Ricardo E. Manrique Instruction Brochure

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Dublin Core


Ricardo E. Manrique Instruction Brochure




Brochure and article written by Doctor Thomas A. Buys detailing the history, purpose, and physical benefits of fencing, likely for the purpose of advertising Professor Ricardo E. Manrique fencing instruction. Manrique's experience beginning at the Cercle d'Esgrime de l'Havane (Havana, Cuba) in 1888 through the Columbia Grammar School in 1907 is documented on page nine. On the following page is Manrique's tuition fees for the "Twelfth Season" of 1907-1908.

Brochure begins at page three and may be missing pages or a cover.


Thomas A. Buys ; Ricardo E. Manrique




© Fencing Arms & Artifacts


17.8 x 14.4 cm (closed)







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That fencing is an art, and one that requires a thorough apprenticeship, all swordsmen know, but as this article may come before the eyes of the uninitiated it might be well to go a little into details, so that it -will never occur to them, as it did once to a prominent officer of our National Guard, who, on witnessing a bout with foils, remarked : "What art is there in two fellows jabbing at each other with foils?" To start with, fencing is nota recent discovery but, on the contrary, is centuries old. In the fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was probably at the height of its perfection, for then a lack of knowledge of this interesting art might have meant sudden death. The Spanish originated the best school of sword-play, but it has come to us through various sources, the two recognized ones being the Italian and the French methods, which are as different as are the natures of the country from which they emanate. The Italian is rough and forceful, requiring considerable strength, while the French endeavors to train the hand to the greatest delicacy, so that the faintest impressions are carried to the brain, as if the sword, the arm and body were charged by a highly sensitive electric current, making the muscles and nerves respond instantly and with beautiful co-ordination.

But you will say : "The days for duelling are past, of what use is the sword?" True, the days of chivalry are past ; the sword no longer upholds the honor of family or name its place being superseded by the police court and our legal adviser ; but for all of that, in these days of strenuous games, we almost seek in vain for one, which will in itself combine exercise both mental and physical, and while being generally beneficial, does not dilate the heart, distend the lungs, nor break bones and tear ligaments, as so many of our so-called amusements do. On the contrary, fencing brings into play every part, every organ and every sense in the body, with perhaps the exception of the senses of taste and smell. Yet as an exercise it cannot be called violent, and now that our masks are so improved in construction, cases of injury are very rare.

The object of the game is to score a touch upon your opponent (which means reaching any part of the body above the waist line and below the collar line, arms excepted, with the button of your foil), at the same time protecting yourself. To do this requires a great deal of judgment, as a man on guard is protected in the direct line of attack and you must deceive him absolutely to be successful, leading him to suppose that you will attack him in one line when in reality you intend to strike through another. This in itself requires coolness, self composure and at the same time, decision, accuracy, firmness of hand, keenness of eye, speed and agility, in thrust, lunge and recovery. To perform these properly, the knees must be bent, with the body poised, its weight resting equally on each foot, so that an advance or a retreat may be made with equal facility. The left leg, without rigidity, should be like a coiled spring, ready on the instant to extend to its fullest extent in the lunge.Thus all parts are kept on a constant "qui vive," and as the play is so extremely rapid, and requires the utmost concentration of the mind to avoid unpleasant surprises, this in itself banishes dull care and acts as a rare tonic to the nervous system.

Now to qualify my statement as to its beneficial qualities as a physical exercise. Some say it is too one sided, but the truth is that the left arm is generally the one to become fatigued first, as the dropping of that arm on the lunge and sudden raising of the same on the recovery bring in play all the muscles of the shoulder and many of the neck and back, this tending to expand the chest by raising the ribs and throwing the shoulders back. In the lunge the entire weight of the body is thrown violently forward on the right leg, bringing into play all the muscles of the back and particularly those of the abdomen, causing them to contract in such a manner as to act like massage upon the bowels, regulating them and at the same time reducing any tendency to corpulency in those whose muscles are relaxed and flabby. There is a saying that "It is a poor rule that won't work both ways." This is particularly true of this form of exercise, for many take it to reduce their weight. This it does by increased ingestion of oxygen, which burns up the fat, and by rapid muscular contractions, which rub the fat out from between the muscular fibers. On the other hand with those people who have no fat and are small muscled, the increase in the circulation of their blood carries more nourishment to the muscles, making the individual increase both in weight and size. In my own case, in two seasons of active fencing I increased twenty pounds in weight, while a patient of mine who could not reduce readily by other forms of athletics, found that he decreased two inches around the waist, four around the hips, and ten pounds in weight, during last season. This we can readily understand, from what I mentioned above in the action on the muscles of the legs, back and abdomen.

