• 25OCT
    Fencing 101 from the 15th Century

    Fencing 101 from the 15th Century

    The following from the Master of the Bolognese Tradition as put down by friend, Ilkka Hartikainen in Finland at “Marozzo.com”

    “Imagine yourself facing your adversary, swords in hand. Note if your opponent is right or left-handed, and for the sake of this exercise we will assume he is right-handed.

    Now visually divide him into four quadrants and take note of which quadrant his arm is pointing, for that is the quadrant his weapon occupies. It will tell you where his attacks will come from and where he expects you to direct yours.

    Then take note whether he has his point forwards or backwards. This will tell you how to approach and whether to worry about his point or his edge when you do so.

    Also notice which foot he has in front, as this will tell you how he will move when he attacks or when he defends.

    If his sword extends towards you, then deal with his sword or sword-hand before doing any action against his body.

    Now realize how all of your cuts and thrusts derive from the same attributes. Thrusts remain point in line and travel from quadrant to another through extension while cuts alternate between in- and off-line.

    Should he attack you will always defend primarily with your cuts, but you can also parry with the false edge of your sword, or if you see a place, you can parry by pointing your sword to him while covering yourself with the edge.

    Each strike can be parried with the true edge or with the false edge. In almost every case the various parries allow for riposting either with the edge or with the point. There is no strict rule, your will and your experience will decide for you.

    Every defense needs three things: an avoidance, a parry and the wounding of the adversary. In other words: a step, a guard and a strike.

    Should he feint, defend again. Should he go for your blade, don’t let him catch it. Should he go for a target that you have failed to protect with the sword, avoid by movement. Never let him attack unless you want to.

    Should he lure you to attack, give him what he wants but lie to him by feinting and wound him elsewhere.

    Do not let him attack freely but rather drive him back or, if you want to, invite him to attack by setting him a trap.

    If you fail your initial design, either retreat, cross swords with him or press in with a grapple and throw him to the ground.”

    Now, as Ilkka admonishes us….”Back to Training!”