Tonight’s class was a grab-bag of disparate techniques that don’t fit into any neat category like the universal parry or rising parries from right and left.
To begin, students practised the stop-thrust, firstly to the face with a void offline. This depends largely on timing and the void right to keep you safe, since it’s done without opposition. Despite initial misgivings, the students warmed to it when they realised that two factors helped: a committed attack by the adversary makes this work, since it’s hard for him to track you and adjust, and on the other hand, a feeling for self-preservation by the opponent which makes any sane man want to parry rather than kill you as his face is impaled.
The second variant, I had them aim for the weapon-side shoulder, stopping them dead in their tracks as they impale themselves on your sword. Sweet.
Third variant, we dealt with the opponent that binds your sword. Simple – perform a mezza volta behind the blade, step to your left and gack him in the face. Focus on this one was on point control.
Lastly, I borrowed from the Bolognese somewhat and had students parry with opposition using what would be guardia alicorno. Folks felt much safer with a sword between them and their opponent!
This segued into the second master of largo parries with the single sword. Measure plays a role here, or rather the length of the weapon. The first master is difficult at best to achieve given the lack of length of the weapon, but the second master works quite well with a nice frontale parry, giving you good structure. Cut to the hand, return with a rising blow to the head. This can be done with and without a pass.
Finally, some hanging parry goodness for good measure. The key is really engaging the opponent’s blade as it comes in. Many people have a tendency to place the blade horizontal and parallel to the line of the shoulders, when in fact the sword should be held obliquely forward to protect the hand and guide the blade away. We did this to the left and right against roversi and mandritti.