Category Archives: Stocatta, Drummoyne

Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Gioco Stretta pt2

These are the Bolognese Swordsmanship (sword & buckler) drills for the class held at Stoccata Drummoyne on 14 Oct 2015

Clock Drill, Defending From Porta di Ferro Stretta

This is a partner drill, where the attacking partner throws a blow to the various targets, starting from the lower leg and working up and around the body, coming down the other side. The defending partner will then parry with false edge / true edge as required, and riposte as appropriate. The drill is designed to get people practicing cuts to the 5 mainquadrants, and practicing the appropriate defence for each of thos quadrants

  1. The attacker starts in Coda Lunga Alta, and throws a mandritto to the legs of the defender. The defender starts in Porta di Ferro Stretta, and parries with a descending falso to Sotto il Braccio, and ripostes with either a rising riverso to the flank or a tramazzone to the head.
  2. The attacker starts in Guardia Alta, and throws a mandritto to the neck / shoulder of the defender. The defender starts in Porta di Ferro Stretta and parries with a falso to Sotto il Braccio (keeping the tip up at temple height) and ripostes with a mandritto to the head.
  3. The attacker starts in Guardia Alta, and throws a fendente to the head of the defender. The defender starts in Porta di Ferro Stretta and parries with Guardia di Testa and ripostes with a mandritto to the head, on a pass left.
  4. The attacker starts in Sopra il Braccio, and throws a riverso to the neck / shoulder of the defender. The defender starts in Porta di Ferro Stretta and parries with a falso to Guardia di faccia (keeping the tip up at temple height) and ripostes with a riverso to the head.
  5. The attacker starts in Sotto il Braccio, and throws a riverso (ascending or descending) to the leg of the defender. The defender starts in Porta di Ferro Stretta and turning down their tip parries with the true edge (parry of 2nd) and ripostes with a thrust to the abdomen.

Gioco Stretta Plays – True Edge to True Edge

Revision

Direct Attack With Thrust To The Head

Pull back your sword, and passing left extending a thrust to the right temple, accompanied by your buckler. This action also counters every deadly blow.
[Libro 3, 15th action of true edge to true edge]

Parry Riposte Against Thrust To The Head

Parry the thrust with your false edge, and riposte with a mandritto to the face.
[Libro 3, Counter of the 15th action of true edge to true edge]

Direct Cut To Head With Riverso

Pass left and throw riverso to right temple
[Libro 3, 1st action of true edge to true edge]

Counterattack Against Riverso To Temple

When your enemy passes to throw riverso to your right temple, throw mezzo mandritto to the head, ending in Guardia di Faccia.
[Libro 3, Counter of the 1st action of true edge to true edge]

New Drills

Direct Cut To Head With Riverso Followed By Blade Shunt And Fendente

Pass left and throw riverso to the right temple. If the enemy parries the attack, hit the outside of his sword with your hilt or guard, and then throw fendente to the head.
[Libro 3, 3rd action of true edge to true edge]

Parry And Riposte By Cut-Over Against Riverso, Blade Shunt And Fendente

When your enemy passes to throw riverso to your right temple, parry with the true edge of your sword. When your enemy goes to hit your sword with his hilt, swiftly lift up your own sword to avoid the hit and riposte with a riverso to the head.
[Libro 3, Counter of the 3rd action of true edge to true edge]
 

Giganti Curriculum – Actions on the Blade – Blade Seizure

These are the teaching notes for the Italian Rapier class held at Stoccata Drummoyne on 7 Oct 2015.

Warm Ups

1. Footwork Drills
2. Lunges
3. Parry Riposte drill – high inside & high outside

Actions on the Blade – Blade Seizure

Blade Seizure to High Inside Line

Instructor Student
Presents point in line (tip high) From out of distance, extends the hand to engage the presented sword in 4th on a step forward
  Lunges to hit with a thrust by glide
Takes the hit Recovers back out of distance

Blade Seizure to High Outside Line

Instructor Student
Presents point in line (tip high) From out of distance, extends the hand to engage the presented sword in 3rd on a step forward
  Lunges to hit with a thrust by glide
Takes the hit Recovers back out of distance

Blade Seizure to Low Inside Line

Instructor Student
Presents point in line (tip low) From out of distance, extends the hand to engage the presented sword in low 4th on a step forward
  Lunges to hit with a thrust by glide
Takes the hit Recovers back out of distance

Blade Seizure to Low Outside Line

Instructor Student
Presents point in line (tip low) From out of distance, extends the hand to engage the presented sword in 2nd on a step forward
  Lunges to hit with a thrust by glide
Takes the hit Recovers back out of distance

Notes

  1. The step forward as you engage the blade is not optional. The hand precedes the foot as always but the engagement and step must end at the same moment, thus the step is very quick to make this happen.
  2. The blade presentation is either with the tip just above the height of the extended hand, or just below. The threat should thus be either above or below the opponent's hand when they are in guard.

Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Gioco Stretta pt1

This was the first week’s lesson in Bolognese sword & buckler for Term 4 at Stoccata Drummoyne. (7 Oct 2015)

Warm Ups

  1. X-cuts pattern stationary
  2. Mandritto & Riverso passing left & right from Porta di Ferro Stretta
  3.  Inside Falso Parry & Mandritto from Porta di Ferro Stretta

Gioco Stretta Plays – True Edge to True Edge

Direct Attack With Thrust To The Head

Pull back your sword, and passing left extending a thrust to the right temple, accompanied by your buckler. This action also counters every deadly blow.
[Libro 3, 15th action of true edge to true edge]

Parry Riposte Against Thrust To The Head

Parry the thrust with your false edge, and riposte with a mandritto to the face.
[Libro 3, Counter of the 15th action of true edge to true edge]

Direct Cut To Head With Riverso

Pass left and throw riverso to right temple
[Libro 3, 1st action of true edge to true edge]

Counterattack Against Riverso To Temple

When your enemy passes to throw riverso to your right temple, throw mezzo mandritto to the head, ending in Guardia di Faccia.
[Libro 3, Counter of the 1st action of true edge to true edge]

 

Giganti Lesson 9 – Attacking on the Pass

Review Lesson 8

  • The 3 measures – close, wide, out of distance
  • Covering the line from out of measure, then using footwork to come into measure with a gain.

Attacking on the pass

The attack on the pass can be used as an alternative to the attack with a lunge. The primary advantage of using the pass is the increased measure at which the attack can be thrown. Since the action takes us to the outside of our opponent the action preceding the attack on the pass must pull the opponent’s sword to the high inside line.

Attacking on the Pass with Feint Disengage

  1. From Guardia Terza, feint a thrust to the opponent’s high inside line.
  2. As the opponent moves to parry 4th, cavazione clockwise, extending to hit to the stomach or chest and passing forward with the rear foot to deliver the thrust with the hand in 2nd.
  3. Repeat 5 times and then reverse roles.

Note: The torso as it comes forwards leans over the now forward left leg, which pulls the torso to the side and away from the opponent’s sword.

Increasing Our Safety With The Hand Check

The attack on the pass relies on speed and the opponent being caught out of position. The technique used in the above drill does however leave the fencer susceptible to a counterattack in the high outside line.

  1. From Guardia Terza, feint a thrust to the opponent’s high inside line.
  2. As the opponent moves to parry 4th, cavazione clockwise, extending to hit to the stomach or chest and passing forward with the rear foot to deliver the thrust with the hand in 2nd.
  3. As you extend the sword to make the hit, simultaneously reach forward with the offhand, bringing the palm towards the opponent’s hilt or blade to prevent the counterattack in the high outside line.
  4. Repeat 5 times and then reverse roles.

Attacking on the Pass From the Opponent’s Engagement

  1. Opponent engages the sword in the high outside line.
  2. Cavazione counterclockwise to make a thrust feint to the high inside line.
  3. As the opponent moves to parry 4th, cavazione clockwise, extending to hit to the stomach or chest and passing forward with the rear foot to deliver the thrust with the hand in 2nd. Hand check to the high outside line with the offhand.
  4. Repeat 5 times and then reverse roles.

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Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 10

Lesson 10 – Review of Term 1

This lesson is a review lesson, to reinforce the key actions we have been working on over the term. Most students should be reasonably competent with the following actions.

Basic Redoubled Cuts

  • Mandritto & riverso from Guardia Alta using passing steps.
  • Redoubled mandritti from Guardia Alta using expand & contract footwork, passing through Guardia d'Alicorno.
  • Mandritto, rising riverso & fendente from Guardia Alta on a pass & traverse.
  • Fendente & Tramazzone from Guardia Alta on a gathering step forward.

Basic Defences

  • True edge parry with Guardia di Testa, from Porta di Ferro Stretta.
  • Falso parry to Sopra il Braccio, from Porta di Ferro Stretta.
  • False edge parry to Guardia di Faccia, from Porta di Ferro Stretta or Sopra il Braccio.

