Sicilian Martial Arts - the Paranza of Grand Master Raffaele Irmino

September 12, 2015

 

I already started to introduce some of the martial arts of Apulia, and I will return to this soon. Today, to continue with our series on traditional living Italian martial arts, I want to start introducing some of the Sicilian martial arts, their masters and our friends. 

 

Please let me introduce Gran Maestro Raffaele Irmino, from Siracusa, Sicily, Italy. 

 

Maestro Irmino inherited the Sicilian school of stick fencing, called Paranza, of the area of Siracusa, and other south of Italy traditions of knife. 

 

I want to thank you, Master Irmino, for sharing with me your history and for shipping me your writings. It was an honor that I greatly appreciated it. I am going to translate here a micro abstract from from his biography for our friends who read. 

 

Master Irmino started at a very young age in wrestling and grappling methods with his brother and other friends, training in a room where carton boards were replacing mats and tatami. 

 

When he was 15 years old, he had to work his way to slowly be accepted and initiated to the Art of Siracusa of stick, by a fellow of a local Master. However the school were closed and reserved only to the honored ones. It took a long time for him to finally being accepted by the "capobastone" (the head master, literally the chief of the stick) and being initiated to the practice, rituals and the tradition. The teachings were every Saturday and Sunday "Spunta o non spunta il sole" (rising the Sun or not), and happened in secret places such as fields, valleys, caves, abandoned and ancient buildings. 

 

After that, he will start to be in touch with other masters, until, in 1973 with a friend, he opened his first school of Paranza (Sicilian method of stick fencing) in Siracusa, after completing his studies with Master Tomarchio. This will put him in touch with many other masters. 

 

He eventually met Master Violante or "Zio Ciccio detto sigaretta" (uncle Cicco [generally from Francesco, like Cisco from Francisco] called "sigaretta" (cigarette). It turned our that Zio Ciccio learned from Zio Michele, or was Gran Master Trimigno (the grandfather of my good friend Master Luciano Trimigno, who I already previously introduced here). Master Irmino started to travel, introduced by his Master Violante, to Manfredonia in Apulia, to meet the Trimigno Family. He started his contacts and friendship with the Trimigno family and the schools of Manfredonia, sharing "tirate" (assaults or fight), techniques and the culture of the "corpo di society'" (body of the society). Manfredonia and Siracusa became then more connected, and these two cities hosted the Maters fro both sides over the years. A friendship that grew and strengthen over time until present time. Eventually, for his practice, honor and merit, Master Irmino was recognized as "Cavaliere d'Umilita'" (Knight of Humility). 

 

Over the years, older Masters who thought to Master Irmino passed away, such as Maestro Violante, Maestro De Simone, and other older "tiratori" such as Duco Luigi (u cropper), Turidduzzu, Mummu, Cicciu Funtana. This moved the society of Siracusa to a phase of sleep, and Master Irmino decided to close the school. 

Until today. When Italian Martial Arts are emerging on the surface once again, from their phase of hiding, back to the light (before moving again in the underground for their next phase of shadow)..

 

Grazie Maestro Raffaele per aver condiviso con me i tuoi scritti e la tua storia. Arrivederci a presto, e porgo i miei più sentiti omaggi. 

 

In the video, Master Raffaele Irmino and Master Luciano Trimigno, are sharing a friendship "tirata" together, at the Castle of Soncino in Italy in 2014.

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