Fourth Lesson: Drills and Glossaries

I did okay. This is a new thing to feel when walking home from training. I’m not sad or disappointed in myself (I managed to keep to the rules quite well), but not ecstatic either. Hm. Perhaps I’m just getting more used to this. Continue reading

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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

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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Five Sword Guards

“The blows create the guards.”

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).

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