The Cutting Drill – Part 2

As said in part 1, it’s time to go beyond the old “cut-cut-cut-cutting drill”. Since we happen to be three beginners and three experienced students, each beginner gets a sort-of personal instructor for this class. The first exercise we do is described below.

The defendant (me) takes the posta di finestra guard. It literally means “window guard”, and I guess I can see why.

This is a funny sort of guard. Instead of having your weight on your front foot you shift it on to your back foot (the right), but you keep facing forward. Your arms are crossed on the right side of your head and are holding the sword up in a horizontal position, so that the tip of your sword stares your opponent in the face. I’ve seen others use this guard, but this is the first time I try it. It takes a few moments to get used to.

The attacker can either take this position or the posta di donna guard. He starts the exercise by stepping in with a thrust – that is, moving the sword to his front and stepping forward, trying to impale you instead of cutting you. The defendant’s response is to get the tip of the attacking sword as far away from his chest as possible. In other words, he has to break the thrust. You can do this simply by cutting down from posta di finestra (and taking a step).

That cut results in the situation pictured above: the attacker’s sword has been beaten to the ground, and it’s up to the defendant to make the next move.

That move is to place a foot on the blade of the attacker’s sword and cut him under the beard (note that the defendant keeps his hands low). The attacker staggers backward, which is when the defendant finishes him off with a riverso fendente (a cut down from left to right + a step).

What has this to do with the cutting drill? It has everything to do with it: simply remove the attacker from the picture, and you get the first few steps of the second half of the drill.

(Posta di finestra, mandritto fendente to dente di cinghiaro & passare – the window guard, cut down to left with a step forward.)

(Cut under beard, step forward with a riverso fendente – a cut from left to right -, end up in porta di ferro.)

We practice for a while. It doesn’t take me too long to get a hang of most of this. The one thing that does give me some trouble is at the very end: getting the sword up in order to cut down from left to right feels somehow awkward. When I cut below the beard my sword ends up to my lower right, so getting it quickly back to my upper left is tough.

There are still three more parts to go. In the next post: feints and awesome pommel strikes – this is where the cutting drill really gets fun.

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