Major János Kevey – the first biography of the fencing master
János Kevey – for years a forgotten master of Polish and Hungarian fencing. He was the one behind the spectacular successes of Polish fencers, led by Jerzy Pawłowski. It is thanks to him that the Polish swordsmanship has reached a world-class level. However, true legends are eternally alive. Aleksandra Karp reminds about Kevey in the first biography of master, who is very well-deserved for Polish fencing. It is a story of true bravery, an honour that does not compromise, courage in dangerous times.
Poles remember Kevey as an educator of the top Polish fencers of the 1950s, he was known as the father of Polish “miraculous children”, a friendly Janczi Baczi. Only a few people know other, equally interesting chapters of his life.
Only few people remember that Kevey had already been involved in the training of Polish fencers and fencing masters before the war and for his contribution he received the prestigious Polonia Restituta order. He wore it on his chest for the rest of his life and always proudly explained that he received this award from Poles. He did not even took it off at the explicit order of the Gestapo, and then the communists.
Also a few people remember that he was one of the key people who organised help for Polish officers during the Second World War in Hungary.
Not many people even know the source of his fencing knowledge, which gave Poland so many champions. This publication, for the first time, brings Kevey’s fencing path closer and presents all of his masters, especially the one who shaped him the most, László Borsody, the genius of the sabre.
“Kevey belonged to the elite Hungarian military school of fencing, the heart of which was the Miklós Toldi Institute, the sabres section led by the informal leader of the community, Borsody. From this school he brought not only an extremely effective teaching method, but above all values and work ethics” says Aleksandra Karp, the author of the book. “He required from his students military discipline and complete submission to the rigour of extremely intensive training. In return, he gave all his time, energy and attention. He was always close to the students. He ate with them, travelled, taught them manners, took them to the cinema or opera” she adds.
Fencing was Kevey’s whole life. “He taught until the end of his days. At the end of his life he worked in small schools for symbolic money or for free. He taught until the sabre fell out of his hand. Literally,” adds the author.
The premiere of the biography of master Kevey took place during this year’s Sabre Day. During the panel led by the author of the publication guests were chance to listen to the memories of people who remember him – the daughter and granddaughter of the mayor, Jerzy Pawłowski’s family, his most titled pupil and Kazimierz Laskowski, son of mayor Laskowski, close friend of Kevey.
The publisher of the book is the Hungarian-Polish Sabre Fencing School. Publication partners: Polish Army Museum in Warsaw, Hungarian Embassy in Warsaw, Military Museum in Budapest, Tatra Museum, Magyar Szablyavívó Iskola, Museum of Sport and Tourism.
PREMIER OF THE “MAJOR JÁNOS KEVEY”, the first biography of the fencing master
Author: Aleksandra Karp
Number of pages: 324
Price of the book – 150 PLN
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