So I finally watched the Ramon Martinez “La Verdadera Destreza: Volume III” dvd last night and loved it. Martinez actually spends the first 20-25 minutes (of the 53 min. dvd) going over period quotations from the various masters and manuals along with drawings from the works to show the reasoning behind the classical Destreza stance. This is beyond perfect for me as I am trying to work through translations of the manuals and their language and I am not having a very easy time. I am discovering that the Spanish period material can be quite flowery in the writing to say the least. While I love some of it and find it motivational, it is sometimes difficult to interpret and get to the heart of what they are saying about the technique. Some of the quotes and translations used in this dvd are magnificent and reinforce what I am doing.
One of my favorite motivational quotes from the dvd was:
“The wise and skilled when charged with constructing some edifice, so that it is perfect, firm and durable places much care in taking the foundations from the depths and bowels of the earth: and with much diligence, with ruler and other instruments, procures that they be straight and that they not incline to any part. Thus for this edifice of La Destreza, wall and fortress of man’s defense, it is necessary when exercised, that the ground work, foundation of the feet be perfect and without fault.”
Libro de las grandezas de la Espada
D. Luis Pacheco de Narvaez, 1600
He then goes onto some basics of stance and footwork / angles and explains some reasoning behind his first 2 dvds. He specifically talks about how the hand positions were taught in those videos (“fingernails up” and “fingernails down”) and how that isn't what an advanced student would do, but it is how he designs his lessons for beginners before they transition to turning their wrist. I know that this has been a sticking point I have read about on line, since many of the period manuals specifically talk out how “fingernails in” is the strongest position and how you should hold your sword. His demo people still go “fingernails up” far too often for my taste in the drills he covers, but overall very cool of him to explain his teaching methodology.
In my opinion this should have been the first and not the 3rd dvd and if anyone considers studying this material I will recommend starting with this one. The first 2 were made in 2002 and this one released in 2013 and it appears he addressed many of the things he feels he missed with the first set. In this dvd, Martinez himself describes it as the foundation needed to begin studying Destreza. While a beginner might want to get right to the stabbing and not listen to approx. 23 minutes of period translations on how to stand upright, this is the type of foundational Destreza material which does not exist elsewhere in any commercial fencing dvd I have found yet.
I hope to rewatch the first 2 dvds in the near future to see what I can get out of them now that I am a bit farther along in my learning. I will try and post here about them when I do.
Link to Martinez website where you can find this product for purchase: Martinez Academy of Arms Instructional DVDs
Thank you for reading.