Class notes – 19/04/2010 – Porta di ferro mezana

I’m back.

After a lengthy hiatus from writing my notes, I’ve finally gotten back to it.  I really mean to keep up, I do, but life gets in the way of my hobbies, and something’s gotta take a back seat.  Ah well.

After the recent tempest in a teapot on SFI on the usefulness (or lack thereof) of the guard Alber, I decided to follow Roger Sigg’s idea and do an entire class on Porta di Ferro mezana.  It went so well, and there are so many actions that flow logically from that posta that it took an entire 2 hour class, and we skipped a bit of material!

So, it should be fairly obvious to anyone who practices swordsmanship of any kind that guards are not actions.  So yes, alber or porta di ferro mezana are useless in and of themselves.  What’s important are the actions between the poste.  Transitions from one posta to another are either covers or cuts in the form of attacks.  Using this simple principle, we can define several actions arising from porta di ferro mezana.  Fiore specifically tells us it can thrust and beat aside attacks, and transitions to finestra and frontale form more actions.

So without further adieu, here is the rundown of what we did tonight.  I divided it into both defensive actions and offensive actions from porta di ferro mezana.

Defensive actions

  • Stop thrust against an incoming attack
  • False edge deflection from the inside – careful, this offers less cover.
  • True edge deflection from the inside – effectively a deflection using posta frontale.  Those of you with Guy’s book would recognise it as an “impulse”
  • True edge collection from the inside – catch it using frontale.  Then grab the blade or riposte, depending on how the Companion reacts.
  • False edge deflection (rebatter) from outside – same action as from dente di cinghiale, beating from under the attack.
  • True edge collection with opposition by transition into posta di finestra, point online from the inside.
  • True edge collection with opposition using posta di finestra to the outside (ending in posta di finestra dritta)
  • Attacking the forward target (hands) while voiding offline.
  • The colpi di villano.
Offensive Actions

  • The obvious: thrust.
  • Thrust, and in reaction to his setting aside the blade, perform a tutta volta of the sword (moulinet) to change line in response to his pressure.
  • Thrust, and in reaction to his setting aside your blade, retract and thrust to the other side.
  • Thrust, retract (disengage in response to his setting aside your thrust) and cut to the head or arms.
  • Thrust, the companion tries to perform the scambiar di punta, perform the counter (essentially a scambiar di punta in response)
  • Thrust, the companion tries to perform the scambiar di punta, close quickly and reverse the pommel to strike.
  • Thrust, companion tries to perform the scambiar di punta, transition into a lateral posta di finestra, performing a tutta volta of the blade and cut around (colpi di villano style)
The last several actions make use of second-intention actions, since the Companion is likely waiting for the most likely attack – a thrust.
There are other viable combinations, and in fact we didn’t get to all the above combinations, but I thought it well to list the ones above for future reference.  Forgive me if I’ve missed some obvious ones.

**Edit: Note to self!  Students began from too close and were able to thrust from porta di ferro mezana using only a slight acressere.  While it is up to the defender to manage this distance to give himself time to defend, for drilling purposes it would be best if the thrust were delivered with a pass, thus increasing distance and giving time to react.