Richard Cullinan, sword expert

Richard Cullinan

@ Stoccata School of Defence, Australia

Richard Cullinan first formally studied fencing in 1997 under Peter Linich, Maestro di Scherma. Building on this classical foundation, he branched out into historical fencing systems, and is now the leading researcher and exponent of Renaissance Italian fencing systems within Australia, and recognised internationally for his research in Bolognese swordsmanship.

Richard primarily teaches courses in Bolognese swordsmanship and Italian rapier, and occassionally teaches classes in spadone. He has also qualified as an Instructor at Arms in Classical Italian School fencing through the Fencing Masters Certificate program at Sonoma State University, California USA.

He has given seminars in most major cities of Australia and New Zealand, as well as in the USA.  Richard’s research is available online through his personal website,

This year Richard will be teaching

Bolognese Polearms – an introduction
Instructor: Richard Cullinan, Stoccata School of Defence
Weapons covered: partisan, ronca, speido and javelin
Equipment requirements: Mask, gloves (padded gloves recommended, pole / staff of around 2.4 – 2.7 m
Required Experience: Beginner students

The treatises of Antonio Manciolino (Opera Nova, 1531) and Achille Marozzo (Opera Nova, 1536) both provide detailed instruction on the use of polearms such as partisan, ronca, speido and javelin. These weapons are all taught using a common framework with small variations in their use due to the different polearm heads. This class will focus on the common actions for all polearms, with some brief exploration of how the differing polearm types may be used.

An Introduction to Bolognese Fencing
Instructor: Richard Cullinan, Stoccata School of Defence
Weapons covered: sword, dagger
Equipment requirements: Mask, gloves sword (34″-37″ blade length), and a dagger simulator. Fencing jacket and forearm protection recommended.
Required Experience: Beginner students

Bolognese fencing is a system built around the art of provocation, so that the fencer can hit their opponent in safety without being hit. This class will focus on the use of the single handed sword to explore the various provocations described by Manciolino and Marozzo in their treatises; and how we can use them successfully. We will also round out the class with some work with the use of the Bolognese dagger as described by Marozzo, showing how these provocation principles are universal in Bolognese fencing across all weapons.