All posts by Richard

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.


Previous | Sword & Buckler Curriculum | Next

Spadone – Lesson 7

Class Overview

This week we concentrated on turning the cut into a thrust, as a 2nd intention attack. We define this as 2nd intention, because we intend to complete the first offensive action. The intention of our first action is to draw the appropriate response, setting the opponent up for our second attack which will be the thrust.

For our revision drills, we worked on the tondi cuts, and our 3 direction cuts for controlling space. Where before all our drills have been repetition of the same cut, the 3 direction cutting drill this time works through 3 different cuts, teaching us to use them in combination.

Tondi (Helicopter) Cuts Line Drill

  1. Both start in Right Guard, Point Behind.
  2. Attacker throws a mandritto tondo to the temple on a right step.
  3. Defender parries by stepping back with the left foot into Left Head Guard.
  4. Attacker throws a riverso falso tondo to the temple on a left step.
    Defender parries by stepping back with the right foot into Right Head Guard.
  5. Continue down the hall throwing the mandritti and riversi cuts above. At the end of the hall switch roles and come back to the start.
  6. Repeat from the beginning but this time throwing mandritto falso tondi and riverso tondi.

Class Notes

The tondi cuts are thrown high with the hands above the head and with the sword angled downwards. The sword turns horizontally above the head during the steps hitting with the true edge on one side of the opponent’s head and then the false edge on the other side of the head. This horizontal turn of the sword over the head is why colloquially call it the helicopter cuts, as the sword blade turns like a rotating helicopter blade.

The mandritto falso tondo is slightly counterintuitive, but the trick is in understanding the leading hand position on the first cut from Right Guard, Point Behind. In the starting grip, the thumb of the leading (right) hand should be in line with the flat of the blade. As the hands lift up and forward, we turn the right hand anti-clockwise, so that the thumb is under the sword and the sword will now be cutting forward with the false edge. We then just keep the thumb underneath during the forward stepping, which delivers good supported tondi cuts on both sides

3 Step Cutting Group Drill, Part 2

  1. Begin in groups of 4, with one person in the center, and 3 people around them.
  2. The center person throws a rising mandritto, a mandritto tondo and a mandritto, each on a right step working around the circle.
  3. The 3 defenders parry as appropriate. (They are a focus target only)
  4. Attacker repeats with a rising riverso, a riverso tondo and a riverso, each on a left step.
  5. Repeat the sequence from 1.
  6. Change roles and repeat with each member of the group taking the place of the attacker.

Class Notes

The key to each of these cuts is to practice cutting through the target. After the initial cut we need to pull the sword through the opposing parry, turning the sword over the head to maintain our momentum, and as preparation for the next cut. Allowing the sword to be stopped during the 3 way cutting is a sure way to be killed off and unprepared for defending ourselves. As well as freeing the sword from the parry, pulling the cut through and turning the sword over the head is great intimidation of our opponents, who will fear closing in on the sole wielder as the sword is always in motion.

Thrust on 2nd Intention Partner Drill

(Alfieri Chapter 10)

  1. Both start in Right Guard, Point Behind.
  2. Attacker throws a mandritto on a right step to the head.
  3. Defender parries with Left Head Guard, turning the vita into the parry with a volta stabile.
  4. Attacker rolls the hands up anti-clockwise to deliver an imbroccata to the head, lengthening the right step into a lunge.
  5. Repeat 5 times then switch roles.
  6. Switch to Left Guard, Point Behind, throwing riverso and rolling up clockwise to deliver an imbroccata to the head on a left step.
  7. Repeat 5 times each.

Thrust in 2nd Intention on a Pass Partner Drill

  1. Both start in Right Guard, Point Behind.
  2. Attacker throws a mandritto on a right pass to the head.
  3. Defender parries with Left Head Guard, turning the vita into the parry with a volta stabile.
  4. Attacker rolls the hands up anti-clockwise to deliver an imbroccata to the head, whilst completing the corrective step.
    Repeat 5 times then switch roles.
  5. Switch to Left Guard, Point Behind, throwing riverso and rolling up clockwise to deliver an imbroccata to the head on a left pass.
  6. Repeat 5 times each.

