Simply put, Aldana focuses on perfection of form and technique. It is proof that you can become a great fighter by focusing on mechanics. This much practice gives you a great deal of control over when you go, and the rest of the fight. The song is what drives you, carries you through the fight, but the song can adapt as needed. Good swordsmen not only have multiple songs, they can also learn new ones and change the old. This, combined with a focus on perfection, lead to the "trance" this school is famous for.
Excellence on defense, excellence on rhythm, and excellence on attack make for a wonderful combination. Tag your opponent a few times, put in a feint if you have the opening or your opponent likes to parry, and riposte if they attack you. Some schools will parry better than you do, some will attack better, but none have the balance you do.
Compatibility: Well learned technique carries over everywhere, and the song can be adapted to meet a variety of influences. You can use what you learned from Aldana any time you use a rapier, and the focus on just about any fight. After all, it's just a matter of closing out the rest of the world. The rest may not translate as well to heavy weapons, though. It's possible to integrate Aldana's style of movement with heavy weapons, pole arms, or hand to hand combat, but it may be difficult.
Saber is at heart a cavalry weapon. Its slightly curved, forward weighted blade is designed to split an opponent open from above while you ride away on your horse. These origins are apparent when saber is used on foot, too. Bernoulli exemplifies this. One hand is free so you can use reins, so you might as well punch with it if you find an opening. The fleshe was designed to charge forward and split your opponent as quickly as possible, simulating a horse's charge. And with those wide sweeps of the blade, you can keep your opponents back enough to keep your breath and the wide, sweeping swings add power to your hits. Corps-a-corps will usually be either a shoulder check or a nice punch, and lunge can be either with tip or a nice cut.
This means the school isn't too terribly defensive, though. Corps-a-corps them if you wish, but whatever you do to make an opening, then take it. There's absolutely nothing wrong with spending all your actions to charge the poor fool and run him through; save one if you're worried about parrying.
Compatibility: A saber is heavier than a rapier, true, but it's possible to use them in similar manners. Any move you can do with a rapier can be replicated with a saber, so all the knacks can be integrated into this school (although you'll need to find another weapon to do double parry or whirl.), but not all techniques will. A fleshe can be done with a rapier or heavy weapon. But the apprentice technique relies on a saber's edge.
This "school" has one purpose and one purpose only: to put as many pieces of flying steel between you and your attacker as possible in the shortest amount of time. Hide a number of knives about your person in easily accessible places. Then, by turning the action of drawing into the beginning of the throw, speed is increased to incredible degrees. With enough practice a student of this school even gets to the point that conscious effort is not needed to aim; the eyes identify the target and the hand takes care of directing the knife's flight.
Because of the nature of throwing knives, however, and since most of the students are ladies unprepared for a drawn out fight, the school is rarely lethal. Instead, the goal is to slow your opponent down by Pinning clothing to whatever is convenient. If other people or objects are between you and your target, make the opening. Why bother throwing knives at a target when you can bounce the knife off three walls before hitting your target? Or add some distance to your throw, and surprise the heck out of your target, by throwing in a high arc which comes down directly on their head.
Regardless, remember your goal; throw as many knives as you need to incapacitate your opponent as quickly as possible, and then maybe one more while they're immobilized just to teach the fool not to mess with you.
Compatibility: The nice thing about this school is that it focuses specifically on one particular act: throwing knives. Usually this means throwing knives, but (especially with the system's easy-going weapon classification system) a parrying dagger works just as well. Of course, a throwing knife can also be used to parry.
As a result, this school can be used any time you have a knife on your person. The necessity of throwing the knife may effect how you fight afterwards, but that shouldn't be a problem. What student of Cappuntina would carry only one knife?
You may think you are tough. You may even have convinced other people you are tough. But when was the last time you ran out early in the morning to hug a tree for an hour? In the rain? In the snow? In the sun? If you do not remember, then you are not as tough as you think. Pressure is a wonderful thing; apply enough and you can turn coal into diamonds. Imagine what you could do to that poor fool opposing you? Just grab them and squeeze. And squeeze, and squeeze. It's worked for snakes for millennia.
This school really has very little strategy to it and doesn't need it either. If they have a weapon, take it away. Once you have, grab them. Then squeeze. If they hit you, squeeze harder. After all, you practice on trees. Flesh is much softer.
Compatibility: This school combines well with just about anything. The physical conditioning helps any fighter, no matter what their background. And while there may be other schools that do a better job putting someone into a hold, none know better what to do once you get them there.
Not just the world's greatest boxing school, but the world's greatest DRUNKEN boxing school! Once again the Inish have surpassed us all. This school is, quite simply, designed to make a boxer who hits very hard, takes a lot of punishment, and likes a good drink. A series of little tricks and proper form help the Finnegan student hit very hard, and years of practice getting hit by these people as a learning method helps condition him to take beatings that would wipe out most people without dropping their beer. As for the drinking, there are certain ways people sway and stagger when they've had a few to drink. Most people don't expect such seemingly random movement to turn into a sudden, viscous attack, meaning you can use it to your advantage.
Sadly, most people in this civilized age feel the need to go into a fight fully armed. There exists a simple solution to this: disarm them. Wait for them to attack, duck under, bob forward, and twist the weapon from their grasp. Then knock them to the ground and kick them a few times while they're getting up. Hit them very hard. Sink in an uppercut or a few jabs, grapple them, and quietly pound them into submission while they're trying to deal with your bear hug. If they wiggle free, don't worry. Just duck under their attacks and cut loose.
