Sometimes people don’t take the right precautions. They leave the house without thinking of their defense, and they pay for it with their lives. I’ve seen it happen. It didn’t have to. If they had know how to use their art right, they could have saved themselves.

Which is one way of reading the introduction to Marozzo’s “Presas” knife defense section. Or maybe “These guys where stupid enough to leave the house without their swords and died. Didn’t have to, let me show you how…” Swap handgun for sword and you have what sounds like the start of a modern self-defense article.

Marozzo’s knife defense work is very overlooked, somewhat unfairly I think. Not without reason. The layout and presentation don’t really work for modern students, and self-defense is a pretty rare part of the usual HEMA/WMA curriculum. Can’t win a tournament with these techniques, that’s for sure. And martial artists from other styles don’t even know who Marozzo is.

Weekend after next at the Vancouver International Swordplay Symposium, I’ll be teaching a three hour workshop on Marozzo’s knife work. It’s not going to be your usual HEMA workshop.

It’s my intention to offer up a method of understanding Marozzo that will useful for modern military, police and security personnel. To this end, I’ve reworked the presentation of techniques to allow them to fit better into a “file folder” mindset. With correct training and practice, you should be able to access the right technique in the right situation.

We are going to start by building up a body language and reflex that lets us recognize and cope with lethal threats, and then we explore some of the spaces that occur in Marozzo’s teachings. We will lump these together so trainees can shorten their decision loops…and then we will test the techniques out under pressure.

Of course, there are 22 total techniques in the system, so you should not expect to walk out with a working system. It’s my hope that trainees will walk out of this workshop with a solid understanding of how the techniques should be used in general, take that understanding home to their own training environment, and then pick and chose what to specialize on in their own training curriculum with the ability to add on for those who show competency. Marozzo in this method should be an excellent seed to add to or replace existing knife-defense methods.

Those of you who are interested in Marozzo outside of such environments might enjoy seeing how we approached re-purposing historical methods for modern needs. You will also learn some very interesting self-defense techniques, and hopefully gain some more love for one of the great ancient masters.

It’s going to be a great class. I’m really excited for the opportunity to teach some of this material outside of Valkyrie for the first time.