The techniques of the Anonimo Bolognese

A translation and commentary on the largest text on the Bolognese sidesword

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Sometime during the first half of the 16th century an anonymous fencing master recorded his art into written form. The result is the most comprehensive collection of techniques for the Italian Renaissance sidesword used without accomppanying sidearms. After going unnoticed for closer to 500 years the text was finally transcribed and published in 2005. Now, after ten more years the task of bringing the text to life has begun. At you can follow the process of translating the techniques into English and interpreting them as live exercises on video. We welcome you to join us on this path to rediscovering a lost martial art of unparallelled beauty and significance.

Through videos, English translation and Ilkka's commentary this project will unlock the source for you. The project is ongoing, and with a single fee you will have permanent access to the growing amount of translations and videos as the course is being updated.

Course Contents

  Notes on this project
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days after you enroll
  Plays of Spada Sola
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days after you enroll
  Sword and armored gauntlet
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days after you enroll
  Two-handed sword
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days after you enroll

About the instructor

Ilkka Hartikainen
Ilkka Hartikainen

Ilkka Hartikainen discovered historical European martial arts in 2001, studying the techniques of longsword from 15th century manuscripts. In 2007 he shifted his focus on later renaissance styles of swordplay, eventually developing an ever-growing interest in the diverse fencing tradition of 16th century Bologna.

Since then Ilkka has divided his time between his own practice, research on the source material and teaching classes and workshops. He currently teaches regularly in Helsinki, where he is the head instructor of the EHMS Fencing Association.

Frequently traveling across the world to speak or to give tailored workshops, Ilkka has made it his mission to spread the knowledge of 16th century Italian martial arts. Currently multiple groups in Finland follow Ilkka’s method of teaching the system and he is working together with other enthusiasts of Bolognese tradition to truthfully recreate the art. Recently Ilkka has concentrated on creating an accessible core system for the sidesword based on the works of Achille Marozzo, Giovanni dall’Agocchie and the Anonimo Bolognese. From here his focus will shift to the other weapons and disciplines in the texts, looking at the tradition as a unified, complete martial art.

Ilkka is the founder of, a website project dedicated to sharing information on Bolognese fencing. In addition he works as a user interface specialist when not training or teaching swordsmanship.

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
More than a course this is an ongoing project, that will be finished when all the content of the Anonimo Bolognese is added. While it would be cool, if all of the book was translated and videoed already, this is not the case and I don't want to keep you waiting until all of that is done. Instead you will be seeing new content added as you keep checking back! With a one-off single time fee.
How long do I have access to the course?
You will have unlimited access to the contents. The content will not be intentionally removed nor will your access be revoked.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund. You can also let us know, what we could do to make you change your mind.
What is the Anonimo Bolognese?
Anonimo Bolognese is how we call the manuscripts MS 345 and MS 346 held at the Biblioteca Classense in Ravenna. These manuscripts are the notes of an anonymous fencing master, written sometime during the 16th century and describing the use of all manners of weapons included in the martial arts of the time.
What are the abbreviations used in the translations?
I have decided to abbreviate the names of the guard positions. To learn what the abbreviations mean, check
Why is there not a transcription of the original text?
I do not currently have a possibility to publish a transcription. However there are references to both the original pagination of the manuscripts and a page reference to the published transcription, L’Arte Della Spada, that you can order from Il Cerchio Editore.

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