Prima Spada Has Arrived in Townsville

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Karla Destéfani
Bachelor of Arts English Literature/Design and Creative Arts | Archive

The Prima Spada School of Fencing launched a Salle in Townsville on May the 31st. Lachlan Bailey, a Swordsman Diestro, is the head coach.

Prima Spada at History Live,  Image source: Prima Spada

The Prima Spada School of Fence was established in 1995 by the Maestro Keith Beattie. Lachlan explained the syllabus is “based on a combination of modern and ancient fencing techniques to display realistic renaissance combat for sport and enjoyment of an audience.”

The school specialises in historical exhibition combat, Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA), smallsword and artistic fencing (fully choreographed swordplay for stage and film) . A range of weaponry is used, including rapier, side sword, two-handed sword, and small sword. The Townsville Salle is running classes each Monday at the Townsville Show Grounds. Training starts at 6.30pm, beginning with the main historical exhibition class (contact Prima Spada for information on specifics and costs). The school aims to communicate the historical context behind the swordplay. The Prima Spada site has historical information on the weapons used.

Lachlan said, “We aim to give students the terminology to express their actions, provide reference to ancient masters of the past, and demonstrate the anatomy of a duel.”

The school accepts students aged 15 and above. Lachlan explained, “Prima Spada is run as a martial arts school and follows concepts and traditions that would be familiar to those who study Eastern Martial Arts. We have a total of 10 ranks, including ‘stripes’, which are levels you must reach before reaching our highest rank, Swordsman Diestro, which usually takes ten plus years.” Those just starting will fall under ‘Beginner’, and as they continue, they will gain titles such as ‘Novice’ and ‘Scholar’. Each rank has a coloured sash that sits around the waist.

The Townsville Salle is unsure of what appearances they may make in 2021. Their community liaison is looking into the Culture Fest, Townsville Show, and visiting schools to provide demonstrations. Lachlan said that they are happy to go to any event and spread the joy of Prima Spada.  

Lachlan’s favourite event is the yearly Abbey Medieval Festival. The Prima Spada Salles from Ipswich, North Brisbane, South Brisbane, Deloraine, and now Townsville, gather in South Queensland to put on a three-day performance for the public.  

“It is fun to be there with the entire school,” Lachlan said.

“Watching everyone fence together is amazing to see. Especially with the uniforms, it looks spectacular.”

Simon Boman has captured multiple Prima Spada appearances on his Youtube channel. Events include the 2018 Abbey Festival, where he filmed the action and a behind the scenes video where Prima Spada students answer the question, “What is your tip for Beginners in Fencing?”

Lachlan was the previous head coach at the Sunshine Coast Salle. He began thinking about developing Townsville’s Salle in April 2020 after he moved. The pandemic caused a year-long wait, but in 2021 plans began moving along quickly. He explained starting up the Townsville Salle involved a lengthy conversation with the founder of the school, Maestro Keith Beattie to receive approval, and another discussing the Salle with two head coaches who manage the Salles in Brisbane and Ipswich.. Afterwards, it only took a couple months to find a venue. He has also been running small gatherings for students to spend time doing self-directed practise Sunday mornings. 

“We’re excited to bring Prima Spada to Townsville. People tend to become passionate quickly,” Lachlan said.

Lachlan Bailey  Image source: Prima Spada

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