Basic Provocation with a thrust

  • Thrust & riverso to thigh on a left pass from Porta di Ferro Stretta.
  • Thrust and tramazzone on a pass & traverse from Porta di Ferro Stretta.
  • Thrust, rising riverso and mandritto on a pass & traverse from Porta di Ferro Stretta.

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Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 9

Revision

Repeat the actions from Lesson 8 as paired drills. Each person does them 5 times each.

  1. Offensive Combination Using Riverso On The Pass
    From Sopra il Braccio, pass left throwing a riverso.
    [Manciolino, Libro 1, Capitolo 9]
  2. Offensive Combination Using Two Riversi
    From Sopra il Braccio, you can throw a riverso, and redouble with the same.
    [Manciolino, Libro 1, Capitolo 9]
  3. Offensive Combination Using Riverso, Fendente & Tramazzone
    From Sopra il Braccio, throw together a riverso, a fendente, and a tramazzone.
    [Manciolino, Libro 1, Capitolo 9]

Overview of this Lesson

We are starting our look at the bread & butter offensive technique of the system, a provocation with a thrust to the face. All actions start from Porta di Ferro Stretta (sword foot forward in wide pace, sword hand in 3rd in line with the sword leg, buckler extended).

The thrusts are made to the outside of the opponent's sword. You do this by thrusting through your own centre line. The left passing step brings it to the outside of the opponent's sword.

Practice everything by the numbers first, then we'll do them against an opponent.

Concept 1 – Offensive Combination Using Thrust And Riverso

From Porta di Ferro Stretta, pass left and throw a thrust to the face, and as your enemy goes to parry it, throw a riverso to the thigh, ending in Guardia di Testa.
[Manciolino, Libro 2, 3rd Assault]

By the numbers

  1. Extend the thrust and when you reach full extension pass diagonally left with your left foot. The thrust is to face height.
  2. Cut riverso to the thigh, and then make the corrective step, lifting the sword hand up into Guardia di Testa (Head Guard)

Concept 2 – Offensive Combination Using Thrust And Redoubled Tramazzoni

From Porta di Ferro Stretta, pass with your left foot extending a thrust to the face, and then traverse right, turning two tramazzoni, ending in Porta di Ferro Stretta.
[Manciolino, Libro 1, Capitolo 13 & Libro 2, 3rd Assault]

By the numbers

  1. Extend the thrust and when you reach full extension pass diagonally left with your left foot. The thrust is to face height.
  2. Start the tramazzone (inside moulinet), and when the sword starts travelling forward again, traverse diagonally right with the right foot hitting the head with the tramazzone.
  3. Throw another tramazzone, pulling the cut through the head with the corrective step of the left foot.

Concept 3 – Offensive Combination Using Thrust And Rising Riverso & Mandritto

From Porta di Ferro Stretta, pass with the left foot, extending a thrust, and then traverse right throwing rising riverso to the arms, and mandritto to the head or leg. For your protection, pass back with the right foot, throwing riverso to the sword hand.
[Manciolino, Libro 1, Capitolo 13]

By the numbers

  1. Extend the thrust and when you reach full extension pass diagonally left with your left foot. The thrust is to face height.
  2. Pull the sword tip back, continuing it into a circular rising riverso. When the sword starts to come forward again, pass diagonally right to drive the rising riverso through the extended arms.
  3. Throw a mandritto to the head, pulling the sword through on the corrective step with the left foot. The sword should finish in a point up position.
  4. Pass straight back with the right foot throwing a riverso across the line of engagement to the sword hand, ending in Coda Lunga Alta (buckler foot forward, sword in outside guard)


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Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 8

Introduction

Up to this point, we’ve been concentrating on attacks made from Guardia Alta. The interesting point in Manciolino’s manual is that he doesn’t describe the riverso being thrown from Guardia Alta. So, keeping true to the instructions, I moved on to using Sopra il Braccio as the starting guardia. This actually builds on what we’ve seen before as this guardia is one of the guards that we cut to, so we’re building on teaching the students the primary action that can be made from the position they have cut to.

