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Posted April 14, 2013
"Cold Steel" is an excellent book that I quite enjoyed. It is useful for practice in historical fencing. As another reviewer has mentioned, sport fencing has evolved quite a bit, away from its martial roots and some of the parries (e.g. Prime and Seconde) are no longer used by sport fencing. But those are alive and well in historical fencing as are the cuts they are intended to block.
I have the Nook eBook version and it works well - the format and images are both maintained well.
Posted July 5, 2012
<i>Cold Steel</i> is a book that aims to introduce basic fencer into a wider world. Written in 1889, it explains how to become a better sabre fencer for a world where the possibility of a duel or the use of a sabre in military fighting still existed. That is only half the fun, because the book goes beyond sabre fencing to cover fighting with sticks, daggers, and even unarmed defenses against a dagger.
Hutton writes for readers who already have a basic knowledge of fencing and likely will take a sabre in hand primarily for sport fencing. Nevertheless, he believes that there are other things worth knowing beyond just fencing in a salle or gymnasium. He writes brief chapters on fencing with a sabre against a bayonet and a short sword and talks about how to fight with a large stick, a constable's truncheon or billy club, and how to fight with daggers and disarm someone if you are unarmed. It is a rather complete collection of fighting skills.
A couple of notes of caution are in order. First is that practicing any kind of contact skill, whether it be sports, martial arts, or anything else requires the proper equipment, training, and mindset to be done safely. Hutton himself goes into the equipment necessary. Modern equipment has given us more options, and it should be used.
Second, Hutton's terminology is antiquated and some is even terms he has self-defined. So, if you do try to practice any of this, read everything carefully and do not assume that modern terminology applies.
I would recommend this book to people with an interest in fencing, martial arts, and the history of those subjects.