Thrust in Low Line on 2nd Intention Partner Drill

  1. Both start in Right Guard, Point Behind.
  2. Attacker throws a rising mandritto on a right step to the flank.
  3. Defender parries with rising mandritto, turning the vita into the parry with a volta stabile.
  4. Attacker rolls the hands up anti-clockwise to deliver a stoccata to the belly, lengthening the right step into a lunge.
  5. Repeat 5 times then switch roles.
  6. Switch to Left Guard, Point Behind, throwing rising riverso and rolling up clockwise to deliver a stoccata to the belly on a left step.
  7. Repeat 5 times each.

Thrust in Low Line 2nd Intention on a Pass Partner Drill

  1. Both start in Right Guard, Point Behind.
  2. Attacker throws a rising mandritto on a right pass to the flank.
  3. Defender parries with a rising mandritto, turning the vita into the parry with a volta stabile.
  4. Attacker rolls the hands up anti-clockwise to deliver a stoccata to the belly, whilst completing the corrective step.
  5. Repeat 5 times then switch roles.
  6. Switch to Left Guard, Point Behind, throwing riverso and rolling up clockwise to deliver an stoccata to the belly on a left pass.
  7. Repeat 5 times each.

Class Notes

In each of the 4 drills above, the footwork facilitates a forward movement of our sword, providing us the space to turn around the opponent’s forte to deliver the thrust.

In the first drill variant using Alfieri’s actual footwork description, it’s best to think of the foot work as a forward step followed by a lunge. This incease in pace using the lunge is what provides us the space to turn our sword through for the lunge.

In the second drill variant, we use the geometry of the angled passing footwork to provide the space for use to turn the sword through on the thrust. That geometrical advantage comes from the corrective step of the passing footwork, which aligns us at an angle to the opponent, instead of face on.


Previous | Curriculum Index | Next

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.

Expectations of a good training partner

A large part of the classes conducted at Stoccata (and most fencing clubs for that matter) rely on learning through partner drills. The following are the list of attributes I expect to find in an excellent drilling partner:

  • Understands they are a partner not an opponent
  • Performs each action correctly
  • Gives the right cues
  • Sticks to the drill
  • Looks for mistakes to help their partner
  • Drills at the right tempo for their partner
  • Communicates with their partner
  • Doesn’t try to beat the drill
  • Drills with control

Having a good partner in a can make or break your ability to learn, and conversely being a good drilling partner can help the both of you in the drill learn much faster. Let’s have a look at why these attributes are important, and why need to instil them as a habit in our drilling practices.

Understands they are a partner not an opponent

A partner drill is a cooperative exercise, where you work with your partner to learn the correct technical or tactical action the drill is designed to teach. All too often, people perform drills as if they are fights to be won, not exercises. The only way to win a drill is to perform it properly.

The key to this success is you need to be a partner not an opponent in the drill. If you don’t hold up your side of the drill so that your partner can perform the action correctly, how can you expect them to learn good technique? More importantly, how can you expect them to do the drill properly for you if you won’t reciprocate? If you work as a partnership you’ll find drilling much more rewarding and enjoyable because you’ll earn the benefits of that cooperation through becoming a better fencer. This really is the core attribute, the rest are details about how to be a cooperative drilling partner.

Performs each action correctly

Drills by their nature are repetitive which can become boring, especially if you’re the one getting hit in the drill. However, if you don’t perform your actions properly the drill will rapidly fall apart. Let’s look at a parry – riposte drill. You throw a cut at the head for the opponent to parry and then hit you on the riposte. However, if you throw a sloppy flat cut instead of the correct descending angle, or off target at say the arm, or one that falls short, your partner can’t parry this action and they actually learn nothing in the drill.

