Syllabus Structure

Our syllabus is under constant review.  See below for our entire class structure with a summary of each lesson.  We have also linked to some of our course content for those who have asked for additional aids to learning. If using our course content please consider:

  • The video content was originally recorded for use by instructors and the class note and translation content for those who have attended class.  Minor errors such as a footwork may exist.
  • The translations were originally produced as a quick google-translate summary of the theory covered in class, as drills are easy to copy without words but theory can be more challenging.  Feel free to strip out the Chinese and replace with your own language.  The English half can be used by English speakers as a simple summary of the lesson’s theory.
  • The content was never intended to be stand-alone, without classes, and we do not recommend it as a sole guide to learning
  • For more in-depth study, we recommend “From the Page to the Practice: Fundamentals of Spanish Swordplay by Puck Curtis, & Mary Dill Curtis”, available as an ebook. This is our major English-language source for interpretation of La Vedadera Destreza, and we highly recommend it.
  • The content is provided for those who want it:  you can pass a BSIS assessment without ever using it, so if this kind of learning is not for you, you can feel comfortable navigating away now.

We have made available to date our class notes and our instructor training videos.  These slot into the following syllabus structure:


  • Covers  our school, the HEMA community, how to handle a sword, and some La Verdadera Destreza basics such as some footwork and the atajo and thrust, so that a beginner can slot into any Novice class running the following week.


Novice Class Notes, see here.

Novice Instructor training videos, see here.

Novice lesson theory translations to Chinese, in pdf form for ease of reading, see here.  In Word document form so that you can correct the Chinese or translate to your own language, see here.  Beginner is also included.

Novice – Lesson 0 Start of Term

  • A revision of beginner and extra concepts.  The student should understand what La Verdadera Destreza is and where it came from.  How to hold a rapier, stand at right-angle and set a good defensive distance.  They should recognise Pacheco’s circle as a fundamental of Destreza.  Understand the terms for inside and outside line and fingernail position.  Recognise safe way to carry the sword. And the safety precautions built into the weapons we use. Be aware of minimum protective ware training.  The student should understand the importance of footwork to Destreza.  The advantage of stepping off the line. Understand to counter straight steps with curved.

Novice – Lesson 1  Deleted

Novice – Lesson 2 Atajo & Thrusts

  • Teach the three components of an atajo. Attack with control of the opponent.
    Every attack has a defence.

Novice – Lesson 3 Scholars Privilege & Liberate to Strike

  • The student should understand the need to limit techniques in Scholars’ privilege (fencing with eye protection and without masks).  Demonstrate the simple options in scholars’ privilege and the need to lose to maintain technique and safety.  Know when to thrust with absence of blade vs with opposition. Understand the passive resistance defence to a thrust and why finishing the thrust is a bad idea.

Novice – Lesson 4 Rada Circle

  • Use Rada’s maximal orb to practice continuous actions. Work all the items learnt so far dynamically and continually. Speak about how to be a good instructor.  Only giving exact cues.

Novice – Lesson 5 Circle Cut & Reverse & Atajo defence

  • The student should be able to deliver a full cut using a circular motion to the opposite line, in both directions. Know when to do a cut, know how to retreat to a defence if needed.  Know how to catch a cut with an atajo.  Use a curve step to circle cut/reverse in response to an attack. Use a transverse to apply circle cut/reverse in response to pressure. Apply the atajo as a defence against a cut/reverse.

Novice – Lesson 6 Novice Half Cut Half Reverse & Transfer

  • The student should be able to deliver a full cut using a circular motion to the opposite line, in both directions. Using a transverse. Know how to brute force break a shallow atajo. Know how to deliver a circle cut to the same line.  Know how to avoid brute force in a good Transfer (via decrease then increase of strength).

Novice – Lesson 7 GOTTA Games & Scholars Privilege

  • Using the “Got to” game of drawing random attack cards, the student should be able to the components of an attack and assess which counter to apply at an appropriate time.  Cause the student to think about new and varied ways to apply the limited technique set.  Ensure all students are authorised for Scholars Privilege (SP) combat in a short time after starting at BSIS. SP is our version of combat using protective glasses rather than masks, so that head is not a target.  Also do the variation of the puck drill…(thrust and circle cut).


Apprentice Class Notes, see here.

Apprentice Instructor training videos, see individual lessons below.

Apprentice lesson theory translations to Chinese, in pdf form for ease of reading, see here.  In Word document form so that you can correct the Chinese or translate to your own language, see here.

Apprentice – Lesson 1 Destreza Thinking, App half cut.

  • The student should know how to deliver a half-cut and a half-reverse to the appropriate targets, should understand how to read blade pressure. We no longer require the dropping of the tip used in Novice cuts/Reverses/half-cuts/half-reverses.  Yield to strong pressure, liberate from weak pressure and complete with firm pressure. Know the Destreza way to break things by actions and counter each action.  Counter slower (2 movement), actions with faster (1 movement).  Know the complete Puck Drill to practice all the basic attacks and defences.
  • Instructor training videos, see here.

Apprentice – Lesson 2 Generals

  • Line in the Cross, Narrowing, Weak under strong, Weak over Strong.  Teach the four general techniques as written, ease them into thinking about what they are for. Get the actions right, extrapolate next time.
  • Instructor training videos, see here .

Apprentice – Lesson 3 Generals Extended

  • Line in the Cross, Narrowing, Weak under strong, Weak over Strong.  Applying them in combat. Generalise the four General techniques.  Mixed hands, techniques in-the-manner-of generals, etc.

Apprentice – Lesson 4 Circular Thrusts

  • Thrust of the ¼ circle, ½ circle and full circle.  Using drills to become familiar with the techniques.
  • Instructor training videos, see here.

Apprentice – Lesson 5 Combat with Generals and Circle Thrusts

  • Combat with the techniques, and how/when to apply them dynamically. Should understand when “in extremes” will get them killed. Apply foot work in mixed ways to allow techniques.  Review the transfer and try alternate footwork.  The “Shoulda” game where we stop combat at a hit and discuss how we could save the hit fencer.
  • Instructor training videos not yet complete except for the Puck Drill  repeated from lesson 01, see here for lesson 01 exercise 10.

Apprentice – Lesson 6  Expulsions.

  • Expulsions, what they are for, how to do them, how to defend them, how to customise them to hand position.
  • Instructor training videos, see here.

Apprentice – Lesson 7 Conclusions

  • The student should understand the purpose of a movement of conclusion. How they differ from Italian seizures and understand the fundamental principles of the conclusions taught.
  • Instructor training videos, see here

Apprentice – Lesson 8 Conclusions Extension

  • The student should know and be able to execute the three types of conclusion. The student should see the complexity of opponent with mis-matched hand, and use the principles to apply a conclusion.

Apprentice – Lesson9 Theory of Everything

  • Build an understanding that blade pressure signals your appropriate moment to launch an attack and which attack to launch.  Discuss exectuive/dispositive,  reading blade pressure before launching attack.  Hand out random cards with various techniques, ask students to decide what blade pressure applies.  Test suggestions with Rada circle.
  • Instructor training videos, see here

Apprentice – Lesson10 Step-to-middle

  • lesson in process of being written

Apprentice – Lesson 11  Countering common and vulgar

  • Destreza thinking by parts and its approach to foreign styles.

Apprentice – Lesson12 Combat Readiness

  • Use a variety of “games” (e.g. no thrusts) to practice moving under pressure.  Cause dispositions for the action you desire.


We are still in the process of updating the website for our scholar syllabus.