Category Archives: Sword & Buckler Curriculum

Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 14

Lesson 14 – The Slip

Introduction

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]

The Slip

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]

Class Notes

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]

Class Notes

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]

Class Notes

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.


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Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 13

Lesson 13 –  Falso Parry & Riposte against Thrust & Riverso

Warm Up

  1. Mandritto to Sopra il Braccio & riverso to Coda Lunga from Guardia Alta on a pass left and a pass right.
  2. Mandritto to Sotto il Braccio & rising riverso to Guardia Alta from Guardi Alta on a pass left and right.
  3. Fendente & Tramazzoni from Guardia Alta on a pass left and right.

Revision

Drill 1 – Thrust Provocation to the High Inside

  1. From Porta di Ferro Stretta, attacker throws a thrust to the high inside line.
  2. Defender parries with a falso to Sopra il Braccio.
  3. Attacker redoubles with a riverso to the head on a left pass

Drill 2 – Thrust Provocation to the High Outside Line

  1. From Porta di Ferro, attacker throws a thrust to the high outside line on a left pass.
  2. Defender parries with falso extension to Guardia di Faccia
  3. Attacker redoubles with a mandritto to the head on a traverse right.

Parry Riposte vs Thrust & Riverso

Concept 1 – 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 2 – 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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Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 11

Lesson 11 – The Falso Parry &  Riposte

Revision

  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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Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 12

Lesson 12 – Thrust Provocations

Warm Up Drills

  1. Mandritto to Sopra il Braccio & riverso to Coda Lunga from Guardia Alta on a pass left and a pass right.
  2. Mandritto to Sotto il Braccio & rising riverso to Guardia Alta from Guardi Alta on a pass left and right.
  3. Fendente & Tramazzoni from Guardia Alta on a pass left and right.

Revision

  1. 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 3rd in 4th.
  2. 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.
  3. If the thrust drops to the low inside line, the transition is a point down falso to Sotto il Braccio.

Concept 1 – Thrust Provocation to the High Inside

  1. From Porta di Ferro Stretta, attacker throws a thrust to the high inside line.
  2. Defender parries with a falso to Sopra il Braccio.
  3. Attacker redoubles with a riverso to the head on a left pass

Concept 2 – Thrust Provocation to the High Outside Line

  1. From Porta di Ferro, attacker throws a thrust to the high outside line on a left pass.
  2. Defender parries with falso extension to Guardia di Faccia
  3. Attacker redoubles with a mandritto to the head on a traverse right.

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The False Edge Attack From Coda Lunga Alta

Introduction

Tonight we continued our look at the actions out of Coda Lunga Alta, this time looking at the second most common opening action – the falso. There are 3 possible types of falso that can be thrown from Coda Lunga Alta, which are the falso dritto, the montante, and the falso manco that ends in Guardia di Faccia.

Falso Dritto Actions

The falso dritto actions are really a rising falso that passes partially into Sopra il Braccio. Rather than fully completing the transition into Sopra il Braccio with the sword hand crossing the buckler near the elbow, it only actually crosses near the wrist of the buckler arm.The first action shows us how it can be used to directly attack our opponent's sword hand, which can be reached if the fencers are at wide distance, even though we would have to pass to actually hit the head or body. The second action again uses this rising falso action, but instead is more gainfully employed as a back edge beat against the opponent's sword, which we can then turn into a mandritto to the opened target. The sword movement is best visualised as a path tracing a cone, with the apex centered on the sword hand. Whilst it's possible to still attack the sword hand, the falso has a tendency to catch on the opponent's sword furniture if they respond to the attack and thereby nullifying the posibility of making the redoubled mandritto. This doesn't occur if we attack their sword instead. The final action builds on this but teaches us to use the mandritto feint and riverso, which we can employ against faster or more experienced fencers who are capable of parrying the redoubled mandritto.