So what is the answer? When you are the attacker, throw the correct blow with correct technique. Use this time as an opportunity to practice correct cutting technique, with correct line, angle and technique. If you do the right action and your opponent gets hit they learn that they just made a mistake which can be corrected. If you flub your action, how are they supposed to learn what they did was wrong? Ancillary to this is making sure you drill from the right distance for the actions involved. Don’t be too far away where all your blows fall short, or too close where you don’t have the time and space to do the right actions.

The other thing to consider is that the human body learns through repetition. Each time you repeat an action you reinforce the neural pathway in the brain, speeding up the routine response, especially in the pressure situation of a fencing bout. However, if you repeatedly perform the action wrong, you set down the wrong neural pathway and in a pressure situation you will revert to this incorrect technique, which will usually mean you are going to get hit! Drill as if your life depended on it, and always use the correct technique.

Gives the right cues

A part of drilling is feeding cues to your partner to initiate an action from them. The success or failure of the drill can depend on whether you feed them the right cue or not. Lets look at an example from an Italian rapier drill for gaining the sword. The leading partner presents their point via an extension of the arm, inviting the defender to gain the sword in the correct line. For the purposes of the drill we present that tip around the hilt of the sword on the 4 diagonal lines no more than the width of your palm away from your partner’s sword hilt, and threatening to hit the body. If we do this the partner can easily make a proper gain of the sword, and hit with the appropriate thrust. However, if we do the gain off target, or too far away from the hilt, our partner learns to reach for the sword or to gain when they should have just hit with a direct thrust, all of which are bad habits. Bad habits come back to bite us hard in fencing bouts.

Again think cooperatively and think about the purpose of your action so that you can do it properly to maximise the learning process. In the case of the example above, I think of it as practice presenting the tip to invite my partner to gain my sword. If I practice that and get it right, I’m learning how to set them up for a killer attack via disengage!

Sticks to the drill

One of the most annoying things I can ever hear in a drill as a partner or instructor is “but in a real fight I’d do…” This sort of comment reveals that this person is trying to win the drill. A drill can have many different purposes, some obvious and some not so obvious. A drill can be teaching a technique, or a tactic, or it could just be an exercise to warm you up or increase flexibility, reaction speed or precision. The other one thing that really annoys me is the partner that never lets you hit them. If you always don’t hit your opponent, you never learn what it means to hit with correct technique, or the right distance for it and you never learn how much force you deliver! Come bouting time, what you find is when you do use the technique and you do actually hit, the blow takes their head off, or you sit there posing asking to be hit by a redouble. We encourage students to wear padding on mask and body during drills, not so that you don’t get hurt but so that your partner can learn proper technique and blow calibration without the fear of hurting you.

To master any activity, it has been calculated it takes about 10,000 hours of mindful diligent practice. The mindful diligent practice is the key. We must concentrate on getting and performing better, but if we go off drill we won’t be learning what the drill is supposed to teach. We are short cutting our learning experience time, and as a consequence stunting our growth as a fencer. Long term success as a fencer requires depth of technique and knowledge and doing all your drills properly is how we achieve that long term success goal.

Looks for mistakes to help their partner

How can we improve if we don’ know we are making a mistake? Providing feedback on mistakes to a partner is the fastest way to help them improve. As well as throwing all your actions correctly, look for why your partner is not succeeding. Typically it is poor footwork, body alignment or sword angle that are the main culprits. When they step, are they keeping knee in line with foot? Are they turning the hips throwing their body alignment out? On cuts look to make sure they cut at the right angle as this is usually the biggest mistake. Are they hunching their shoulder? This leads to short blows and stiff arm actions.

The other point about feedback is get the gross motor actions right first before you worry about the fine motor skills. Also, no more than 2 corrections per repetition otherwise the feedback will overwhelm and destroy the confidence of your partner. Don’t forget, you want your partner to do this for you when it’s your turn doing the drill. Remember what we said about cooperation?