Revision

  1. From Guardia Alta, pass with your right foot throwing a tramazzone that ends in Porta di Ferro Larga. Defend the head with your buckler.
    [Manciolino Libro 2, 2nd Assault]
  2. From Guardia Alta, pass with the right foot turning a tramazzone, ending in Porta di Ferro Larga. Immediately pass left with the left foot and thrust to the right side of the enemy's face to draw the parry. Transport the enemy's sword to your inside with the left hand (buckler or hand grab is not indicated) and hit with a mandritto to the head, or where open.
    [Manciolino Libro 2, 2nd Assault]
  3. From Guardia Alta, cut a tramazzone, ending in Porta di Ferro. The enemy will then throw some blow to your uncovered body, which you will defend by parrying with Guardia di Testa, passing forward with the right foot. Riposte with a mandritto to the face or thigh, warding the head with the buckler. Pass back the right foot to place yourself out of distance.
    [Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 3]

Concept 1 – Offensive Action Using Riverso On The Pass

From Sopra il Braccio, pass left throwing a riverso.
[Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 9]

Teaching Note

This first concept was used to cement the footwork for the left pass, as well as to introduce the concept of pulling cuts and pushing cuts.
For the pulling cut, the student extends the hand bringing the sword tip forward, pulling the body into the cut, with the impact to the right side of the opponent's head occurring around the point of the percussion. It's important to ensure that the cut comes through in the correct vertical line of ear to knee, not horizontally. The sword hand should be somewhere between the line of your sternum to you right shoulder, so that the sword is cutting into the target, not besides the target. Cutting along the target is a very common mistake, and happens when the student keeps their hand in front of the left shoulder. After the impact is made, the sword hand pulls into Coda Lunga Alta on the corrective step with the right foot.

For the pushing cut, the student extend the hand bringing the sword tip forward, pulling the body into the cut. The impact to the right side of the head occurs at the tip with the sword sliding forward to the point of percussion into Guardia di Faccia. At the time of impact the hand should be just below the height of the shoulder, moving to just above the shoulder during the slicing push. Again the sword hand cuts from in front of the right shoulder to ensure there is pressure applied during the slicing action.

Concept 2 – Offensive Combination Using Two Riversi

From Sopra il Braccio, you can throw a riverso, and redouble with the same.
[Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 9]

Teaching Note

The key to the redoubled riverso is the pushing cut. The first cut is delivered as a pushing cut thrown to Guardia di Faccia, followed by a pulling cut thrown to a Coda Lunga guardia. If the pushing cut is made with the sword hand above the buckler hand the redoubled cut is made to the head as well. If however it is made with the sword hand below the buckler hand, the redoubled cut is made to the body or upper thigh. The finishing guardia will be Cods Lunga Alta after a left pass ans Coda Lunga Stretta after a right pass.

Concept 3 – Offensive Combination Using Riverso, Fendente & Tramazzone

From Sopra il Braccio, throw together a riverso, a fendente, and a tramazzone.
[Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 9]

Teaching Note

This is a variation of Concept 2, where the first cut is actually a pulling cut, with the fendente as a pushing cut to Guardia di Faccia setting us up for the tramazzone that follows. This combination can work with either a passing step or a pass and traverse step.


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Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 7

Lesson 7 – The Tramazzone from Guardia Alta

This lesson we continue on from Lesson 6, building up the technical skills of the system. Last Lesson the emphasis was on the montante thrust, which is a concealed attack against an enemy. This Lesson the emphasis is on the tramazzone.

The advantage of the tramazzone from Guardia Alta is the protection it offers to the hand, as well as the circular momentum it uses to generate a good strong descending blow. Like the montante thrust, it requires us to concentrate on the coordinated timing of hands, body and feet so that we can attack and move in safety.

Revision

False edge parries:

  • Parry from Sopra il Braccio to Guardia di Faccia on a left pass.
  • Parry from Porta di Ferro Stretta to Guardia di Faccia on a left pass.
  • Parry from Porta di Ferro Stretta to Sopra il Braccio on a right pass.
  • Parry from Guardia di Testa to Sotto il Braccio on a slip back.

Concept 1 – Offensive Action Using Tramazzone

From Guardia Alta, pass with your right foot throwing a tramazzone that ends in Porta di Ferro Larga. Defend the head with your buckler.
[Manciolino Libro 2, 2nd Assault]

The Drill by the Numbers

  1. From Guardia Alta, pass with the right foot hitting to the head with a tramazzone.
  2. Complete the pass with the left foot recovering into Porta di Ferro Larga.

Class Notes

The important part of this cut was to get the sword moving first by turning the wrist, which rolls the sword into the same position we would use to deliver an imbroccata. The wrist turn continues bringing the sword through our inside , just outside our buckler arm, making a complete 360° arc to land as a descending blow on top of the enemy’s head. The first step of the pass does not start until the sword is travelling forward again in the last part of it’s rotation, so that we are stepping forward behind the extending arm. During the first part of the rotation when the sword is in front of our body, it is safe for us to drop the hand down below the buckler, as the sword will protect the hand against any counter attacks.