Offensive Action Using Falso
Throw a rising falso to the sword hand without moving your feet.
(Manciolino Libro 4, Capitolo 10)

Offensive Combination Using Falso And Mandritto
Pass right throwing a falso on the right step and a mandritto on the left step.
(Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 19)

Offensive Combination Using Falso, Mandritto Feint & Riverso
Pass right throwing a falso on the right step and a mandritto feint but hitting with a riverso on the left step.
(Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 19)

Montante Actions

The montante is a directly ascending false edge cut. Used from Coda Lunga Alta it really acts as a big clearing action, setting us  to follow with a powerful offensive action. The second drill teaches us the safest way to redouble from Guardia Alta, with the tramazzone. The descending false edge turn that starts the tramazzone can create either a powerful intimidating imbroccata-like thrust creating hesitation in our opponent, or deliver a ready made sweeping false edge parry outside our buckler arm. It helps when bringing the hand up to Guardia Alta on the first part to start turning the true edge behind us once we've cleared our opponent's furniture, before we completely enter Guardia Alta. This really accelerates the redouble action with the tramazzone.

Offensive Action Using Montante
Pass forward with your right foot, throwing a montante that goes into Guardia Alta, and then withdraw your right foot near to your left, and you will have furnished the play.
(Manciolino Libro 2, 3rd Assault)

Offensive Combination Using Montante & Tramazzone
Pass right and throw a montante that ends in Guardia Alta on the right step, and a tramazzone that ends in Porta di Ferro Larga on the left step.
(Manciolino Libro 2, 2nd Assault)

Falso into Guardia di Faccia

The falso extension into Guardia di Faccia clears the opponent's sword towards our outside, and pushing it across the face of our opponent. The extension should be more like we are pushing a thrust than as a false edge beat. This thrusting type extension gives us a powerful pressure deflection as we end up pushing our forte onto the opponent's debole, similar to the one we gain the sword in Italian rapier. We get a large lever arm with which to push their sword out of the way. This really pushes them into a position where the only way they can feel safe is to roll their sword hand into Guardia d'Alicorno, which we strongly encourage with our riverso feint. This feint then leaves the opponent's left flank or leg as a vulnerable target within easy reach of our mandritto. The pushing action also sets us up for the riverso feint, which becomes very difficult if we do the extension as a fals edge beat as we have overcommitted the falso action, and placed us in a poor biomechanical position for throwing the riverso feint. Credit goes to Gavin Fuller for noticing the deficiencies of the falso beat action vs the extension with sword pressure. (I never did the action as a beat, so I didn't notice the biomechanical problems it created.)

Offensive Combination Using Falso, Riverso Feint & Mandritto
Pass forward with your right foot, throwing a rising falso that ends in Guardia di Faccia. Immediately redouble with a riverso feint to this right temple, but strike his forward leg with a mandritto that ends in Sotto il Braccio, guarding your head with the buckler.
(Manciolino Libro 2, 3rd Assault)

 

The Bolognese Thrust Provocation from Coda Lunga Alta

We've spent the previous couple of weeks looking at attacking safely out of Porta di Ferro Stretta in sword and buckler and sword alone. Tonight (10 July 2016) we started looking at attacking safely out of Coda Lunga Alta. Where Porta di Ferro Stretta is our primary guardia with the sword foot forward, Coda Lunga Alta fills the same role when the buckler foot is forward.

A properly formed Coda Lunga Alta Guard should close the inside line with the buckler, and the outside line with the sword. As such it also has a very strong conterattacking potential, such that we have attack it with caution. Unlike Porta di Ferro Stretta, Coda Lunga Alta is already primed to deliver a strong cut and a strong thrust. For this reason the dominant attack out of Coda Lunga Alta is the thrust, which we use primarily as a provocation to draw a parry, allowing us to hit the now open line.

Offensive Combination Using Thrust And Riverso
From Coda Lunga Alta, pass right, throwing a thrust on the right step, and a riverso as the left foot comes behind.
(Libro 1, Capitolo 19)

This is the most obvious use of the thrust, which is to the inside line. This draws the parry to the inside, exposing the right side of the head and torso for the riverso. The thrust should be to the face, but don't allow the hand to drift too high (ie above the shoulder) otherwise the cut over action for the riverso has too much of the opponet's sword to avoid. Keeping the hand below the shoulder just requires the debole to avoid the opponent's parry, not the whole sword.