Drills at the right tempo for their partner

If you can always throw a blow so fast that your partner never parries it, will they learn anything? Have you achieved anything beyond proving your superiority? Not really, as all you’ve done is taught your partner that you are a right bastard no one wants to drill with.

In any drill, we can do our bit so slowly that our partner always succeeds, or so fast they can never succeed or at a speed that challenges their ability forcing them to concentrate on using correct technique so that they can succeed. This last one is the tempo we should aim for in all our actions. We learn best when we are challenged, because this puts us into a mindful diligent practice mindset, which is the mindset where maximum learning occurs. If we go too slow they aren’t challenged and operate on reflex not in a learning condition. If we go to fast, they operate in panic and flinch reflex, again a non-learning condition. We want the learning mindset, and when we are there we can gradually increase the speed as they learn until they can drill the action at a proper bouting speed. The speed will come but we need to help them get there.

So during the drill, watch for your partner’s reactions. Is it a bored rote response, a thoughtful response or a flinch response? Adjust till you get the thoughtful response.

Communicates with their partner

In all of the attributes so far, notice how we need to work with our opponent? This all falls apart if we don’t communicate with our partner. If they go too fast, ask them to slow down. If you keep getting it wrong, ask for feedback. If you see the wrong action happening in a drill, tell your partner. The whole section about looking for mistakes relies on communication between partners. A silent unresponsive partner is nothing more than a flesh covered pell, which can help you improve, but will never help you get over the most obvious mistake. You’re there to cooperate, and that relies on communication.

Doesn’t try to beat the drill

The only way to win a drill is to do it right! We’ve all experienced the drilling partner who has to always be the one getting the hit, and how frustrating an experience that really is. Drills are not played for points, they are exercises you use to learn technique and tactics. I’ve already given numerous examples of how people can try to win drills, so I won’t repeat them here. You win the drill when both you and your partner can do the actions properly, with good tempo and control.

Drills with control

Nothing puts me off drilling faster than a partner who wails on me like I’m a pinata, or a tent peg to be driven into the ground. This sort of attitude shows a complete disrespect for your drilling partner and really is not acceptable. Your actions should not ever injure your opponent in a drill, and they should most definitely not get concussion because of your actions. Our aim in a drill is to improve the ability of both our partner and ourselves. This requires control of ourselves and our weapon so that we can both learn in a safe, cooperative controlled environment. The aspect people most forget is that to fence with correct actions, we must also fence with control otherwise all we’re doing is going through the motions with brute force.

So in summary, be the sort of training partner you expect to have facing you. Use your drilling time as a time for thoughtful, mindful diligent practice, and you will develop and progress far beyond what you thought you were capable of. Working together with your drilling partner you can both become the kick-ass fencers you want to be.

Spadone – Lesson 6

Cut and Recover to Hanging Guard Partner Drill

  1. Partner drill, both in Right Guard, Point Forward.
  2. Attacker throws mandritto without moving the feet.
  3. Defender parries with Right Hanging Guard, and ripostes with mandritto.
  4. Attacker parries with Right Hanging Guard, and ripostes with mandritto.
  5. Repeat from 1, 5 times each.
  6. Switch to Left Guard, point Forwards and repeat the sequence throwing riverso with recovery to Left Hanging Guard.

4 Cuts Line Partner Drill

  1. Partner drill, attacker back to wall, defender facing wall.
  2. Attacker steps forward cutting the 4 true edge cuts (mandritto, riverso, rising mandritto, rising riverso).
  3. Defender retreats parrying with the 4 true edge cuts.
  4. Switch roles at the end of the hall.

3 Step Cutting Group Drill

  1. Begin in groups of 4, with one person in the center, and 3 people around them.
  2. The center person throws 3 mandritti, each on a right step working around the circle.
  3. The 3 defenders parry with Left Head Guard. (They are a focus target only)
  4. Attacker repeats with 3 riversi, each on a left step, then 3 rising mandritti on a right step, finishing with 3 rising riversi on a left step.
  5. Change roles and repeat with each member of the group taking the place of the attacker.

