Historical background

Montante is the name of the two-handed sword that appeared on the Iberian peninsula (today known as Portugal and Spain) during the end of the 15th century and was in use until the 17th century. It was the foundation of the local fencing culture and a symbol of prestige for the fencing master that held it. The Montante was only used on foot and most often outside of formations on the battlefield. It was praised as the perfect weapon for a lone fencer to fight against many assailants. The prominence of the Montante declined as the rapier overtook it in the 17th century and it eventually became little more than a curiosity.

Our training is based on the Spanish manual written by Domingo Luis Godinho in the year 1599. It contains diverse scenarios for defending both oneself and others in different contexts against a varying number of opponents. We also include bits and pieces from other sources for support and variation.

As a partner course on Wednesdays we also practice Jogo do Pau, which is a contemporary Portuguese martial art with staffs. The use of the staff is so close to the Montante that they’re a perfect complement to each other. If you’re interested in learning more about this please contact the instructor.

The class

Between 18.00-21.00 on Mondays we hold combined practice with Jogo do Pau at the Kirseberg school. We have no split between advanced or beginner students.

Equipment and skill requirements

There is no requirement of previous skill or knowledge to participate in the class. Anyone is welcome to join at any time during the term, but be prepared for some added difficulty if you join late.

Starting out there is no equipment requirement for beginners but eventually we want everyone to have a practice sword of their own (alternatively a staff). A cup or similar is also recommended to have.

The vision for the group

The nearest goal for the group can vary between terms but the main goal is always for the students to learn and better their handling of the weapon and the scenarios described in the manuals, along with a few more.

Practical application

The Montante is a large sword that demands control and experience from the user. It is fast, powerful and with a long reach that gives it an advantage against smaller weapons. Unlike the other weapon types practiced in our club the Montante was rarely used for duels and, as such, the goal of the weapon is usually to solve a given situation instead of defeating an opponent in direct combat.

Below you can find links to our interpretations and other information that you need to safely practice historical fencing.