In yesterday’s lesson, my goal was to cover as many of the variations of the actions described in plate 7 of Capoferro as I could. We took some video of the lesson so that we could post it and show our interpretations of this material and talk a little bit about how we understand the plate. For a full description of the lesson, see Lesson 23.
Before we go any further, let’s take a look at the actual plate:
The present and subsequent figures demonstrate diverse manners of striking on the outside, always presupposing a stringering on the inside and a disengage of the point by your adversary in order to strike.
By way of clarification of the following figures, I say that D having the figure marked C stringered on the inside, the same C disengages in order to give a thrust to the chest of figure D. D strikes him with a thrust in the left eye with a fixed foot or an increase of pace as the figure shows. But yet I say that if C had been a shrewd person, when he disengaged he would have disengaged by way of a feint, with his body somewhat held back, and D approaching confidently in order to attack C, C would have parried the enemy’s sword to the outside with the false or the true edge, giving him a mandritto to the face or an imbroccata to the chest, and in such a conclusion would retire into a low quarta. – translated by Wilson and Swanger
Here’s part 1 of the lesson:
Since the actions in the plate can get pretty complicated, the lesson starts with several actions designed to give the student a chance to warm up and also practice the actions in isolation before adding the extra footwork and timing differences.
In actions 1-4, the student has a chance to practice the simple attacks and warm up.
In 5-10, we work on the parries and riposts described in the text in isolation, building on them by adding a lunge with the riposte and then a gaining step with the parry. When these are executed again later in the lesson, the student will have already practiced them a few times.
In action 12, we have finally gotten to one of the actions described in the text of the plate. Here, the student is representing the vulgar fencer and disengaging in order to thrust to the chest of the instructor. When I set this up, I had the student start with her blade in line instead of the guard position. This makes the disengagement in time a little faster but it would probably have been more appropriate to start with a more relaxed arm.
Actions 13 and 14 show the clever fencer’s response to the disengagement. 13 shows the thrust done with a fixed foot, and 14 shows it done with an increase of pace. The primary difference between which of these you would use is a question of timing. For the fixed foot response you should wait as long as possible before making the attack and for the lunge, the fencer should lunge as soon as they realize their opponent has disengaged. We were doing this from memory and forgot the thrust was supposed to go to the eye instead of the chest.
Actions 16 and 18 show two different options that a clever opponent could use for defeating action 14. The first is a parry to the outside with the true edge and a riposte with an imbroccata to the chest. The second is a parry to the outside with the false edge and a riposte to the face with a mandritto.