Note: This is Alfieri’s instructions from Chapter 16 on how to wield a spadone in an open street,

Counterattacks to the hand / forearm

  1. Partner Drill, each in Right Guard Point Forward.
  2. Attacker throws a mandritto to the head on a right step.
  3. Defender counterattacks with a mandritto to the forearms on a pass right at 45°.
  4. Repeat 5 times each.
  5. Repeat the sequence, starting from Left Guard , Point Forward, and throwing riversi.

Counterattacks to the Head

  1. Partner Drill, each in Right Guard Point Forward.
  2. Attacker throws a mandritto to the head on a right step.
  3. Defender counterattacks with a mandritto tondo (helicopter cut)to the head on a pass right at 45°.
  4. Repeat 5 times each.
  5. Repeat the sequence, starting from Left Guard , Point Forward, and throwing riversi.

Previous | Curriculum Index | Next

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.

Spadone – Lesson 5

Introduction

This was a consolidation lesson, to start putting a lot of the solo drills we have been doing into context, demonstrating how much space they actually control. The drills are all mostly actions done as solo drills, but now we’re performing them as partner drills

4 Cuts Partner Drill

  1. Partner drill, attacker back to wall, defender facing wall.
  2. Attacker steps forward cutting the 4 true edge cuts (mandritto, riverso, rising mandritto, rising riverso).
  3. Defender retreats parrying with the 4 true edge cuts
    Switch roles at the end of the hall

Note: The attacker is using Alfieri’s basic techniques on wielding the sword from Chapter 7, and the defender is using the Alfieri’s parrying technique from Chapter 20.

Pass & Turn Target Drill

  1. Drill in groups of 3, with attacker in centre.
  2. Attacker works through the pass and turn drill (see Spadone – Lesson 1), working through the 4 true edge cuts.
  3. Defenders at either end parry using Head Guard or rising cuts. Defender will have to correct the distance when the attacker switches which foot is stepping.
  4. Switch roles after the attacker has done all 4 cuts, and continue until all 3 partners have been the attacker.

Note: This is demonstrating Alfieri’s technique from Chapter 8, how to defend oneself in an ordinary street.

Redoubled Cut Drill with Partner

  1. Partner drill, attacker back to the wall, defender facing wall.
  2. Attacker steps forward with the right foot throwing redoubled mandritti (see Spadone – Lesson 3).
  3. Defender steps back with the left foot parrying with Head Guard then Hanging Guard.
  4. Repeat, using redoubled riversi on a left step forwards, and the defender stepping back with the right foot.
  5. Continue until you reach the end of the hall them switch roles moving back to the start.

Cut and Recover to Hanging Guard

  1. Partner drill, both in Right Guard, Point Forward.
  2. Attacker throws mandritto without moving the feet.
  3. Defender parries with Right Hanging Guard, and ripostes with mandritto.
  4. Attacker parries with Right Hanging Guard, and ripostes with mandritto.
  5. Repeat 5 times each.
  6. Switch to Left Guard, point Forwards and repeat the sequence throwing riverso with recovery to Left Hanging Guard.

Serpentine Cuts as Parry Riposte

  1. Paired drill, both starting in Right Guard, Point Behind.
  2. Attacker steps in throwing mandritto to the head.
  3. Defender parries with Left Head Guard, and then ripostes with riverso to the head. This action makes the tip of the sword travel in an S-shape, and hence is called a serpentine.
  4. Repeat 5 times then switch roles.
  5. Repeat the sequence for riverso, rising mandritto and rising riverso with each blow being countered by serpentine parry riposte. Note the rising cut riposte is to the lower body.

