Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 11

Lesson 11 – The Falso Parry &  Riposte


  1. Stance
  2. Grip
  3. Footwork
  4. Cuts

Concept 1 – 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]

Class Note

There are 3 variants to this parry, and we explored all 3 of them, and looked at the problems with trying to parry the low outside line with a falso.

  1. When the opponent thrusts into our high inside line, the falso parry is performed by cutting a falso with the point up from Porta di Ferro Stretta to Sopra il Braccio.
  2. If the thrust drops to the low inside line, the transition is a point down falso to Sotto il Braccio.
  3. If the thrust is to our high outside line, the falso parry is made as an extension into Guardia di Faccia, whilst turning the hand into 4th in 3rd.
  4. If the thrust goes to the low outside line, you do not parry it with a falso, as it doesn’t close the line.

Concept 2 – Parry And Riposte Against The Thrust And Riverso

From Porta di Ferro Stretta, when the enemy passes with the left foot to throw the thrust, parry with the false edge without moving your feet. When the enemy throws the riverso, pass left parrying the riverso by turning your true edge towards his sword, and defending your head with your buckler. Riposte by checking the enemy's sword with your buckler and throwing a stocatta to the face or chest, and then jump backwards, ending in Porta di Ferro Stretta.
[Manciolino – Libro 4, Capitolo 9]

Class Note

This drill is to teach defence against a redoubled attack. Since the feet do not move for the falso parry, all you have to do is pick the correct parry for the line through which the attack is made. In this case, because the redoubled attack will be riverso, the initial thrust by the opponent must be a provocation thrust to the inside, since a provocation to the outside just closes the line through which we wish to attack. For the defender it becomes…

  1. Parry with falso sweeping sword to left
  2. Parry with true edge cutting to right
  3. Check their sword and stab them with a rising thrust.

This sequence actually shows how the falso parry sets you up to quickly parry an subsequent redoubled blow, which is the teaching aim of this drill.

Concept 3 – Parry Riposte Against Thrust & Riverso To The Leg Combination

From Porta di Ferro Stretta, when the enemy passes left to throw the punta, traverse with the left foot and parry with a falso, ending in Guardia di Faccia. When the enemy throws the riverso to the leg, pass right and parry with a rising mezzo riverso, and riposte with a mandritto traversale to the sword arm, defending the head with your buckler. Pass back with the right foot into Guardia di Faccia, and then pass back the left foot ending in Porta di Ferro Stretta.
[Manciolino – Libro 4, Capitolo 9]

Class Note

This time the enemy provokes with the thrust through the high outside line, so that they can redouble to the low outside line. The falso is done as the extension into Guardia di Faccia with a traversing step of the left foot. This helps reorient the extending sword into the incoming thrust, creating a good crosswise opposition to the incoming sword. We then follow this with the correct parry against any outside blow to the leg, which is the rising mezzo riverso cut into the blow, and should be recognisable to modern fencers as the parry of 2nd. The riposte to the sword arm is made on the corrective step, and we finish with another classic Bolognese defence, the retreat behind the extended sword. (Colloquially called the F$%# Off defence when I teach it!) It’s designed to stop the enemy chasing you down.

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