Companion class, 14/11/2011

Along with the wrestling curriculum, I’ve been working on upping two other aspects of our practice: tactical considerations, in particular entering, and spada a una mano. Of particular interest to me is reconstructing a single sword method for Fiore that resembles Fiore, and is more than just the universal parry we see in the relevant section. In regards to this, it means we need to look at cutting, entering (a particularly thorny issue, given the measure difference between 1h and 2h sword) and a slew of techniques derived from the largo plays. we also need to condition our troops to the 1h sword so that they don’t tire out after 15 minutes and also to prevent injuries. Therefore we began with some strength-building exercises:

Strength building exercises and warm up:

Arm rotations, forearm rotations, wrist rotations, hand clenches.

Next some cutting drills, particularly fendente, for which I’ve decided to adopt largely Roland’s mechanic, but done with a pass. It is terribly difficult to describe, but centers around dropping the hand to chest level to get the sword moving, then casting the point forward around the balance point. I find this does a few things: covers the line nicely, while covering your hand; requires very little actually force from the wrist and elbow; is fast and while less powerful than a swinging blow, is tactically superior. Yes, for those of you who’ve done this with me, it is a departure from before, where I was advocating more swinging blows to save your elbows and wrists, done properly, this cutting mechanic is superior – at least until I change my mind again.

Next up:

Inside and outside moulinets. (aka moulinet and strammazone or simply inside and outside tutta volte)

Solo cuttting drills:

Simple cutting drill: fendente, around balance point, claiming center, lead with sword, tighten grip, etc.

Compound cutting drill: Fendente, follow up with thrust or slice using a gathered step.
Compound cutting drill: Fendente, thrust, follow up with moulinet to roverso with a pass and recover to Porta di ferro mezana..

Rolling cut drill:

  1. Begin in di donna on the right, cut to center
  2. Strammazone to a roverso to longa
  3. Raise hand, inverting sword pommel up, cutting around mandritto ending in cinghiale
  4. Cut falso to di donna

A second cutting drill:

  1. Di donna to center,
  2. Moulinet to a roverso down to porta di ferro
  3. Cut sottano dritto to left finestra
  4. Quickly invert the sword to cut sottano roverso to finestra
  5. Return to di donna.
A drill I skipped for time:
Poste drill – 

  1. Begin in coda lunga in back-weighted stance.
  2. Slip the right foot offline to the right and begin cutting with a rising true edge mezzano/sottano. Follow the cut with a pass of the left foot, finishing in posta di finestra.
  3. Drop the elbow into the vera finestra variation of posta di donna la destraza.
  4. Rotate the hand back into posta di donna la destraza.
  5. Pass forward with the right foot while cutting fendente mandritto, finishing in dente di zenghiaro.
  6. Make a volta stabile backwards, and lift the sword to a left posta di donna la sinestra.
  7. Pass forward and cut riverso fendente, finishing in porta di ferro mezzana.
  8. Lift the sword’s point into posta breve.
  9. Thrust into posta longa with a pass.
  10. Volta stabile to a back weighted stance and assume coda lunga. Repeat.

Another drill I skipped for time:
Thrusting drill – 
  1. Straight thrust from di donna, recover to porta di ferro
  2. Rising thrust to longa, recover to cinghiale
  3. Rising thrust to longa, recover to di donna
  4. Descending thrust to longa, recover to di donna la sinestra
  5. Thrust roverso from di donna sinestra, recover to di donna destra.
Yet another drill skipped

Compound drill: 
  1. Thrust from di donna to longa, wind to a descending thrust, strammazone to porta di ferro
  2. Rising thrust from PdF, volta to a roverso thrust, moulinet and retreat into cinghiale.
  3. From cinghiale, rising thrust to center, strammazone to fendente mandritto, retreat to di donna sinestra
  4. Thrust roverso from sinestra to longa, raise pommel and strammazone to cut mandritto, push a true edge slice, return to di donna.
I then discussed measure and entering briefly, but decided to go with the flow and continue working cuts and combinations.
Measure, points to consider.:
  • Methods of breaking measure: wait for him to break measure or enter under cover to provoke an attack.
  • Entering with a thrust to draw him wide. If he responds, bind and work from there, if not, kill him.
  • Enter with a cut to center line, claiming the center.

Drills we *did* do (finally!), concerned not just cutting combinations, but responses to certain attacks or defences. The first one was of course the ever-present sentimento di ferro drill.
  1. Cut to center, continue cut and retreat.
  2. Cut to center, parried, cut around.
  3. Cut to center, soft parry, slice through or thrust.
the next set of drills was meant to practise blade work, specifically the voltas around the blade on both the attacker’s and defender’s parts while maintaining sword measure, and then by entering in a true Fiore manner.  🙂

Paired drills:
Four responses (maintaining sword measure)
  1. Fendente to opponent, opponent parries true edge inside, moulinet and tutta volta to other side
  2. Opponent parries true edge from outside, yield and strammazone to other side
  3. opponent parries falso inside, yield and cut to head
  4. opponent parries falso outside, yield and cut to hand

Four responses (defending)
Against fendente mandritto, using the appropriate volta (moulinet or strammazone)
  1. True edge parry, volta to outside
  2. Universal parry (rising true edge), volta to inside
  3. Falso from PdF, yield and cut to outside
  4. Falso from cinghiale, yield and cut to inside

Four responses (entering)

  1. Fendente to opponent, opponent parries true edge inside, moulinet and tutta volta to other side with a pass, controlling the arm.
  2. opponent parries true edge from outside, yield and strammazone to other side, wrapping arm while entering
  3. opponent parries falso inside, yield and cut to hand, enter and control arm (wrap and throw, disarm)
  4. opponent parries falso outside, yield and cut to arm