The “Jogo do Pau Português” better known as “Esgrima Lusitana” is a genuinely Portuguese martial art dedicated to combat with sticks.
It is also a national cultural heritage, whose origin goes back to the handling of medieval weapons, as our King D. Duarte I shows us in his book “Ensinança de Bem Cavalgar em Toda a Sela”. In this document it is possible to verify the technical and tactical equality of the handling of the sword and the stick, that passed from generation to generation until our days.
Preserved in the popular tradition, in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, there were still frequent throughout the country, but with emphasis on the region “minho”, the fighting with wood sticks in the fairs and pilgrimages that sometimes involved whole villages. In Lisbon at the beginning of the twentieth century a style of sports characteristics began to be practised in clubs such as the “Ginásio Clube Português”, the “Lisboa Ginásio Clube” and the Ateneu Comercial de Lisboa.
Currently, this Portuguese fencing, in addition to its martial and personal defence characteristics (in its most practical form – the baton), is also in the form of a competitive sport, in which synthetic material is used in order to preserve the physical integrity of practitioners, making it very attractive especially for the young, and has therefore been included in the national Physical Education programs of the schools.
The “Federação Nacional do Jogo do Pau Português”, created in 1998, has the mission of developing the study, practice, promotion of the Jogo do Pau (Esgrima Lusitana) as a traditional Portuguese art, as well as preserving a national cultural heritage that has internationally recognized valued.
At the moment the Federation is governed by the technical program of the “Saint Contestable School”, the most complete at national level.