Fundamentals April 22 – May 27, 2015


There were two main focii for this series of classes: learning and ingraining the steps of the “posta drill” (versus the “posta dance”), and using drills to bridge the gap between practise and freeplay.

Beginning with the poste drill, we finaly got through it in its entirety. Here it is, for posterity:

  1. tutta porta di ferro -> acressere and break a thrust, pivot right to posta di donna
  2. posta di donna -> Perform the second master cover (w. acressere) & thrust, pivot right to posta di finestra
  3. posta di finestra -> Scambiar di punta with a pass, pivot left into posta di donna la senestra
  4. Posta di donna la sinestra -> Cut to longa w. a pass (ending left foot forward)
  5. Posta longa -> extend and cavazione with a passare, tornare and pivot right into porta di ferro mezana
  6. Porta di ferro mezana -> ribbon cut with weight shifts, pivot left to posta breve
  7. Posta breve -> thrust with a passare, regain sword in half sword and thrust again with an accressere, recover to dente di cinghiale
  8. Dente di cinghiale -> cut under hands, recover, thrust to face, pivot left to Coda longa
  9. Coda longa -> Pass forward w. a cover in posta di corona/frontale, pass with a pommel strike, pivot left to posta di bicorno
  10. Posta di bicorno -> volta stabile di spada to posta di finestra la sinestra, pass with a descending thrust in opposition, pivot left to posta di corona
  11. Posta di corona -> rompere di punta to hands, pass back while thrusting, return fendente to dente di cinghiale mezana
  12. Dente di cinghiale mezana -> rebatter and return colpi fendente roverso to Tutta porta di ferro

The second drill has a left hand version, and a right hand version, and both should be learned to competence and memorised.

From the left:

  1. Player enters measure with a provocation
  2. Companion cuts fendente
  3. Player parries with th first remedy master (punta)
  4. Companion recognises what is happening, moves to apply pressure to the parry
  5. Player cuts over to the opposite line, targeting the hands
  6. Companion retracts hands and parries in posta breve (footwork is important here), thrusting in response
  7. Player breaks thrust & cuts sottani
  8. Companion counters the break by following
  9. Player enters w. a pommel strike to counter (to the inside)

From the right:

  1. Player enters with a provocation
  2. Companion cuts fendente roverso
  3. Player parries with a falso rebat into a 1st master position
  4. Companion recognises what is happening, applies pressure, turning blade into the parry
  5. Player cuts to opposite line, targeting the hands
  6. Companion retracts hands and parries in posta breve, thrust in response
  7. Player breaks thrust and cuts sottani roverso
  8. Companion counters the break by following the sword
  9. Player enters with a pommel strike to counter (outside)

At first glance, of course, both drills are almost identical. The left hand variant, however, has the Companion working on his “weak” side, provided he is right handed. This has some interesting mechanical effects: crossed hands rompere, positioning on the parry in breve is awkward, entry with the pommel is to the inside, etc.

Once the drills are learned, they are then progressively “broken”, beginning at the end. In other words, do steps one to eight, then improvise step nine and have your partner react spontaneously. Then do the drill to step 7, 6, 5, and so forth, on both sides. The result is an almost complete fallback into a sort of freeplay (let’s call it structured loose play) until, of course, they are improvising at step 1 – in which case, it is freeplay.

This drill has its artificialities, namely, there are more actions than would likely occur in an actual bout before coming to grips or leaving measure, but this was done intentionally to ramp up the difficulty of the drill and have students thinking about maintaining proper measure and distance. The problem area is usually after the thrust from breve – depending on the reach of your partner and your relative distances, it may be wise to move offline or fade back to gain time to parry the thrust.