Companion class 03/05/2010


Last week there way quite a few absentees, so I decided to go a little off the beaten track and do some plays from the sword in one hand section (spada a una mano).  We went through the basic action (the cover from posta di coda longa) against different cuts – fendente mandritto and roverso as well as thrusts, performing the rompere to the right.  We also looked at the spada a dui mano plays from the perspective of the sword in one hand – stop thrusts, covers using fendente and frontale, rising falso parries form the inside and outside, etc.  We then worked with varying distances (where you end up either by design or circumstance – I’m a firm believer that you generally don’t choose your play, the play chooses you, and you need to be prepared for all eventualities) and tried to present our options when entering into close play (giocco stretto) since the one-hand plays invariably end up controlling the Companion’s hand or elbow in some manner to gain a strike.  It went something like this:

  • Cover, rising into finestra and thrust in if you have displaced the blade.  (PD manuscript)
  • Cover, reach in and control the hand, thrusting as you do so (or at least threatening to do so)
  • Cover, Reach in and disarm the sword.
  • Cover, collapsing measure slightly more and performing the ligadura mezana
  • Cover, remaining to the outside and control the elbow, thrusting as he turns.
  • Cover, control the elbow and throw the sword to his neck.
That pretty much covers last week’s class, and it becomes obvious that the spada a una mano plays are an exercise in isolating the Companion’s side as well as working from differing measures depending on intent and/or circumstances.
This week’s class was a repetition of the previous week’s class, working actions (primarily defensive this time) from porta di ferro mezana.  It went well, with the onus being on remaining covered, using measure and avoidance, and proper use of the parts of the sword (foible for false-edge work, mezza spada generally for true-edge work).
This was followed by a brief (~20 minutes) yet intense light sparring session.  I wanted to put folks through their paces in preparation for their Companion rank test on Wednesday.  The onus was on control, proper defensive actions, and attacking while covered – all the while using good structure and form, proper poste and footwork.  no small task.  I think they did well, but since sparring is not the primary focus of our group and we do little of it, much goes out the window in a fight.  We’ll have to work hard to bridge that gap between drilling and fighting.  More on that later.
One final note on the sparring – it has come to my attention, and it was painfully obvious – that folks do not acknowledge hits against them, and continue despite a solid thrust to the chest or cut to the head.  Under our current rules, these would count as double kills.  I’m not sure that should be the case, since completely ignoring a strike to hit someone back seems specious at best.  That being said, i also believe that if attacking or counter-attacking, I should do so while covered.  However, when my point is firmly planted in your chest, going around it to strike to the other side while I’m advancing with it seems odd to me.  Should ignoring hits like that lead to double-kills?  Is there a solution?  It sounds like Mike Edelson’s “suicidal fencer” debate, and I can see where he’s coming from.  There’s no easy solution.  Penalise the fencer who ignored the strike?  Would that strike have been debilitating or lethal?  Who knows…  It is somewhat of a conundrum for me, and I suspect others as well.