The cut travels all the way through, ending with our hand in 3rd, and the sword pointing to the ground. The sword hand should be just inside the right knee. Don’t let the hand travel back too far, otherwise you will smack your pommel into your groin, which is just embarrassing, painful, and a really stupid way to die. 🙂 This point down guard position is called Porta di Ferro Larga. (Have a few lagers and everything droops down!)

The large opening left by the guard position leaves the head very vulnerable, so we defend the head by bringing the buckler up to create a cone of defence around our head and shoulders. The head guard with the buckler is with an extended arm, and the hand about even with the eyes, so that we can see under the bottom of the buckler rim. We do not turn the face of the buckler upwards, as this will open up the wrist to an attack. We instead keep the buckler face pointing towards the enemy, similar to our regular on guard position, with the wrist straight, not kinked.

Concept 2 – Offensive Combination Using Tramazzone, Thrust And Mandritto With Presa

From Guardia Alta, pass with the right foot turning a tramazzone, ending in Porta di Ferro Larga. Immediately pass left with the left foot and thrust to the right side of the enemy’s face to draw the parry. Close out the enemy’s sword to your inside with the left hand (buckler or hand grab is not indicated) and hit with a mandritto to the head, or where open.
[Manciolino Libro 2, 2nd Assault]

The Drill by the Numbers

  1. Step right throwing a tramazzone to Porta di Ferro Larga
  2. Traverse left thrusting to the right side of the face
  3. Contract back with the left foot throwing mandritto to the face (most people ended up in our underarm position – which is good.)

Class Notes

When we make our initial tramazzone attack, it comes in slightly on the left hand side of the enemy, which will tend to pull their equipment towards the buckler, opening up the sword side of the enemy. We capitalise on this by making an immediate redoubled attack, by passing with the left foot, and thrusting underneath our buckler towards the enemy’s face on their right hand side. Again this will draw their equipment towards the incoming attack, which will allow us to push the sword out of the way and then hit them with a mandritto.

What we’ve actually done here is combine 2 of our regular footwork sequences together. The first 2 steps are a regular pass and traverse, however instead of the 3rd step being one where the foot comes behind the traversing foot, we have stepped in an expand & contract sequence with the left traversing foot. The contracting step also allowed us to generate a hard and fast mandritto, due to the hip turn inherent in this step.

Concept 3 – Attack By Second Intention With Tramazzone To Draw Parry – Riposte

From Guardia Alta, cut a tramazzone, ending in Porta di Ferro. The enemy will then throw some blow to your uncovered body, which you will defend by parrying with Guardia di Testa, passing forward with the right foot. Riposte with a mandritto to the face or thigh, warding the head with the buckler. Pass back the right foot to place yourself out of distance.
[Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 3]

The Drill by the Numbers

  1. From Guardia Alta in passo stretto, pass with the right foot throwing tramazzone to the head.
  2. Recover back with the right foot into Porta di Ferro in passo stretto.
  3. As the enemy attacks, punch out into Guardia Testa to parry the blow whilst making a passing step with the right foot.
  4. Riposte with a mandritto to the face or thigh, completing the pass with the left foot.
  5. Pass back with the right foot.

Class Notes

This sequence drilled the basic defence from our Porta di Ferro guard, which is the extension into Guardia di Testa (head guard). We would need to do this if our enemy is quick with a riposte, or we are slow to make our immediate redoubled attack. Manciolino does not tell us if the cut finishes at Porta di Ferro Larga or Porta di Ferro Stretta, and thus we must assume that the defence works from either guardia.

The extension into Guardia di Testa is essentially a punching action out and upwards, with the hand finishing just above the shoulder, and the sword up at 45°, across at 45° and forward at 45°. This creates a defensive ramp above our head with the sword. The buckler hand is held just below the sword so that it protects the sword hand against a mandritto which slips under our sword, and cuts down parallel to the line of our sword. We can also bring the rim of our buckler in contact with the false edge of our forte in front of the sword hand, to support the sword against a strong descending cut. This defensive triangle which it creates is very strong and near unbreakable by a descending cut.

Summary

This Lesson we concentrated on the tramazzone from Guardia Alta. We practised the tramazzone, and then we added the redoubled attack, and finally we looked at the basic defence we can make straight after our tramazzone.