REMINDER:
Next week everyone needs to bring vambraces


Previous | Curriculum Index | Next

Spadone – Lesson 4

A Discussion About Safety

You’ll notice this has taken more than a week after the lesson was given for me to actually post the lesson notes. A large part of this is I’ve been feeling very reluctant to do so after I found out one of the students ended up with concussion following the class, and a couple others have complained about headaches. Naturally this has left me quite despondent, and very very very annoyed. I don’t teach this sort of stuff so that people can be injured.

This class is the first time we actually start doing partner drills, where we actually make contact with the sword. For the classes at Stocatta we’ve been using wooden dowels and modified shinai as spadone simulators. Instructions for how to make a spadone simulator out of a shinai can be found on the Stocatta website. Regardless of whether it was stick or shinai, the blows were coming in very hard it seems.

The spadone is a massive power weapon, with a brutal lever action to amplify the power. As a consequence, training with this stuff needs to be done carefully and with good technique, not muscle and strength. When working with a partner in these drills the idea is to deliver the blow safely with controlled technique, not with force sufficient to hammer them into the ground. Also, forget about speed as that will come in time of it’s own accord. Trying to do everything quickly leads to mistakes in the drills and injury to yourself or your partner. The key to doing this safely is a light grip that allows you much better feedback on the impact strength. The other side of this is you need to communicate with your training partner, providing feedback on their blow strength, or asking about how your blows felt. Get this right with the lighter simulators and when it comes to using steel weapons you’ll find it much easier to manage, and ultimately much safer. We’re looking to harness the momentum of the weapon to deliver our cuts, not get a power lifting workout muscling the damn sword through the drills.

For the love of swordsmanship, keep it safe, respect the weapon and more importantly respect your partner.

Revision

  1. 8 cuts drill (see Spadone – Lesson 2)
  2. Pass and turn drill (see Spadone – Lesson 2)
  3. Thrust, Cut and recover to Hanging Guard
    (see Spadone – Lesson 3)

Cut and Recover to Hanging Guard Partner Drill

  1. Partner drill, both in Right Guard, Point Forward.
  2. Attacker throws mandritto without moving the feet.
  3. Defender parries with Right Hanging Guard, and ripostes with mandritto.
  4. Attacker parries with Right Hanging Guard, and ripostes with mandritto.
  5. Repeat 5 times each.
  6. Switch to Left Guard, Point Forwards and repeat the sequence throwing riverso with recovery to Left Hanging Guard.

Serpentines as Parry Riposte Partner Drill

  1. Paired drill, both starting in Right Guard, Point Behind.
  2. Attacker steps in throwing mandritto to the head.
  3. Defender parries with Left Head Guard, and then ripostes with riverso to the head. This action makes the tip of the sword travel in an S-shape, and hence is called a serpentine.
  4. Repeat 5 times then switch roles.
  5. Repeat the sequence for riverso, rising mandritto and rising riverso with each blow being countered by serpentine parry riposte. Note the rising cut riposte is to the lower body.

Thrust Feint and Circular Cut Partner Drill

  1. Partner drill both starting in Right Guard, Point Forward.
  2. Attacker leans forward extending imbrocatta.
  3. Defender parries with Left Head Guard.
  4. Attacker eludes the parry by dropping the tip and turning a circular mandritto to the head on a right step.
  5. Repeat 5 times then swap roles.
  6. Repeat sequence from Left Guard throwing imbrocatta and riverso.

Previous | Curriculum Index | Next

Bolognese Sword & Buckler Curriculum – Lesson 4

Footwork Drills

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

Revision of Week 3

  1. Both starting in Guardia Alta, attacker throws mandritto to the head on a right pass, which the opponent parries with the buckler on a left pass. Repeat for fendente, riverso and rising riverso. 5 repetitions each for each cut.
  2. Attacker in Guardia Alta, defender in Guardia di Testa. Attacker throws a mandritto on a right pass, which the defenders parries by stepping in with a left pass and intercepting the blow in Guardia di Testa. Repeat for fendente and riverso, with 5 repetitions for each cut.
  3. Note that the riverso is thrown from Sopra il Braccio and the rising riverso is thrown from Sotto il Braccio during these drills. Neither of these 2 cuts are described as being thrown from Guardia Alta, so for pedagogy reasons we won’t do so either as it will encourage bad habits.
Marozzo1536_Cap010-Guardia-Alta
Guardia Alta

