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.
There’s not much more time left before this lesson ends, but we’re told to line up and observe one final exercise. So far we’ve been working on the first sword fighting drill in pairs: we have learned how to strike a mandritto fendente, block it by going from the porta di ferro position to posta frontale, and how to push through said block. Now it’s time to set that drill aside for a while: we’re moving on to the first two steps of the second drill.
A drill begins with the opponents taking their starting guards: in this case (just like in the first drill) the attacker is in posta di donna.
Making things a little different this time is the fact that the defendant takes the dente di cinghiaro guard instead of porta di ferro.
The third lesson was a huge success. Not because I succeeded at everything (I didn’t), or because it was less difficult than what I’d feared it to be (it wasn’t), but because I managed to keep to the rules. I did my best not to focus so much on myself, which helped a ton in not being embarrassed about fumbling at exercises. Because I wasn’t thinking “oh noes, whatever do people think of me for that blunder”, I could concentrate on how to correct my mistakes. As far as the self-confidence issue is concerned, this lesson was a triumph.
Guards, or postes, are present in every attack and defence we learn. While they don’t construct these attacks, they’re an important part of them. What are these guards, then? How many are there? Plenty. More than five, anyhow. But so far we’ve only ever encountered five, four of which are based on the unarmed guards I’ve already introduced (the unarmed guards can be taken with virtually any weapon).
Unarmed, posta longa is the ending position of the action “crush his throat”. With a sword it looks similar, the only real difference being that you’ve got both arms stretched out – and that you’re wielding a steel blade over three feet long, of course. This is the middle position of a cleaving or rising blow (fendenti or sottani blow).