On the footwork side we again practiced our pass, our pass and traverse, and our expand and contract footwork. However we combined the pass & traverse with our expand and contact footwork, to create a pass, traverse and slip sequence. The aim of this was to show how we need to maintain our correct footwork distance so that we can transition between all our different steps at will, without becoming unbalanced.

We also introduced 2 of our basic defensive actions, that being the parry with the buckler, and the parry with the true edge of the sword. Both of these parries were made by extending the hand holding the item into Guardia di Testa. In other words, to defend the head, we extend an item into Guardia di Testa. We also showed how the 2 items can work together as a unit to create a very strong defensive cone against a determined enemy.

Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 6

Introduction

Our work over the last couple of weeks has demonstrated that the descending blows are quite readily defended either with our buckler, or with the sword via Guardia di Testa or the falso parry.

This week we will look at a technique that attacks through the one vulnerable point of all these defences… below the buckler hand.

The key to this is the montante thrust.

The montante is a direct vertically ascending cut with the false edge. The montante thrust uses the same initial mechanics of the montante cut, however it extends into a rising thrust instead of the cut. The key to both actions is that from the point down position, with our sword hand beside the leg, the wrist is used to whip the tip up into line to deliver the blow. This action is also assisted by the forefinger over the cross of the sword.

Concept 1 – Offensive Action Using Montante Thrust

From Guardia Alta, pass right extending a montante thrust that ends in Guardia di Faccia.
[Manciolino Libro 2, 3rd Assault]

Class note

The montante thrust starts with the underarm bowling action, with the sword hand dropping behind and then swinging forward. At the bottom of the arc you will use the wrist to whip the false edge (back edge) through and flicking it up vertically, with the hand finishing completely extended from the shoulder. At the point your hand reaches hip height, the extending arm should be pulling the body forward to make the pass, which extends the montante into a rising thrust to the throat or face. The advantage of this action is that it completely obscures the thrust from the enemy, allowing us to hit in relative safety.

This extended thrust position, with the point in the face is called Guardia di Faccia. Typically you will find the blade passes between the opponent’s hands, nullifying the defence with either hand.

Concept 2 – Counterattack With Thrust On The Retreat

From Guardia Alta, step back with the right foot into large pace and extend a montante thrust, ending in Guardia di Faccia.
(Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 4)

Class Note

The action with the sword is identical to Concept 1, the chief difference is the footwork, and the tempo in response to the opponent’s attack. We use the pass back in this case to clear the body from the incoming blow, and the attacker’s step forward should keep them in distance for our counterattack.

Concept 3 – Offensive Combination Using Montante Thrust, Thrust and Tramazzoni

From Guardia Alta, pass with the left foot throwing a montante thrust that ends at the face. Immediately traverse right and throw a penetrating thrust to the face, redoubling with two tramazzoni to the head, ending in Porta di Ferro Stretta.
[Manciolino Libro 2, 2nd Assault]

Class note

This action builds on the previous one, but uses the pass and traverse footwork instead of the pass footwork. The action starts by delivering the montante thrust on a passing step with the left foot, which is into the area to the inside of the enemy’s buckler. This will draw a response to the enemy’s right to close the space we have attacked into, exposing the space to the outside of the buckler. The second thrust to the face is made using the traversing step with the right foot, and the hand turning from 3rd to 2nd in 3rd (the same hand position we use for our Coda Lunga guards). The tramazzone (circular cut to the head made by rotating at the wrist) is made on the corrective step as the left foot comes behind the right, finishing in Porta di Ferro Stretta (right foot forward, sword hand in 3rd). We only did one tramazzone in the drills, however the manual instructions specify 2 trammazoni to be made.

Concept 4 – Offensive Combination Using Thrust, Riverso and Fendente

From Guardia Alta, pass right, throwing a rising thrust into the enemy’s face. Redouble by slipping your right foot to your left, throwing a riverso ridoppio to the arms. Follow with a fendente to the head that ends in Porta di Ferro Stretta.
[Manciolino Libro 2, 3rd Assault]

Class note

A second variant of our initial concept, but this time using the “expand and contract footwork”. The initial montante thrust attack is made on a passing step with the right foot, as practiced in Concept 1. This should draw the enemy’s equipment to their left, exposing the right flank and arms. The second (redoubled) attack is made by slipping the right foot back to the left and throwing a rising riverso that cuts through the extended arms of the enemy. This rising riverso is really thrown circularly from the wrist like a tramazzone, but in the reverse direction. This cut should return you to the starting Guardia Alta position. In the manual this cut is called riverso ridoppio because it immediately follows the first attack.

