Dagger Mandritto Fendente Remedy and Counter-Remedy

So, now that we do know all the basic attacks and defences we can move to the interesting stuff. Remember our very first dagger exercise? It’s time to add some variation to it.

The scenario goes as follows: the attacker comes in with a mandritto fendente (with a dagger). The defendant – that’s you – starts in porta di ferro. As usual, you stop the attack with your left hand. But that’s where the familiarity ends. Instead of disarming your opponent in the normal way, you slide into a lock (pictured above). Continue reading

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Second Drill Attack and Remedy

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.

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Countering the Block to a Mandritto Fendente (Sword)

Here’s the scenario: you attack with a mandritto fendente, a forehand cleaving blow. Your opponent, the villain that his is, is not content with standing there and letting you cut through him, so he takes the posta frontale position to block you. Since you’ve been reading this blog, you know that he now intends to step off the strada, slice your arm off and poke a hole through your face. We’ve been through this.

But does the fact that someone has decided to hit your sword away mean that you should meekly submit to defeat? No! You’re still standing firmly on two feet, free from any lock, not to mention that you’ve got a perfectly good sword in your hand. It takes more than a block to stop a medieval swordsman in his tracks – literally. Continue reading

Dagger Disarm Flowdrill

We now know how to defend against three dagger attacks: one targeting the right side of the head (from the attacker’s perspective), another targeting the left side, and a third aiming for the stomach. So, we’ve learned most of the basic dagger defences (a.k.a. disarms)… or have we? Just knowing isn’t necessarily enough. Defences like these have to be instinctual on some level to be practical. How do we achieve that? Practice, practice, practice. Or, in other words, the dagger disarm flowdrill. Continue reading

Third Lesson: Don’t Get Stuck With the Pointy End

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.

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Blocking a Mandritto Fendente with a Sword

This is what we have to do: one of us will stand in place, while the other steps forward and attacks with a mandritto fendente, stopping it just above the pair’s shoulder (in the posta longa position). No masks are necessary.

It takes a while to digest this. The class is silent.

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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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