Serbian Military Sabre

Serbian Military Fencing (or:Damnjanovic Fencing System) is a reformed military saber fencing method of the Kingdom of Serbia from the period prior to 1918. This method is defined in 2004 by Mr Dejan Damnjanovic, a Serbian fencing coach, after several years of his research on the fencing methodology of the Serbian Royal Army. This system is pragmatic, combat effective, and in certain didactical elements influenced by the experience of Mr Damnjanovic from some other military fencing traditions, like Toyama Ryu Iaido and Nakamura Ryu Battodo.


The equipment used for Damnjanovic Fencing System is the same as in sport fencing and it includes: fencing mask, sabre, jacket and glove. The only difference are the trousers – they are black. For the test cutting is used the real infantry saber.


The basic technical characteristics of this system and the ones in which it differs from the sport sabre fencing are: the grip of the weapon, the footwork, the preparation for the cut and the test cutting training. The grip of the weapon is firmer compared to the grip in sport sabre. The reason for this lies in the idea of elimination or disabling of the adversary, and not in scoring the point. The footwork is not only forward and backwards, but in all directions since the real context implies the necessity of moving in different angles. The preparation for the cut is done with the full motion of the shoulder in which the weapon is above the head and not only with the wrist and fingers as in the sport sabre. The older military saber methods from the period prior to Giuseppe Radaelli’s reform from the middle of 19. century, included the preparation for the cut from the shoulder since the aim was the elimination of the adversary. After Radaelli, and some other great masters like Luigi Barbasetti and Italo Santelli, the preparation for the cut gradually became smaller, and almost completely disappeared from the modern sport sabre. An important didactical element of Serbian Military Fencing is the test cutting performed with the real weapon. The purpose of this is improvement of the technique of the cut. The targets are made of straw and are sinked in water in order to have the hardness and humidity of the living target.


The technical curriculum of Serbian Military Fencing includes several groups of techniques: the basic drills, the applied technique (offensive, defensive and overtaking), test cutting, the forms (sabre vs sabre, sabre vs bayonet) and the additional technique (leg throws, punches, etc).