Giganti Lesson 8 – Counterpostures

Warm ups

  1. Footwork Drill
  2. Lunge practice

Review Lesson 7

  1. Feint to the Inside
  2. Feint to the Outside
  3. Feint High to Hit Low

Counterpostures and Coming to Measure

All the drill work thus far has been done from a set measure, which is an artificial scenario to allow the student to learn the basic technical skills. This lesson we start teaching the concept of measure and the concept of coming into measure behind a closed line so that the fencer can not be attacked as they come into distance.

Concept 1 – Measure

Measure is the the distance from our opponent, and is measured by our ability to perform an attacking action. The different distances of measure are:

  1. Narrow measure
    Where we can hit our opponent without moving our feet. This is the most dangerous measure to be sitting in.
  2. Wide measure
    Where we can hit our opponent on a lunge or passing step.
  3. Out of measure
    Where we have to make 2 or more steps to hit our opponent.

Advanced Distance Drill

  1. With sword in hand, have the drill pairs come to wide measure. One of the partners will be designated as the leader, the other as the follower.
  2. The leader will move linearly with forward or backwards steps, and the follower shall endeavour to maintain the distance.
  3. As the competency progresses, passing steps shall be added, and the lunge shall be added. The call to lunge shall be called by the drill instructor, or as an invitation by the leader.
  4. Repeat but change the set distance to out of distance and repeat. On the distance check the lunge should fall short.
  5. Repeat, changing the distance to close distance.

Concept 2 – Coming Into Measure

Coming into Measure Using the Gain

  1. Both fencers begin out of distance in Guardia Terza.
  2. Gain to the high inside line to cover the line coming into wide measure, such that the opponent cannot hit you without performing the cavazione.
  3. At wide measure the opponent will lunge to confirm the gaining fencer has completely closed the line.
  4. Repeat using a gain to the high outside line.

Coming into Measure Using Line Closure

  1. Both fencers begin out of distance in Guardia Terza.
  2. Turn the hand into 4th in 3rd to cover the high inside line coming into wide measure, such that the opponent cannot hit you without performing the cavazione.
  3. At wide measure the opponent will lunge to confirm the fencer has completely closed the line.
  4. Repeat by turning the hand into 2nd in 3rd to close the high outside line.

Teaching Note

The above two drills can be used with footwork variations that allow you to close the line safely.

  1. Gather with the back foot
  2. Passing step

The above drills are done in two parts. The first part is using the gain to demonstrate how to come into wide measure using a concept the student already knows. The gain however is not the preferred method to come into measure from out of distance as it provides far too much information to the opponent regarding out intentions. The closure of the line by turning the hand is by far the preferred option due to the subtlety of the action. The much smaller action minimises the information provided to the opponent, preventing them from reacting effectively to the approaching fencer.


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