Interview with Guy Windsor: Veni Vadi Vici

Guy Windsor’s Veni Vadi Vici is an annotated transcription and translation of De Arte Gladiatoria Dimicandi, written by Filippo Vadi sometime between 1482 and 1487.

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Filippo Vadi

Although different, Vadi’s work appears to be based on Fiore’s earlier work. Do you feel that Vadi has done some “copy paste” from Fiore’s manual? What things are the most similar between Vadi and Fiore?

– There are several passages which are word-for-word identical between Vadi’s treatise and at least one version of Fiore’s (there are four that we know of). These tend to be in places where the text is a mnemonic verse, such as in the guard tutta porta di ferro. So it could be that the similarity between the texts does not come from copying, but repetition of a phrase that was generally associated with that guard.

We also find some major similarities in the organisation of the manuscripts, and the specific content of some sections (sword in armour, spear, and axe, for instance). The fundamentals of the art do appear very similar.

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What new things does Vadi provide that Fiore doesn’t?

– To start with, Vadi gives us a gigantic amount of theory, in 16 verse chapters. This alone is priceless. He also shows us what to do with a longer sword, and provides a key link between Fiore and the later Bolognese system.

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Guy Windsor

“I WRITE BOOKS TO LEARN AS MUCH AS TO TEACH”

It has been suggested that Vadi’s style represents a transitional phase between Fiore and the later Bolognese masters. Do you think so?

– For a full answer to that, please refer to my article, here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/104396013/Vadi-Guards

I have understood that you found that there is a connection to German style longsword in Vadi’s manual?

– Not exactly. There is no evidence that Vadi had any exposure to the Liechtenauer tradition (though it is likely); but his work, because it uses a longer sword than Fiore’s, as does the German style, has some similar techniques, which puzzled Fiore scholars by their absence from his system. You can read my full argument here: http://guywindsor.net/blog/2012/08/size-matters/

How long time you have researched Vadi for you book?

– I first came across Vadi in about 1998; and in the early days of the school, we used his treatise quite a bit. I went 100% Fiore in 2003, and didn’t really look at Vadi again until January last year. I write books to learn as much as to teach.

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What has been the most difficult part in your research of Vadi?

-Well, some of his language is really tricky, and frankly my Italian is not so good. It got a lot better from working on the translation though.

What have been the finest things for fencing you have found out from Filippo Vadi’s fencing theory?

-Oh, where to start? Firstly, more solutions to the zogho stretto problem; secondly, a lot of really interesting theory, and, how about this?

El te bixogna ancora avere amente
De portar sempre honere altuo maestro
Per che denar non paga tal somente

And you must always keep in mind
To always honour your teacher,
Because money does not repay such a
debt.
(Veni Vadi Vici p 51)

What’s the most important question that I didn’t ask? And your answer to it…

– How about: “where can I get the book?”

You can download Vadi’s treatise in pdf with my translation added, completely free, from here.
And you can buy the ebook as a pdf here.
And as an epub from here.
And the paperback from here.

-Mika-

PS. Read also:
Interview with Guy Windsor: The Fiore Extravaganza (June 19, 2013)
Guy Windsor in Kuopio – outpost of swordsmanship civilisation in the wilds of Finland 24.3.2013 (April 18, 2013)
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