Sweat and Blood: Swordsmanship and sabre in Fribourg - by Mathijs Roelofsen and Dimitri Zufferey (APD6/2)

pp. 103-123

Abstract – Following a long mercenary tradition, Switzerland had to build in the 19th century its own military tradition. In Cantons that have provided many officers and soldiers in the European Foreign Service, the French military influence remained strong. This article aims to analyze the development of sabre fencing in the canton of Fribourg (and its French influence) through the manuals of a former mercenary (Joseph Bonivini), a fencing master in the federal troops (Joseph Tinguely), and an officer who became later a gymnastics teacher (Léon Galley). These fencing manuals all address the recourse to fencing as physical training and gymnastic exercise, and not just as a combat system in a warlike context.

Keywords – Sabre, Fribourg, Valais, Switzerland, fencing, contre-pointe, bayonet