The Flower of Battle

The Flower of Battle

"In the previous drawing, I told you I'd turn you and then quickly wrap my sword around your neck, as shown here. Now if I fail to cut your throat, then I'm a pathetic fool."

As a young man, I desired to learn armed fighting, including the art of fighting in the lists with spear, poleaxe, sword, dagger and unarmed grappling, on foot and on horseback, armored and unarmored. In addition, I wanted to study how weapons were made, and the characteristics of each weapon for both offense and defense, particularly as they applied to mortal combat.


Some of these Masters who were envious of me challenged me to fight with sharp edged and pointed swords wearing only a padded jacket, and without any other armor except for a pair of leather gloves. This happened because I refused to practice with them or teach them anything about my art. I was obliged to fight five times in this way. Five times, for my honor, I had to fight in unfamiliar places without family or friends to support me, with no one to trust but God, my art, myself, and my sword. And by the grace of God, I acquitted myself honorably and without injury to myself.

It is my opinion that in this art, there are few men in the world who can really call themselves Masters, and it is my goal to be remembered as one of them. To that end I have created this book all about this martial art and the things related to it, including weapons, their applications, and other aspects too.

"Here I can easily strike you while taking your sword, and by rotating it in your hand, I'll make you drop it, as the only way to prevent yourself being thrown to the ground."

In doing this, I have followed the instructions given to me by the nobleman I respect the most, who is greater in martial virtue than any other I know, and who is more deserving of my book because of his nobility than any other nobleman I could ever meet, namely, the illustrious and most excellent noble, the all-powerful prince, Sir Nicolo, Marquis of Este, Lord of the noble cities of Ferrara, Modena, Reggio, Parma and others, to whom may God grant long life and future prosperity, and victory over all of his enemies. Amen.

The Flower of Battle Fiore dei Liberi ~ 1409

An excellent book, translated from Fiore's Italian and rearranged for easy reference.

It presents unarmed fight, short staff fight, dagger fight, spear fight, sword fight, it has that feel of jiu-jitsu treatise, as it shows sword passes turning into arm locks.

The only shields in sight are right at the beginning of the "fighting on horseback" section, which soon turns into "grappling on horseback". Ouch.