Tonight was a pretty ambitious class. I had wanted to go through what I call the “three volte” of the sword, the volta stabile, mezza volta and tutta volta. Apparently, it was too ambitious, since I only got through the first volta, the volta stabile.
Class began with a discussion on tempo, and how the volte successively out-time one another. With this foundation laid, we progressed directly into the drills, realising I would not have enough time.
In short, it’s my pet theory that the volta stabile is the winden am schwert of the German systems. Following this theory, we practiced the windings.
- From the bind at mezza spada, simply transition into posta di finestra on the left, regaining leverage with your forte against his debole.
- Now that the students know what the proper measure is, have them begin out of distance, and come to a bind with a fendente cut.
- The Companion applies forward pressure, so you wind up to posta di finestra sinestra. (BTW, I messed this one up in practice – I had them put sideways pressure… mea culpa.)
- From out of measure, cut to a bind at mezza spada.
- The Companion applies sideways pressure in response to a thrust by the Player.
- The Player then does the winding on the other side (errm, the volta…) and moves into posta di finestra destra, stepping around the center with his left foot and voiding the Companion’s point.
You now have the basis for two of the volte – one outside and one inside. The inside one works because of pressure, and the fact that the Companion is not threatening you – basically, he’s a chump.
- From the bind, have the Companion thrust at you.
- Wind up to posta di finestra sinestra, displacing the point and regaining leverage.
- The Companion, feeling threatened and realising he’s about to die, applies sideways pressure.
- Wind to the opposite side and into posta di finestra destra.
This was then repeated from out of measure, cutting to reach the bind. It was then repeated once again, this time at about three quarters speed to see if they could pull it off at speed.
A few caveats:
Always thrust to the center of mass – it’s a far easier target and harder to defend.
Always keep the point online – the tip of the sword is the tip of the pendulum’s arc. At the very leasy, keep it within the outline of the Companion’s body.
The volta stabile out-times the other two volte, just like the step does.
Oh, and for those looking for proof that the windings exist in Fiore: take a look at the scambiar di punta and its follow-on play. The scambiar is, for all intents and purposes, a low winding, and the following play is simply a winding to the other side. The collapsing measure allows you to control the hand, but it is otherwise almost identical to the 5th and 6th windings of the Liechtenauerian system. And no, I’m not of the “one art” school, I just find there are more similarities than differences, and I have a hard time believing that the same weapon was used in radically different manners in the same time frame in the same general location.
Next week, as promised, the rest of the volte.
Oh, and one more thing: while I’m well aware that these aren’t part of the formal canon of Fiore, there is some pedagogical value to this. First off, they will eventually meet some Liechtenauerians, so they may as well be prepared. Second, the windings… er., volte serve to teach important lessons about leverage and tempo. So there.
Lastly, I went through some notes Bernard took about the Guy Windsor seminar last weekend. It’s good to see many interpretations and methods concur. Pat on the back to me. They were well received by their hosts in Toronto, and we will definitely be inviting them down to play soon. I was somewhat disheartened I couldn’t make it, but to repeat what my friend, the aforementioned Guy told me a couple of years ago – “last thing I need is to attend another Fiore seminar…” It’s much more fruitful to just compare notes between instructors after hours.