Alifer A. (2018). Chto est’ atajo [What is atajo]. Istoricheskoe oruzhievedenie [Weapons History Journal], № 5-6, pp. 5 — 26.

Alifer A.

Abstract: The article is devoted to the term atajo – one of the words used in the Spanish fencing school La Verdadera Destreza. The term can’t be either translated or corresponded with any other one from thesaurus of both different fencing schools and even more so contemporary competitive fencing. Hence atajo can claim being the most complex term in destreza. As a rule in the guidebooks for fencing the word is taken for granted but it the course of time it lost its true meaning which is obscure today.

Analyzing the texts by the Spanish fencing masters like Don Luis Pacheco de Narváez, Dom Diogo Gomes de Figueyredo, Francisco Antonio de Ettenhard y Abarca and others and comparing the information with the contemporary linguistic data the author speculates about the etymology of the term and its possible origin. The method of execution of atajo is discussed separately. The author reconstructs it on the basis of the analyses of the 17th century Spanish treatises on fencing and concludes the atajo to be a word describing a movement permitting a fencer to use the sword in a specific way in order to steer clear from the opponent’s possible attacks. The direct contact with the opponent’s sword is not at all necessary – just holding the sword in a proper position to prevent various ways of attacking by the opponent and trapping him are enough. In case of the direct contact the ideal position of the defender’s sword is above the attacker’s one with contraposition of correspondingly the lower part of the blade to the upper one.

Keywords: fencing, Spanish school of fencing, destreza, La Verdadera Destreza, atajo, rapier.