Offensive Combination Using Thrust And Mandritto
From Coda Lunga Alta, pass right, throwing a thrust on the right step, and a mandritto as the left foot comes behind.
(Libro 1, Capitolo 19)

The only real difference here is the line of the thrust, which is now to the outside of the opponent's sword. This draws a parry to the outside exposing the inside line to the redoubled attack. The mandritto typically is to the face or neck of the opponent.

Offensive Combination Using Slip, Thrust And Tramazzone
From Coda Lunga Alta, slip back the left foot, then pass right, throwing a thrust on the right step, and a tramazzone as the left foot comes behind.
(Libro 1, Capitolo 19)

The initial slip here creates an unstable position by bringing the feet into passo stretto. This instability allows us to accelerate the initial passing step, as well as lengthen the possible step we can make. It's useful for varying the speed and measure we use on our initial thrust. The thrust in this particular sequence can be to either the inside or outside of the opponent's sword. If it's to the outside the first part of the tramazzone allows us to pass under the opponent's sword using Guardia d'Alicorno as a transition position. If it's to the inside of the opponent's sword, the initial turn of the tramazzone clears the opponent's sword to out inside via the false edge beat.

In all of the three techniques above, it's vitally important that the provocation thrust is made close to the opponent's sword so that the only option they have is the parry. If we make our provocation thrust wide of their sword we typically won't provoke a parry, we will instead provoke a counterattack which at the very least will lead to a double hit, breaking rule one of any sensible fencing system! (Rule 1 = Don't Get Hit!) The idea of this provocation thrust is to move the opponent's sword of our choosing, removing their freedom of choice on where they should have their sword. This is the essence of rule 2 of any sensible fencing system, controlling the line or opponent's sword on the way in so that we can hit without being hit.

Bolognese Clock Drill – Guardia di Faccia

This is the clock drill for Guardia di Faccia, which will cement the basic defensive options from this guardia.

Basic Clock Drill from Guardia di Faccia

Like all the clock drills we are covering the attacks into all the main quadrants fo the guard, and the basic sequence is as follows:

  1. Opponent attacks with a thrust
  2. Opponent attacks into the low inside line
  3. Opponent attacks into the high inside line
  4. Opponent attacks with a descending vertical attack
  5. Opponent attacks into the high outside line
  6. Opponent attacks into the low outside line

This is the first clock drill to incorporate the thrust as a separate attack to be countered, as the direct thrust becomes a very potent attack when both fencers are in Guardia di Faccia.

Defence Against The Attack With Thrust

  1. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, attacker makes a direct thrust on a step forward
  2. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, defender disengages under the attacker's sword whilst simultaneously making a traverse left with the left foot. As the right foot moves to the left, counterthrust to the face.
    (Right foot either traverses left or passes forward depending on how deep the attacker's step was.)
  3. Attacker takes the hit.
  4. Reset to the beginning.

Source: Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 8

Defence Against The Attack To The Low Inside Line

  1. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, the attacker throws falso dritto to the defender's sword (back beat) to take the tip offline. Whilst the tip is offline they immediately step foward throwing either a thrust in the high inside line or a mandritto to the face.
  2. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, when the defender feels the inital contact of the back beat, they turn their sword hand into second (palm down) to remain secure. The riposte can either be a direct thrust to the face, or if they make a retreating step on the hand turn a direct thrust to the sword hand.

Source: Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 8

Defence Against The Attack To The High Inside Line

  1. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, the attacker lifts their sword hand into Guardia di Testa, and them throws a strong mandritto to the face on a pass right.
  2. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, when the defender sees the attacker lift their hand to cut mandritto, stifle the blow with a thrust to the sword hand.

Source: Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 8

Defence Against The Vertical Descending Attack

  1. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, the attacker turns their sword hand over their buckler arm to throw tramazzone, and as the sword comes forward hits to the top of the head.
  2. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, the defender parries the tramazzone with a falso that turns that well toward the attacker's left side, which will also give him the edge in the face.

Source: Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 8

Defence Against The Attack To The High Outside Line

  1. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, the attacker throws a riverso to the right temple, covering the head with the buckler.
  2. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, the defender extends into Guardia di Testa on a left foot traverse turning towards the incoming blow, riposting with a mandritto that ends in Sopra il Bracchio with the right foot slipping back to the left. Redouble passing left with a rising falso that ends in Guardia di Faccia.

