Medieval Martial Arts Workshop Part 5: Defending Against Cuts

Cutting Mechanics

  • Attacking with cuts: how a sword wounds via the cut
  • Timing of the hand & foot: the sword always leads the attack
  • Downward cuts: fendente with the true edge, diagonal from cheek to knee
  • Rising cuts: sottano with the true edge and false edge, diagonal from knee to cheek
  • Lateral cuts: mezzano with the true edge and false edge, into the flank, arms or head
  • From the lead side (mandritto); from the offside (roverso)
  • Cutting “X” patterns, up and down, from the left and right

Postures for beginning and ending cuts (right-handed)

  • Right shoulder: Posta di Donna (Guard of the Noble Lady)
  • Left shoulder: Posta di Donna Sinestra (left)
  • Right hip: Porta di Ferro (Iron Gate)
  • Left hip: Dente al Cinghiara (Boar’s Tusk)
  • Centreline extended: Posta Longa (Long Position)
  • Centreline shortened: Posta Breve (Short Position)
  • Overhead right: Posta Finestra (Window Guard)
  • Overhead left: Posta Finestra Sinestra (left)

Defenses Against Cuts

  • Using evasion and measure (distance) to maintain safety
  • Dui Tempi: striking the opponent while they recover (first we make them recover, then we strike)
  • Using three advantages to control the opponent’s blade: arranging leverage (forte & debole), crossing over top, using the true edge
  • Parry: opposing the cut in front of its path
  • Collection: arresting the blade with the crossbar to gain leverage
  • Deflection: accelerating the cut behind its path
  • Making defenses in measure (striking distance) for an expedient riposte
  • Using lateral footwork to enhance defensive structures

Using the Dagger

  • Understanding the common mechanics of dagger strikes and sword cuts
  • Attacking with the mandritto (forehand) and roverso (backhand)
  • Making defenses with strong alignment, establishing safety, expedient riposte
  • Finishing the play with disarms, arm binds, throws

Using the Spear

  • gripping the spear at the 1/3 and 2/3 sections
  • the spear’s head (top section), haft (middle section) and pedal (bottom section)
  • common mechanics between spear blows and longsword cutting
  • subtle nuances: moving the pedal around the legs, multiplicity of combat options, locating the spear’s “true edge”
  • Parrying with the head of the spear
  • Collecting with the haft of the spear
  • Deflecting with the pedal of the spear