Fencing, through its high nervous tension, produces deep and rapid respiration, increases the action of the heart without strain, and causes invariably a profuse perspiration, cleansing the pores of the skin of all poisonous matter and acting through muscular contraction and increased circulation on liver and kidneys. Thus we see that apart from the pleasures of the art as a game, we have all the necessities of an all-around exercise, which, without being violent, reaches all the muscles, the excretory and circulatory organs, cleanses and rejuvenates the entire body, and gives a per-son who was nervous and fidgity a firmness and control over their nerves, a keenness of eye and a quick, graceful, erect carriage, which makes walking a pleasure and induces a natural tendency to think and act quickly, frequently saving us from accident.

To many that may think this article extreme I will state that I have seen it repeatedly demonstrated, not only in my own case, but in many others. Of course, I don't think that a person who buys a pair of foils and crosses them upon the wall of their room, will attain any of the benefit I mention, nor will they who take one lesson a week forget where they left the foil until the next lesson ; but those who, when properly instructed, practice daily, making at least one hundred correct hinges against some solid object, will soon perceive the truth of my statement.

Fencing, I believe, has come to stay. Under the supervision of the Amateur Fencers' League of America, whose rules and regulations guide and govern the amateur fencing world, restricting all roughness and promoting good fellow-ship and courtesy in conduct and bout work, making competitions pleasant and insisting upon good form and gentlemanliness, as absolutely essential to a good swordsman, thus the art will become more and more popular, until it takes its place, where it belongs, at the head of the list, the king of all sports.

PROF. RICARDO E. MANRIQUE, from the Cercle d'Escrime de l'Havane, 1888; official instructor at the Gymnastic Club, 1889-1896; The Military Club, 1890-1896; The Progress Club, 1893-1896, at Havana; Fencing Editor of El Figaro, Los Sports, and La Discusion, 1890-1896, Havana; Instructor at the Colon-Cervantes Club, 1886-1899; New York, The New York Normal School of Physical Education, 1899 ; The Dr. Savage Physical Development Institute, 1899 ; Columbia Institute, 1900 ; Nathan Hale School, 1902 ; The Berkeley School, 1902 ; New York Normal College, 1902 ; Professional Woman's League, 1902 ; The Blythe Dramatic School, 1902-1905 ; at Brooklyn Fencers' Club, 1903 ; South Orange Field Club, 1903 ; Lakewood Physical Culture Club, 1903 ; Orange County Club, N. J., 1903 ; Stanhope Wheatcroft Dramatic School, 1905; Barnard College Fencing Club, 1904; Miss De Lancy School for Ladies, 1904, New York; Central Branch Young Men's Christian Association, Brooklyn, 1905 ; The Veltin School for Girls, 1906; Mme. A. E. Zeigler School of Art, 1906; Columbia Grammar School, 1907, New York. Member of the American Physical Education Association. Author of "The Art of Fencing with the Foil," according to the French School, awarded the only medal given for work on Fencing at the Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, 1901.

Owner / Custodian

Loaned for digitization by Benjamin Bowles

Digitization Record

Digitized by Benjamin Bowles ; Cataloged by Benjamin Bowles



Thomas A. Buys ; Ricardo E. Manrique, “Ricardo E. Manrique Instruction Brochure,” Fencing Arms & Artifacts, accessed July 13, 2024, https://fencingexhibit.com/items/show/106.

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