Sunday, August 14, 2011

Random thoughts & Musings

Anyone ever noticed how the blows of the sword described and shown in the various Fiore manuscripts are also the same motions used when parrying? When you make the parry of the 1st Master of Gioco Largo, you make a fendente. I think most of the people who study Fiore agree on that. When you make a deflection from Dente di Cinghiaro, you make a sottano. Again, agreement. What I realized was that when you execute a scambiar della punta (especially from Tutta Porta di Ferro) you're doing a mezzano. And when you cover against a fendente with Frontale, you're doing a sottano (or a mezzano). Seriously...think about it ;-)


Moimeme said...
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Motley said...

"When you make the parry of the 1st Master of Gioco Largo, you make a fendente."

Have you asked yourself why you think that? :-)

If you are attacked with a fendente and you cover with a 'fendente' how do you end up crossed at the tips?

Alex said...


I think that the 1st Master GL requires a fendente (a "true" fendente - tightly angled) because it is the simplest way I've found to achieve a crossing at the points. If you parry with more of a mezzano (say a 45-degree angle) more often than not you wind up crossed at the mezza spada.

As I said, I've yet to find something that works as well as a fendente, but I'm always willing to try new ideas :-)

Motley said...

Hi Alex,

I think we are on the same page re a fendente being nice and tight, near vertical.

The thing I find is, if we are both effectively doing a fendete with intent than we slide past each other and end up crossed at the full, occasionally the middle if one of us has a wider angle.

tbh the cross at the tip is still one of my big unanswered questions.

I think covering a fendente from a low guard can end up there, and you are heading the right way then to cut to the other side or thrust.

Or if you cross at the middle and the blade arrangement changes before you can act then you can get a tip crossing.

I am not fully happy with these explanations though, I know for me big questions still hang here. I just know I have never really managed to get into that tip cross situation, drilling or in freeplay* even fleetingly, from a fendente-fendente cross.

* not that this means anything.

Alex said...


The trick is to do the fendente mandritto such that it winds up on your left side. In other words, if you target your opponent's head during a "normal" fendente, than when using it to parry his fendente, aim at his right shoulder. This, in effect, creates the opposition necessary for a successful parry.

Oh, and the only footwork is a slight step to the left with the left foot. I remember helping Sean teach a beginners class once where a student wasn't paying complete attention and did exactly what you say - when his partner threw his fendente, the student threw his own, complete with a pass forwards, and yep, they wound up crossed at the forte.

And the way I cover from Tutta Porta di Ferro (for instance) is with a fendente - the blade rotates up with the hands staying low, and then you strike out (think of what some of the KdF guys call "Lazy VomTag").

Now that you got me thinking about it, during my next training session I may have my partner throw fendenti at me while I try different things from right-side poste. I'll let you know what I find out.

KOB said...

By all means make your fendente, but end the action in frontale rather than longa. This will stop your near vertical fendente missing theirs or indeed meeting at the forte rather than mezza spada. I guess it will also depend if you take an accressere step with the front foot, assuming you begin left foot forward in, say tutta porta di ferro. Guy Windsor's new interpretation is that it's not always necessary to make the accressere step first. Cheers. Kevin.

Alex said...

I have resolved that this will always be a case of all of us performing the play the same way, just using different terminology.

Motley said...

Hi Alex,

Yeah it is funny how that happens so often with HEMA, people just end up arguing vehemently about the same things. We each extract our own terminology from our sources then use it to disagree with each other.

I just re-read over your original post here and realised that when I initially responded I forgot to say I pretty much agree with you. :-) That may have not come across in my original comment.

There are still places I find my self wanting to disagree :-) As an example, saying the beat/deflection cover from a DdC is a sottani, I like to think of it more as a rising false edge mezzani that way it can cover against fendente from either side. If you do a strict sottani then covering a riverso is now not going to work out for you quite so well.

The I get picky about things like this, as it was first introduced to me as a strict sottani which only works against an attack from one side which, when I started looking closely I realised was what I now like to call, wrong. Perhaps 'not optimal' is a better way of saying it. :-) I just had my time wasted and had to figure it out for myself. This is just one example. Better for me in the long run maybe but slower.

So my point for this not so little post is that I can pick up on language used and assumptions that I *think* I see people making and it makes me over react. I think that in actually fact if we were face to face chatting with swords in hand we would a find ourselves doing more of a similar thing.

As a little aside I have now managed to think about and work with that tip crossing and I see it more and more as I look for it, funny how that happens. My personal opinion is that there is no one true right way to end up in these crossings. They just 'are' and you then deal with them.

Did you ever try out experimenting with the fendente's?