martes, 17 de enero de 2017

Esgrima Criolla in english (Creole Fencing)

17th century. The Argentinean Pampa, southern zone of America, fertile and belligerent territory, a new race is born, "the gaucho", a mixture of Creole, Indian and Spanish, will be the protagonist of the coming wars, from English invasion, battles for independence, wars with other powers, even their internal wars, and always guarding their border.

An unknown destination, had this Creole, who, if he did not have a ballot (the papers that said that he was a servant (conchabo) in some field), finished of fortinero, or if he refused, he had to go live in the canopies, with the Indians, to live stealing (Maloneando) ...
The gaucho had his values, he respected courage, he always preferred sharp weapons over guns of powder, he did not like to kill unnecessarily, although for fun there was always some fuss, and Don Juan Manuel de Rosas prohibited the carrying of the knife on holidays and Sundays, for something was ...

Facon Vs Dagger, Circa 1880 .
In this panorama Creole fencing was well-developed, a fencing of knives, duelist, with rules and techniques, with courage and honor, this fencing is developed with a knife, preferably the facon, a knife of an important size, if I am going to fight, I prefer a large one, remembering that the caronero of Juan Moreira, on the average 33 inches, and added a guard in the shape of a "U" for defense and catching the opponent's weapon, and always accompanied by the poncho, inseparable friend of Creole, in the good and In the bad, as a coat and as a defense.

Don’t step on my poncho!!! (Castells Capurro)

How was training? He would fight (“vistear”-nowadays they’d say “sparring”), with a stick in breasts, to mark where he fought, on the field called a “canchada”, which was an imaginary marked area which could not be left or abandoned, and as we said before the gaucho has courage, and did not back down, and fight one-to-one in duel form. Two-on-one was not allowed, we remember Martin Fierro, as Cruz doesn’t allow a kill of the brave, and as a good creole, join Fierro.



Among his strikes (knife attacks) we can name several, the hachazo (a strike from above down to the head), bajatripas (to open up the belly), but the best known is the planazo, the blow given with the flat of the blade in the sesera (a blow designed to humiliate, it is as if they “wet your ear” or taught one a lesson). They had combined techniques of facon (big knife) and poncho, since with the poncho they could give flecazo (flick to the face), ponchazo (downward strikes) and the famous manteada, a technical and vigorous blow, capable of disarming the more feisty creoles and only realized with the poncho.

The duel...first blood o a dead...
The duel could be to the death, to first blood, to accommodate some daring little man or for satisfaction, but what if, he liked to fight, a rough life. If he did not want to kill, he would allow for retreat, and if the thing would turn out, he would accept, and then it would be over.


The gaucho did not like to kill in duel, it’s said that if he had an ugly wound in his belly, it was a slow death, (today we know that the wound was infected and without antibiotics, so this was how he died), others, when things were bad, in the grandeur of values to the gaucho, he did the holy work, and dispensed of the unfortunate, a kind of euthanasia.
This tradition wasn’t lost, it still exists, obviously it went through many facets, through its evolution, and different forms were developed in every corner of our extensive gaucha land, incorporating obviously to the Charrúas lands, and Rio Grande do Sul, all territories where there are gauchos! Here, a picturesque type of fencing was Esgrima Porteña or Maleva, which occurred on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, in the time of the tango, handsome men and “taitas” (thug), this creole used the tongue, funyi (20's Hat '), and as always courage and manhood, and the Creole duels continued throughout the beginning of the twentieth century.

Knife fight in the suburbs (arrabales).

In reality this discipline continues, keeping its technique and its norms, taking care that it’s faithful to its origin and technical etymology, but with another addition: the historical revision in the use of gaucho weapons, from the technical area to the practical area. When we speak of weapons, we are citing all his knives like the facon, caronero dagger, as well as the chuza (spear), boleadoras (bolos) and poncho; it’s fundamental to understand the historical context, to understand and value these arts that made our history.
Another area is for sport, in which competition is used in Esgrima Criolla, with the facon and the poncho (with a training knife as well as protection, gloves and headgear). There have already been numerous tournaments, seminars and competitions, practiced with different methods of the verijero (shorter knife), facon (long knife) & poncho, caronero & poncho and as well the areas of projectile weapons, boleadoras (bolos) and chuza (spear). Targets are utilized, in the case of the boleadoras, where different forms of throwing are used, one of them utilized like the gauchos of Güemes, instead of holding it from the handle, it was held from the center and throwing the three balls first, thereby creating a barrage of boleadoras, that wreaked havoc on the royalist troops, and since we achieved the desired target, we no longer have realists to throw… 
The Creole fencing has gained a prestige beyond our borders, is seen US , in Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, to name a few places, is considered one of the best for dueling, in Argentina it has the recognition and endorsement of the Government of the Province of Buenos Aires, certifying it of interest. And without anyone else who wants to dress or join, draw your knife!!!

Today a sport, or a fighting art.



Written by Jorge Prina and Darren DP Friesen

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