Giocco Stretto


Class began with the usual warm up routines and some cuts – both simple and compound.

Our stretto focus continued as we reviewed plays introduced last week, but not practised enough to my taste. Beginning with the seventh play of stretto, where the hands are middling to high on the centerline, you strike the Companion’s hands to displace them (and the sword), preferably to your left. If you get the opening to the inside, you move on to the eighth play and wrap your left arm over both the Companion’s (making sure to use structure in your favour – don’t work from weakness) and apply a ligadura mezana. Pommel strike as you wish.MS_Latin_11269_27v-c

We briefly drilled the tenth play, stretto from a roverso. This, we set up by cutting mandritto fendente while the Companion parries with a falso rebat. On contact, the Companion’s hands are high, exposing the pommel – take this opportunity to step in and help it along its way, simultaneously drawing through with your fendente to put your point on line. Stab until tender.

Finally, we ended our review by rolling the 11th and twelfth plays into one fluid play. From the bind, grab the blade, setting it aside. Simultaneously perform a mezza volta cut (fendente roverso) to the Companion’s head. This should incite them to raise their hands to cover their head, which is when you step in and use their own blade to cut their face. Stepping further in, release your own sword, placing your right hands on their grip, use your left hand to pass the blade over their head, and take them down over your right leg. When pressed, you may omit passing the blade over the head, and take the Companion down with a quillion to the throat, but we were going for canon.

The first remedy master play (13) was then introduced. This play places the Companion’s hands a bit high, and spaced, providing a path for you to place your own left hand between. If this path isn’t present, perform the previous play. Two options are given, based on measure. The first option sees you performing the first remedy master of dagger disarm, the second a one-arm ligadura mezana should your arm penetrate deeper. Remember to collapse their structure as you attempt this, otherwise you are in for a nasty treat as they retain two hand control over their sword, countering with a wrist or arm lock.

Next week: some more review, and the counters. If time allows, slow speed sparring, focused on getting safely to stretto.