Second Drill Counter-Remedy

The second sword drill begins with a regular cleaving blow as the attack and a sottani blow from dente di cinghiaro (I’ve finally learned to spell that correctly!) as the parry. I’ve described this as “simple and understandable”. The rest of the drill is the opposite.

So, how does one defend against a parry from dente di cinghiaro?

Imagine your sword has just been hit up and to your left. Your opponent’s sword is falling down towards your head. Not good. You’ll have to react quickly. Turn your sword to point perpendicular to the strada and draw it back to shield yourself from your opponent’s attack. Walk forward while continuing to use your sword as a shield.

Now you can take advantage of being close to your opponent: remove your pommel hand from the sword’s grip (this will be your left hand if you’re right-handed) and use that arm to lock your opponent’s sword arm. This will prevent your opponent from doing anything unpleasant, like killing you. Once you’ve got your opponent firmly in a lock you can bash his head in with a pommel strike, i.e. tap his mask, let him go and continue practicing the drill.

This is not an easy exercise to explain or illustrate, or even to do. I especially struggle with getting close to my opponent (my steps tend to be short, so sometimes I need to take an extra step) and with getting a proper lock on his sword arm. Just recognizing when my lock is ineffective is a challenge, not to mention figuring out how to fix it. But here’s the thing: no one masters this in a day. I have to work hard to really learn this, but by the end of the lesson I’ve got a good basic understanding of the second drill’s counter-remedy.

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