Source: Manciolino Libro 2, 3rd Assault

Defence Against The Attack To The Low Outside Line

  1. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, the attacker throws a rising riverso to the sword hand, covering the head with the buckler.
  2. From Guardia di Faccia in passo stretto, the defender covers the rising riverso by bringing the hands back together into Porta di Ferro Stretta, pointed at the incoming blow.

Source: Manciolino Libro 1, Capitolo 8

Note: This is shown in Manciolino as a counter to the rising riverso feint, which is followed by a mandritto. The actual counter is cover the rising riverso feint and then counterattack the mandritto with a mezzo mandritto to the sword hand.

Bolognese Footwork Forms

This is a Bolognese footwork form, which is used to practice all the basic footwork used in sword and buckler, as well as passing through the guardia used by Manciolino. This form is one of the basic warm up exercises used in my classes at Stoccata Drummoyne.

Basic Footwork Form

  1. Start with the feet together and the hands by side. Step forward with the right foot into Porta di Ferro Stretta.
  2. Pass forward with the left foot into Cinghiara Porta di Ferro.
  3. Step back with the right foot into Coda Lunga Alta.
  4. Pass with the right foot into Coda Lunga Stretta.
  5. Gather the left foot forward into Guardia di Faccia.
  6. Step back with the left foot into Guardia di Testa.
  7. Throw a mandritto passing forward with the left foot into Sopra il Braccio.
  8. Volta stabile right, lifting the sword into Guardia d'Alicorno.
  9. Throw a mandritto passing right into Sotto il Braccio.
  10. Throw a rising riverso slipping the right foot back into Guardia Alta.
  11. Throw a mandritto on a pass right into Porta di Ferro Larga.
  12. Elsa e tira with a gather & step forward into Coda Lunga Larga.
  13. Elsa e tira with a gather step forward into Porta di Ferro Stretta.
  14. Slip back into Guardia di Faccia.
  15. Step back several paces and return to arms by the side

Explanation of the Basic Footwork Form

In steps 1-3, we are making the left pass, and showing how we transition between Porta di Ferro Stretta and Cingiaria Porta di Ferro, followed by the transition into Coda Lunga Alta on the corrective step. No actual cutting actions are made on this part of the basic footwork form.

Steps 4-5 are practicing our basic slope pass footwork, using the right passing step. The expansion into Coda Lunga Stretta shows how the difference between it and Coda Lunga Alta is just the placement of the feet. The gathering of the feet into Guardia di Faccia is one of the common preparation spoiling methods in the system, and is especially useful as a counterattack.

Step 6 is the pass back into Guardia di Testa, which is one of the most common head defences in the system, and this is teaching the simultaneous extension forward with the hand and behind with the foot that makes this action so successful as a parry.

Steps 7-9 is a variation of the redouble mandritto, using the volta stabile transition to link the two cuts together. The first mandritto teaches the basic mandritto cut to Sopra il Braccio, reinforcing the half turn of the buckler hand to allow this cut to be easily done. The transition to Guardia d'Alicorno teaches the use of coiling and uncoiling actions that can be initiated with the use of a volta stabile to enable powerful blow generation. We finish in Sotto il Braccio, emonstarting how these two guardie are achieved with the mandritto cut, and the choice of finish is just determined by whether you cut above or below your sword hand.

Steps 10-11 is teaching contract and expand footwork, as well as linking together two common full cuts, the rising riverso and the mandritto. The sequence is also teaching the idea that Guardia Alta is a position to transition through instead of using it as a starting point.

Steps 12 -13 practice the elsa e tira actions, first with the cuts to the right and then the cuts to the left, using the gathering step footwork. This footwork is the preferred method of closing in on an opponent, and coupled with the rising falso cut on the gathering step, followed by the descending cut on the forward step is an excellent inimidation tool. The second set finishes in Porta di Ferro Stretta as a method of teaching blade control, as it's important to be able to arrest the full cuts with the sword in presence.

Steps 14-15 is the most common retreating technique shown in the manual. The extended point in Guardia di Faccia is a deterrent to any opponent closing in on you, and coupled with the retreating steps is teaching the idea of getting out of measure before you relax. We don't want to relax in measure, as this is a sure way to get hit.

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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