Make the Cut: Sabre Fencing For Adults

$29.00$89.00 inc. GST

This is the book that sums up everything we know about sabre.

Update: Books have arrived and pre-orders have been signed and dispatched. Any remaining copies will be available for purchase until stocks run out.

Update: Hardcover edition sold out, sorry!

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SKU: SSCB1 Category:


Update: Books have arrived and pre-orders have been signed and dispatched. Any remaining copies will be available for purchase until stocks run out.

This is the book that sums up everything we know about sabre. John wrote it in the lead-up to the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020. He wasn’t supposed to publish it, for reasons, until after the Tokyo Olympics. Fortunately for him, COVID knocked the Olympics back to 2021 (tbc) so he got an extra year to fix up the typos, conceptual and otherwise.

For those of you who stumbled onto this page by mistake, this book is partly a manual, partly a history, and partly a memoir about sabre fencing, one of the last direct descendants of European swordfighting. It is a combat skill that first became a martial art with the advent of guns in the 18th century, then a competitive sport with the birth of the Olympic Games in 1896. The sabre itself has changed dramatically over the centuries, as its wielders have evolved to adapt to new situations, tactics, and strategies. But at its core, sabre fencing remains the same: a simulation of lethal combat at close quarters.

This book is about how professional fencers think and fight almost superhumanly fast. It is about how modern masters teach people to become — or defeat — these superhumans, and how the rules of fencing have evolved so that people can play this game of swords without killing each other. It is also about the enduring myths that shape those who fence and teach sabre, often to their detriment, and the biomechanical and psychological tricks that fencers use to push their bodies to their physiological limits. And how all this came to be, in a martial tradition that masquerades as a sport so that it could survive in a world where swords are obsolete.

Who is this John person to write this book? John is a nobody. A nobody who started sabre fencing as an adult, got hooked, then got dragged down the slippery slope into the world of professional swordsmen, international intrigues, and — most painful of all — founding the only fencing club dedicated to teaching adults how to fence sabre. On the far side of the world from where most of the sport was located. That’s how, in large part, so many great fencers and coaches ended up helping John in his madcap quest. This book is as much about their stories as it is about sabre and him.

That might explain why we’re not putting the book into wide circulation before July 2021.

In any case, we’re not putting the book into wide circulation anyway. This is totally a vanity press job. We’ve ordered the minimum print run of 500 copies: 50 folios, 450 paperbacks. The folios are mostly going as gifts to friends who have helped us along the way, most of whom are mentioned in one form or another in the book. The paperbacks are just to fill out the order and maybe pay for the print run. There are two versions of the paperback because our very talented cover designer made two for us to choose from, and we couldn’t pick, so we’ll just randomly grab one for you when you order. If you order two, we’ll try to include one of each.

We’ll ship the thing anywhere we have to ship it anyway for our folio friends. Fortunately, (unfortunately?) that means just about everywhere excluding Antarctica and places where we’ve really scandalised people, like Hungary. Hopefully the calculator below will work properly. We have to get a copy to Uganda, after all.

When — if — all the books are sold, who knows? Maybe we’ll print some more. Maybe we’ll shove the thing to a publisher, or Amazon, or get an e-book printed. It’s not about the money anyway. We just wanted something to help us remember this singular period in sabre fencing.

Achtung! This book is full of unpopular opinions, colourful Australian colloquialisms, at least one full-grade swear word that’s only partially censored, and some very not-nice observations about various fencing institutions — not least the Olympics itself. Even the people who are cast in a favourable light receive a light ribbing. Consider this fair warning.

Additional information

Weight 0.6 kg
Dimensions 23 × 14 × 4 cm

Smyth-sewn Case Hardcover, Paperback


Sydney Sabre



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