newsgroup articles evaporate to make way for
   new material.

2. Many people out in internet land, myself included, are paying by the
   byte for newsgroup articles downloaded.  Not everyone has software that
   allows selective downloading -- for some of us, all articles posted to
   the newsgroup will be downloaded sight unseen.  Now, I have no objection
   to reviews of fencing-related products in this newsgroup (though it's
   one of those proverbial "slippery slopes"), but I don't care to pay to
   receive the same review over and over again, no matter how informative
   it may be!

3. I, too, would like to know whether "LCLobo" is employed by the
   publisher.

Dirk Goldgar

postal:    9 Titus Mill Rd., Pennington, NJ 08534,  USA

 
 
 

Book Review

Post by LCLo » Sun, 14 Aug 1994 06:47:04


Although I did not announce it, I never denied affiliation with the
publishing company.

As for the review, it was written by Dr. William Gaugler, someone I
believe to have the highest ideals and to be extremely honest. He is also
one of the few coaches in this country to hold a diploma from a true
fencing master's school in Italy.

I am beginning to wish I had never posted that review. I admit I made a
mistake in reposting it, but being called dishonest and deceitful simply
for conveying information is too much.

If anyone does not like this book after buying it, I have always said they
can return it and have their money back anytime. Next week, next year or
next decade.