Compatibility: The nice thing about Finnegan is that its teachings are universally useful. Granted, you may not be throwing many punches while using a sword, but the toughening training still applies no matter what you're using. And the ability to use drunkenness to your advantage can, with just a little practice, be applied to weapons as well. But any time you take a swing at someone, no matter what other teachings you use, your Finnegan training will help you.
Accuracy is for puny fighters who barely use swords bigger than their.pinkies. A good fighter, one properly trained in the highlands, knows that the way to win a fight is to swing as hard as you can as often as you can. After all, it's not at all hard to hit a man-sized object with a 4 foot sword (at least, at the smaller end of things). So don't worry 'bout that "honorable" stuff those weak "fencers" use. The way to show your opponent honor in a fight is cut him down quickly and drink a pint or several to his memory. Hit fast, hit hard, and don't worry about "aim" and "delicacy".
This school is a simple one; light on the strategy. All the techniques are based around inflicting extra damage. The knacks combine nicely to a similar end. While it seems mildly incomprehensible to hold a 5 foot sword in such a way as to hit with the pommel, you can do exactly that. The combo of Pommel Strike/Lunge is a beautiful one. Likewise, Pommel Strike/Beat against people who like to parry or use Riposte. Granted this means you need to be able to hit with the Pommel Strike, but still.
Compatibility: Spiritually, this has a bit of trouble with some of the other heavy weapon schools. It's much faster and more chaotic than Leegstra, and lacks the structured, methodical style of Eisenfaust. But beyond those small philosophical difficulties it could work.
The widely acknowledged Pirate School, Rogers isn't so much about excellent fighting as it is about tricks. Coordination comes with time and practice, but that's mainly a bonus. This style, though, is mainly useful on ships (and similar surfaces like moving carraiges). Unlike most schools, this uses Bind (Fencing), which means the only weapon will be tied up. Fortunately it has Corps-a-Corps and various pirate tricks involving off-hand weapons to fill those holes.
The key to this school is to carefully pick pirate tricks that complement your techniques and abilities; this makes up for otherwise weak techniques. Decide how you want to fight, and where, and pick the right tricks. Then bind your opponent, and smash them silly before they get free.
Compatibility: These techniques are mainly designed to be used under specific circumstances (on ship, swinging down, attacking with a beer mug, etc.), but as long as you meet those conditions, you should be able to use the techniques and tricks at any time. And, of course, fear effects are pretty constant. The bigger issue is that most pirates probably won't learn a more formal school, and most "landlocked" swordsmen wouldn't stoop to learning a school that's so undignified. Most. Usually.
A good example of Soldano can be seen in "The Mask of Zorro" when Banderas takes on a barracks full of soldiers. The Soldano master does not stand still for long, rather he is everywhere at once, cutting, lunging, dodging, and then stepping away and getting ready for the next round. This is not a school which, like Leegstra or Eisenfaust, spends its time sitting around and waiting. And this is where it gets its power.
Quite frequently, a mediocre fighter can overwhelm a superior one through sheer wildness. Of course, it's quite likely s/he'll get a sword through the ribs for the attempt, but it will be one of those cases where both fighters fall. Beyond that, while most fighters know how to deal with one sword or even a sword and short dagger, very few are used to dealing with two full length killing swords.
Soldano teaches such a rush of energy, such a flurry and onslaught that even very competent swordsmen frequently don't know how to deal with it. If a group attacks you, go into a Whirl, cutting and thrusting and dodging at all angles, and watch them all fall .Of course, if someone does rush you like this, they leave little openings because they're not being careful and clean in technique. Beware these little holes.
Compatibility: Whirl is almost impossible to do with only one sword, as is Double Parry. A kind and generous GM might, might, let you replicate the effects with a knife or improvised weapon. But it would still be difficult. Baring weapon-specific issues, I can't think of any swordsman knacks that wouldn't integrate nicely into the school. I can easily picture someone of this school using one sword to bind and the other to attack, or riposting into a lunge, or disarming his opponent and *then* making the intimidation check.
As for other schools, this style would fit with any school that isn't specifically calm and calculating. Any of the one-sword styles could be done with a second sword in hand, allowing you to blend them with this. Basically, Soldano's philosophy is to overwhelm the opponent with sheer aggression, convincing them they are about to die. Very few schools would have a problem with this. The apprentice and journeyman technique would probably only apply when you are able to fight with this kind of wild abandon, but the master technique should really kick in whenever you go through a whole group of people.
Quite possibly the sneakiest school yet known to Theah, this school relies more on outsmarting and tricking your opponent than out-fighting them. This style will frequently be used at very close range, probably even with your blade in contact with your opponent's. This allows you to clearly communicate your invitations, and to stop-thrust with a quick extension as soon as you feel movement. Use repartee actions, use feints and stop-thrust, use whatever you need. Convince your opponent the time is right to attack, then hit him. If you scare your opponent enough that he refuses to attack, hit him in such a way that he can't parry.
A word on Fencing Rings: the "Vodacce-style rapier" (Italian in our world) allows greater power and control with the sword, because you can use more finger strength on the blade, rather than just agility. A disarm *does* twist the fingers painfully, but there are still many reasons to use this style, even beyond Vodacce (although the Montaigne would probably avoid something so unfashionable, and the Castillians actually designed a more comfortable version).
Compatibility: Villanova is a very opportunistic school. As such, it combines very well with any other rapier school (and, with some effort, you could probably learn similar abilities with polearms or heavy weapons), because you can use the other style as normal and then, when the opportunity arises, strike to make Giovanni proud!
Going the other way, most any other school's philosophy is compatible with this one. One can be a perfectionist and sneaky/dirty at the same time; one can taunt one's opponent; one can be calm and orderly or wild and energetic. Any other attitude, except for "fair and honorable above all" works well with sneaky, dirty fencing like this.