A surprise guest instructor at Academie Duello - Marco Quarta

This morning we had the distinct pleasure of hosting Marco Quarta an instructor from Nova Scrimia for an impromptu instructor workshop. Marco showed up spontaneously in our doorway last week while in town meeting with the Italian Consulate and we roped him into showing us some of how his organization approaches the Italian martial arts.

Today's workshop focused primarily on an Italian stick fighting tradition that has developed both from Bolgonese fighting sources such as Manciolino and Marozzo as well as classical fencing and the teachings of Italian fencing masters from the 1800s. This is a living tradition in Italy that has many swordplay analogues as well as its own internal techniques and stylings. I very much enjoyed Marco's energetic teaching style, his precision with the techniques, and the pace of the class.

We learend a twelve step assalto of blows and defences that incorporated much of the footwork of the system (advancing steps, passing steps, sbassi, inquartata steps, and volte). We then worked into some fundamental actions that involved defences through hanging guards (similar to scottish backsword parries), parries through advoidance (leans or fades of the body), voids of the leg, and ducks or drops (sbasso). It was a fast paced crash course and very enjoyable.

After the main workshop was complete Marco gave a very fast work through the unarmed system that they practice at Nova Scrimia which incorporated unarmed techniques starting at Fiore, progressing through the Bolognese schools of the 1500s, through to Venetian Pugilism and up to 1950s Italian wrestling. I see that Nova Scrimia shares many similar ideas to those we have at Academie Duello in our integrated approach between swordplay and wrestling.  Many of Marco's approaches incorporated swordplay principles: "Finding" the arms, crossing lines, responding to pressure. Not that these aren't wrestling ideas in and of themselves but he has a very integrated set of techniques and language between the unarmed and swordwork which speaks of a system with maturity and Marco is a very competent practitioner.

I grabbed a few pics at the end of the workshop when Marco was demonstrating wrestling techniques and a final group photo. We look forward to having Marco up sometime in the near future to do a workshop on the Nova Scrimia approach to unarmed assaults or perhaps more on their system of baton.

If you're in the San Francisco area, Marco is currently working at Stanford and has a small chapter of Nova Scrimia active there.

Marco thank you for sharing your knowledge and your passion!


Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
Read more from Devon Boorman.