Fendenti and Sottani Blows

Alright, enough about footwork and daggers! It’s been far too long since I wrote about swords. This third lesson introduced an awesome but scary exercise, which I’ll get to in a post or two. Before describing it, however, I thought it useful to recap in a bit more detail what we learned about sword attacks during the first and second lesson. It’s going to be a bit terminology-heavy, I’m afraid, but I think it’s useful to have all this info in one place.

The first thing we were introduced to was what I called a “downwards slash”, but which Fiore calls the mandritto fendente. From the last dagger-themed post you’ll know that mandritto is the victim’s left side, and riverso is his right side.

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Swordsmanship Terminology

It’s useless to start thinking about passares and dicresseres in the middle of a fight. The part of our brain that handles terminology is just rubbish at dodging blows. But why do we learn it then? Why do I keep bringing up weird Italian terms? If no-one thinks of which poste to take when in combat, why have them at all?

So that this blog can exist. Continue reading

Getting Out of the Way

The time for battle has come. Your opponent’s eyes glint with murderous rage as he begins to charge. You brace yourself for the crash that will break bones and end a life.

Um… You know you can just get out of the way, right?

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Basic Dagger Defence

A dagger’s heading towards your face. What do you do? Flinch, duck and run like hell? Not in the middle ages, and not if you listen to Fiore. Instead, you take the dagger.

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Keeping Your Head Cool in a Fight

Stick avoidance. Hm. Seeing it on the course syllabus certainly didn’t ease my fears back in my first post. But how bad is it really? Continue reading

The 3 Turns: Meza, Stabile, Tutta

Most of the more “interesting” exercises are the ones that focus on one scenario. For example, a dagger defence exercise teaches us what to do against a specific attack. There are, however, some exercises that are not tied to one situation. Take steps, for example. I wrote about the 4 steps last week: passare, tomare, accressere and dicressere. (Confused about the vocabulary? I’ve added a glossary for quick and easy reference.) Steps are not defences or attacks, but are usually a part of them. They serve as building blocks for exercises like a dagger defence.

We begin our second lesson with a “building block” exercise similar to the steps. It’s time to learn the three turns. Continue reading

Swords Are Heavy

Remember that bit about “there‚Äôs no way they’re going to allow us swords on the first day”? Turns out I was wrong. Yay!

After practicing the steps, positions and dagger attacks, as well as falling and the principles of balance, we are asked to gather around the sword rack.

There’s one problem with sword racks: they’re pretty small. This means that when 20 students are asked to fetch their swords, suddenly those 20 people all rush to a very small area. A high density of people + swords = not the best of ideas. This is why the teacher shows us how to remove a sword from the wall. His instructions can be summed up in two words: point down.

It takes a while until everybody has a sword in their hand (in practice only one person can take a sword at a time), but eventually we’re all standing in a line again. It’s time to learn the salute, Aragorn-style.

There’s no real historical record of a salute, but it’s part of the school’s culture. At the beginning and end of each lesson the teacher and the students greet each other by performing a salute. In the salute the sword’s cross-guard is about eye-level, as pictured to the left.

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