Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Sports-Spanish: A Brief History of Fencing.

[Adapted from Fencing by Raúl Guerrero, Encyclopedia Latina: History, Culture, and Society In the United States]

Fencing is a deeply rooted Hispanic symbol. The sword and the cross were the symbols of the Spanish conquest of the New World, which gave birth to what Mexican writer José Vasconcelos called the “Cosmic Race,” the fusion of the European and the Native Americans. The legendary masked swordsman Don Diego de la Vega, known as Zorro, further promoted fencing as an exalted symbol of the Hispanic character, a man who weaves together Spanish and California history to form a new a prototype.

Fencing = esgrima.
Deeply rooted = profundamente arraigado.
Sword and cross = la espada y la cruz.
Swordsman = espadachín.
Who weaves = quien entreteje.

Spanish conquistadors introduced to the United States in the 16th century the classical Spanish school la destreza, which was based on geometry and philosophy. La destreza can be translated as a high art and skill. Thousands of years ago fencing originated as the practice of swordsmanship in preparation for duels or warfare. A fencing match is depicted on an Egyptian temple dating to about 1190 B.C. The ancient Babylonians, Greeks, Persians and Romans also practiced some form of fencing.

Skill = destreza, habilidad.
Warfare = la guerra, el conflicto armado.
Match = un encuentro, un partido, un duelo, una competición.
Depicted = mostraba.

Modern fencing started in the 16th century, when Italian Fencing Master Achile Morozzo, influenced by the Renaissance, developed a scientific method. The weapon used was a Spanish four-foot dress sword, la espada ropera. The Spanish word ropera, “clothing,” became rapier in English. Rapier fencing spread from Spain and Italy to northwest Europe. Fencing became a game of skill that improved the fencer’s health, poise, and mental fitness. It was considered analogous to chess. But soon it degenerated into dueling, which grew like an epidemic throughout Europe during the 17th century. Dueling claimed the lives of so many talented young men that fencing’s reputation declined to the point that Cardinal Richelieu, France’s de facto rule, issued an edict banning it around 1630.

Game = juego

Developed = desarrolló, diseño, se inventó.
Weapon = el arma.
Mental fitness = condicionamiento mental.
Chess = ajedrez.
Issued = decretó.
Banning = prohibiendo.

In the 18th century, treatises appeared establishing the current system of rules and scoring that prescribed the use of a metal mask and protective jacket. Fencing became an Olympic sport when the games resumed in 1880.

Treatises = tratados.
Rules = reglas.
Scoring = marcas, sistema de marcar. To store = anotar.
Sport = deporte.

Fencing is the skill of attack and defense using foil, epée or saber. The target area is from the bend of the hips to the top of the head, simulating a cavalry rider on a horse. Fencing, more than any other sport (excepting soccer, of course), captures the essence of one side of the Hispanic character. And the popularity of fencing as a symbol of the Hispanic heritage continues to flourish, as evidenced by the continuing production of movies, television series, comic books, and literature about the masked Zorro.

Saber = sable.
Target area = el blanco, el área de blanco.
Hips = caderas.
Top of the head = la parte superior de la cabeza.
Cavalry rider = un caballero, un jinete.
Heritage = herencia.
Masked = el enmascarado.

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