 

Defence Of Head Blow With Falso

Whereas the parry with the sword last week using the true edge was fairly easy, it has an integral vulnerability, that being the forefinger is exposed to the cut, especially on the earlier simple hilted swords typically used at the start of the 16th century. The parry with the false edge however protects the sword hand behind the cross and is therefore preferred by the Bolognese Swordsmanship authors.

The false edge parry is best understood not as a parry but as a counterattack to the opponent’s sword hand or face. By emphasising it as a counterattack, the student will automatically learn to close the line in the parry with an extended arm, which creates a cone of protection with the hilt and forte of the sword. Experience has shown that when students think of the action as a parry they will do so too close to the body and still get hit by the oppponent.

For this lesson we are going to practice 2 of the common false edge parries. The first is the transition from Sopra il Braccio to Guardia di Faccia, which will deflect the incoming blow towards our outside. The second is the transition from Guardia Alta to Guardia d’Alicorno.

Drill 1 – Stresso Tempo Counterattack from Sopra il Braccio On The Pass

The Action as Described by Manciolino

(From Sopra il Braccio) As your enemy passes to your left to cut riverso to your face, cut with the false edge to his right temple, defending the head with your buckler.
[Libro 1, Capitolo 10]

The Drill

  1. Attacker starts in Guardia Alta, and defender starts in Sopra il Braccio, sword foot forward.
  2. Attacker throws mandritto to the head on a right pass.
    Defender throws a falso to the right temple or sword hand of the attacker, ending in Guardia di Faccia. The blow should be parried during the transition to Guardia di Faccia, deflecting the blow to the defender’s outside.
  3. Repeat 5 times than swap roles.
  4. Repeat the sequence but instead using a fendente and then a riverso.

Teaching Note

  1. The parry generally intercepts the opponent’s sword at the forte with the debole, and cuts up their blade to the tip during the deflection action. This creates a change of direction, forcing the blow to pass over the head to the outside before the blow connects with the defender’s head.
  2. The success of the action relies on the turn of the hand, where it translates from palm down to palm up to hit with the false edge. This rotation of the hand accelerates the blade’s motion forward, allowing us to successfully deflect the incoming blade. This is how we manage to intercept the incoming sword, even though we moved second.
  3. Don’t think of it as a parry. Think of it as a counterattack to the attacker’s face, and the deflection is a side effect of this action.

Drill 2 – Stresso Tempo Counterattack from Guardia Alta

The Action as Described by Manciolino

(From Guardia Alta ) When the enemy throws the head blow, meet his sword hand with a falso crossed over your arm. (ie Roll into Guardia d’Alicorno)
(Libro 1, Capitolo 3)

The Drill

  1. Attacker and Defender both start in Guardia Alta.
  2. Attacker throws mandritto to the head on a right pass.
  3. The Defender turns their palm outwards, and then flicks the false edge downwards aiming to hit the sword hand on the inside of the sword hand wrist, ending in Guardia d’Alicorno. This can be done stationary (emergency parry) or on a right pass (typical parry). The cut to the wrist will either connect, or create a false edge deflection of the enemy’s sword outside our buckler arm.
  4. Repeat 5 times than swap roles.
  5. Repeat the sequence but instead using a fendente and then a riverso.

Teaching Note

  1. Like the previous drill, this works best if you think of it as a counterattack to the opponent’s sword hand. The key is to turn the palm to the outside, and then use the forefinger over the cross to whip the back edge down.
  2. Passing right is the optimal solution, as this also clears the body off the line of the attack whilst the sword comes into defend.
  3. If the false edge parry comes through early, we still have Guardia d’Alicorno to defend ourselves.