We then finish off the enemy by throwing a fendente to the top of their head, stepping forward with the right foot to a wide stance, ending in Porta di Ferro Stretta. Note that during the class we didn’t do the finishing fendente cut as we ran out of time for the class.

Summary

During this class we continued practicing our common basic footwork:

  • The pass (or triangle step)
  • The pass and traverse
  • The expand and contract steps

We also expanded our repertoire with the defensive pass backwards, which puts out of distance of the incoming blow whilst leaving us an opportunity to attack into that incoming blow.

The guards we used this Lesson were:

  • Guardia Alta – our starting guard
  • Guardia di Faccia – our finishing guard in Concept 1 & 2.
  • Porta di Ferro Stretta – our finishing guard in Concepts 3 & 4.

We also concentrated on 3 basic attacks:

  • Montante thrust – a steeply rising thrust that leads with the false edge.
  • Tramazzone – a descending circular cut with the true edge made by turning the wrist, with the arm remaining extended.
  • Rising riverso – a rising true edge cut that cuts from left to right. In this case it was made as a circular wrist cut.

Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 5

Footwork Drill

  1. Passing Left & Passing Right
  2. Passing back
  3. From Guardia Alta, pass with your right foot into large pace, throwing a mandritto to the head ending in Sotto il Bracchio. Redouble with a riverso ending in Coda Lunga Stretta as the left foot comes behind to complete the pass.
  4. From Guardia Alta, pass with your right foot, and throw a mandritto to the leg ending in Sotto il Braccio. Traverse left and throw a riverso to the face, ending in Coda Lunga Alta.
  5. From Guardia Alta, throw a mandritto to the head that ends in Sopra il Braccio. Slip the right foot back to the left, then pass right, lifting the hand into Guardia d’Alicorno and then throwing a mandritto to the face, ending in Sotto il Braccio.
  6. From Guardia Alta, throw a mandritto to the head that ends in Sotto il Braccio. Redouble with a rising riverso to the sword hand ending in Guardia di Testa.

Concept 1 – Gathering Footwork

All our footwork thus far has revolved around the use of passing footwork, with particular emphasis on getting the angled step with the passing step. We mostly do it this way to avoid the direct counter attack, which the geometry of the passing step provides.

To move directly forward, Bolognese swordsmanship employs a very particular style of footwork, based on the gathering step. The gathering step (or gather forward) is where from our passo largo stance we bring the rear foot forwards to the front feet assuming passo stretto. This gather forward brings the feet together, but doesn’t bring the torso into out opponent’s death bubble. This gathering step is then immediately followed by a step forward with out other foot, returning us passo largo. Effectively we have stolen distance with the gathering step, allowing us to quickly punch forward with an attack. This footwork is the foundation of one of the few Bolognese combinations to have it’s own name – elsa e tira (to ward and to throw). Used defensively the sequence is called else e fugie (to ward and overthrow / put to flight)

Gathering Footwork

  1. Gather the rear foot forwards to the front foot, ending in passo stretto. Do not let the body move forwards.
  2. Step forward with the other foot into passo largo.
  3. Continue forwards down the hall. When you reach the far wall, pivot on your feet so that you face the opposite direction.
  4. Repeat the gathering steps back down the hall. (It’s now being done with the opposite feet.)

Elsa e Tira with Gathering Footwork

  1. Start in Porta di Ferro Larga (sword foot forwards, point down with the hand inside the front leg).
  2. Gather forwards with the rear foot throwing falso manco to Guardia Alta in passo stretto. That is a false edge cut travelling up the mandritto cutting line (B to A.)
  3. Step forwards with the front foot, throwing riverso (C to D) to Coda Lunga Stretta.
  4. Gather forwards with the rear foot throwing falso dritto to Guardia Alta (D to C).
  5. Step forwards with the front foot and throw mandritto (A to B) to Porta di Ferro Larga.
  6. Repeat from 1, travelling down the hall.
Cutting-diagram
Figure 1 – Bolognese cutting diagram

Teaching Note

The elsa e tira sequence should be one smooth fluid cutting sequence. The tip of the sword follows the path of a large charity ribbon shape, going up one leg of the ribbon and down the other leg.

The rear foot doesn’t change orientation, but maintains the outwards pointing angle. It also gathers up besides the front foot, not into the heel of the front foot. Remember we are supposed to have some space between the feet in our stances, not heels in line.

