Giganti Lesson 7 – The Feint

Warm ups

  1. Hand Weight Exercises
  2. Translate & Turn
  3. Distance Drill

Review Lesson 6

  • The Contracavazione to the inside
  • The Contracavazione to the outside

The Feint


The feint uses the cavazione to redirect the tip of our sword out of the line of the opponent’s parry. By threatening an attack to one part of the opponent’s body, we are able to place them in obedience to our intentions, and thus hit them in the place opened up by their obedience. Unlike the earlier actions which rely on 2 tempos to complete the action, the feint is effectively a single tempo action.

Feint to Hit on the Inside

  1. Starting from Terza Guardia with the sword point on the inside of the opponent’s blade, extend the sword arm whilst making a cavazione to bring the sword tip to just outside the opponent’s sword hilt. The point must be in front of the hilt such that the opponent must extend their hand to gain your sword on their outside.
  2. The opponent will feel threatened, and should respond by extending their arm to parry / gain the sword on the outside.
  3. As the opponent extends their arm, cavazione back to the inside extending to hit the opponent in the face or chest. As you are extending for the hit, the sword hand should turn into 4th to completely close the inside line, preventing the opponent from getting a double hit.

Teaching Note

The key to the success of the technique is to perform the cavazione back to the inside without allowing the opponent to contact your blade. With the tip in front of the hilt (generally about 10-15 cm, or simply put the width of your palm) you only need to cavazione around the blade, which is a very small action. The fencer should not be making their cavazione around the outside of the opponent’s hilt, as this is too slow and too large a movement. The turning of the hand into 4th should begin just as the tip comes past the hilt of the opponent. If you turn the hand before that position, the point will usually catch on the hilt furniture.

The feint should be made with intention such that it will draw a response. The fencer must make it look like they are trying to hit with a cavazione attack. The quick extension and precise placement of the tip helps sell the action, as well as trigger the opponent’s automatic response to parry / gain the sword.

The feet do not move to hit on the lunge, until we have completed the cavazione to the inside. If you move forward with the feint, you will entangle your point on the opponent’s hilt, as well as place yourself in a position where you can easily be hit by your opponent.

This action is also called a 1-2 attack because to the sequence (1 = feint, 2 = hit)

Feint to Hit on the Outside

  1. Starting from Terza Guardia with the sword point on the outside of the opponent’s blade, extend the sword arm whilst making a cavazione to bring the sword tip to just inside the opponent’s sword hilt. The point must be in front of the hilt such that the opponent must extend their hand to gain your sword on their inside.
  2. The opponent will feel threatened, and should respond by extending their arm to parry / gain the sword on the inside.
  3. As the opponent extends their arm, cavazione back to the outside extending to hit the opponent in the face or chest. As you are extending for the hit, the sword hand should turn into 2nd to completely close the outside line, preventing the opponent from getting a double hit.

Teaching Note

The same principles apply as the feint to hit on the inside, just reneber that the control of the fight is maintained by turning the true edge towards the opponent’s sword as we transition from the feint to the attack. The key difference here is that the tip must travel a little bit further in the cavazione to get around the forearm of the opponent’s sword arm. This is the reason we teach this feint second, as it is more technically demanding than the feint t hit to the inside.

Feint High to Hit Low

  1. Starting from Terza Guardia, you can extend the tip to either the inside or outside of the opponent’s sword hand, so that they feel threatened and will begin the corresponding gain of your sword.
  2. As the opponent moves to parry / gain the sword, cavazione to the low line and lunge to hit the belly in the low line. As you make the lunge, close the line of the opponent’s sword using the offhand.

Feint Low to Hit High

  1. Starting from Terza Guardia, you can extend the tip to either the low inside or low outside of the opponent’s sword hand, so that they feel threatened and will begin the corresponding gain of your sword.
  2. As the opponent moves to parry / gain the sword, cavazione to the low line and lunge to hit the chest in the low line. As you make the lunge, close the line of the opponent’s sword using the offhand.

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