Lesson 14 – The Slip
This lesson we look at the next defensive concept – The Slip. The primary advantage of the slip is that it allows you to bring your body just outside the enemy’s death bubble, whilst leaving yourself free to riposte in safety as the sword harmlessly passes through. It is however vulnerable to a hit when the enemy subtly extends their range with a body lean or gathering step, so it is always good practice to cover the line of the attack with your equipment to prevent this vulnerability. We looked at the specific examples of covering the attack with both the buckler and the sword whilst performing a slip.
Revision – Falso Parry against the Thrust
From Porta di Ferro Stretta, when the enemy passes with the left foot extending the thrust, parry it with a falso…
[Manciolino – Libro 1, Capitolo 14 & Libro 4, Capitolo 9]
Concept 1 – Buckler Parry And Riposte With Slip
From Porta di Ferro Stretta, defend your head with your buckler, riposte by slipping back your right foot, throwing a montante that ends in Guardia Alta.
[Manciolino Libro 2, 1st Assault]
The primary goal of this exercise was to get the students used to the slip footwork. The dual buckler parry with a riposte on the slip teaches the concept of defence in depth, mostly by osmosis. The key to the buckler parry is to extend the buckler hand into Guardia di Testa.
Concept 2 – Defence Of The Thrust And Riverso Feint & Mandritto
From Porta di Ferro Stretta, when the enemy extends the thrust, pass back into Cingiara Porta di Ferro Stretta. When the enemy passes right throwing the riverso feint & mandritto, parry the mandritto with a falso and riposte stepping forward with the right foot to give a mandritto to the face.
[Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 14]
The agent in this sequence is attacking with a thrust, riverso feint and mandritto on a pass and traverse. The patient agent will be using a variant of the contract and expand footwork.
The first step of the pass back is a 45° step back to the right with the right foot. The sword hand should transition from in front of the right leg to in front of the left leg. This will both clear the body out of the line of the direct attack, and also provide a secondary clearance of the attacking thrust with the sword.
In general, the riverso feint will cause the defender to turn the sword slightly towards the feint to the outside. The key thing the student needs to remember at this time is that the pass back has also placed them out of the distance of the second attack, and the opponent can not hit them easily without moving forward. The falso parry of the mandritto will depend on the line taken by the attacker's sword. If they take the outside learning turning over the sword, the falso parry is an extension into Guardia di Faccia. If it turns to the inside under the sword, the falso parry is the falso cut to Sopra il Braccio. It is also possible to parry the outside attack the same way, but first disengage under the sword to allow the falso cut to Sopra il Braccio.
The riposte is taken on a pass right with the right foot, which can either bring you back to the original Porta di Ferro Stretta position, or Porta di Ferro Stretta off to the right of your original starting position. The angle of the passing step is determined by the position of the enemy at the time of the riposte.
Concept 3 – Slip, Parry And Riposte Against the Thrust And Head Blow Combination
From Porta di Ferro Stretta, when the enemy passes to give the thrust, slip the blow by passing back your right foot ending in Cingiara Porta di Ferro. When he traverses to throw the head blow (mandritto or fendente), pass right and parry with a rising falso traversale, and riposte with a riverso to the leg. Pass back, extending a thrust to the face, covering the sword hand with your buckler, and ending in Porta di Ferro Stretta.
[Manciolino Libro 4, Capitolo 9]
The sequence used in Concept 2 whilst being effective is not what could be described as universal, being more situational depending on the type of redoubled action used by the attacker. In this drill, we examine a more universal parry to the redoubled attack.
The preferred parry to the redoubled attack is the falso traversale. This is a rising falso parry that cuts across the line of engagement. This is generally done by cutting from right to left, bringing the false edge of the sword to the left hand side of the face of the buckler. Essentially you are cutting to a point up Sotto il Braccio position. This type of parry is also shown in Manciolino's Primo Assalto, where he writes several times:
…and in such passage you will give a blow with your false edge to the dome of your buckler…
Manciolino, Libro 2 – Primo Assalto
The falso traversale is never actually described, and this description in the Assalto is one of the keys to it's execution.
The finishing position also places you in the perfect position to throw a riverso riposte to the leg of the enemy. This is followed by the retreat behind an extended point, which will discourage the enemy from following you during the retreat.