Revision Exercise

Buckler Parry

  1. Both start in Guardia Alta in passo stretto. (That is with the feet close together.)
  2. The opponent throws mandritto to the head of the defender on a right pass.
  3. The defender extends the buckler into the opponent’s sword hand on a left passing step, parrying the blow. The forearm should be rotated during the action so that the buckler handle crosses the line of the opponent’s sword as this gives the strongest parry. The buckler thumb is typically at about 2 o’clock.
  4. Repeat 5 times, ensuring the buckler crosses the line of the sword in each instance.
  5. Repeat the sequence with the opponent throwing fendente, riverso and rising riverso with 5 repetitions of each.

Concept 2 – False Edge (Falso) Parries

Falso Parry as an Extension to Guardia di Faccia

  1. Attacker in Guardia Alta, Defender in Porta di Ferro Stretta.
  2. Attacker throws a mandritto to the head on a pass left.
  3. Defender parries by extending into Guardia di Faccia on a pass left, hitting the incoming blade with their false edge. The blade should be angled gently upwards to provide a ramp for the incoming blade to slide down, so that it is stopped by the back arm of the cross. If the timing was right it may also act as an impulse beat, sending the sword away to the outside line.
  4. Repeat 5 times, and then repeat for a fendente thrown from Guardia Alta and a riverso thrown from Sopra il Braccio.

Teaching Note

The action is best thought of as a counterattack to the opponent’s sword hand and right temple. The extension into Guardia di Faccia should bring your sword all the way across so that the false edge (ie back edge) is completely closing your outside line. The step left increases our safety, by moving us away from the outside line, and helps accelerate the sword due to the turn of the hips. This turn, together with the turning of the hand from palm down to palm up during the parry is what makes the increase in tempo necessary to intercept the incoming blade.

Falso Parry as a Transition to Sopra il Braccio

  1. Attacker in Guardia Alta, Defender in Porta di Ferro Stretta.
  2. Attacker throws a mandritto to the head on a pass right.
  3. Defender parries by cutting from right to left with the false edge on a pass left, hitting the incoming blade with their false edge, ending in Sopra il Braccio. The blade should be angled gently upwards to provide a ramp for the incoming blade to slide down, so that it is stopped by the angle between the sword and buckler. If the timing was right it may also act as an impulse beat, sending the sword away to the inside line.
  4. Repeat 5 times, and then repeat for a fendente thrown from Guardia Alta.

Teaching Note

The action really is as simple as just sliding the flat of our sword’s forte across the top edge of the buckler, to transition from Porta di Ferro Stretta to Sopra il Braccio. The idea is to try and whip the back edge tip of the sword into the opponent’s hand or the forte of the sword, and have it travel down their sword towards the tip. This collects the opponents sword and causes it to travel down the defensive ramp to be collected at the intersection of our sword and buckler.

This parry does not work well against the riverso, because of the lack of crossing action against the incoming blow.

Falso Parry From Guardia di Testa with a Slip

  1. Attacker in Guardia Alta, Defender in Guardia di Testa, right foot forward.
  2. Attacker throws a mandritto on a pass right.
  3. Defender parries by slipping the right foot back to the left, bringing the sword vertical and touching the face of the buckler with the false edge in front of the left shoulder. The false edge should catch the incoming blow, trapping it on the intersection of sword and buckler. The sword hand should be below the buckler.
  4. Repeat 5 times, and then repeat for a fendente thrown from Guardia Alta.

Teaching Note

This parry is one I describe as the baby grab parry, and is taken from Manciolino’s first assault. The action of pulling sword and buckler back in front of the left shoulder is the same as when a baby grabs something and pulls it to them. I usually teach this with a call of “Mine” as I make the parry. The sword must be vertical in front of the buckler, and to the left of the boss on the buckler if you have one, so that the inside line is completely closed by the sword and buckler. The slip back is used to increase our safety margin, and to give us a little bit of extra time getting into the parry position. Whilst it may not seem like a transition to a parry as described, it actually continue with the riposte into Sotto il Braccio, riposting from there with either a montante or a rising riverso.

This parry is also not used against the riverso, as we would just parry that with Guardia di Testa, our starting position!

Summary

In this lesson we have seen us use footwork to both move away from the incoming blow, and to choke it up before it comes to full power. We have also used the slip to increase the tempo providing us more time within which to parry.

We have also seen 3 different types of parries, all of which are transitions to one of our known Guardia positions. This is an important concept to understand, as we “must attack to a place we can defend from, and defend from a place we can attack from”. These positions are the starting guardia with which we are familiar.