Bone-head basics

Stance

Settle into stance. Checklist:

  • Where is your weight distributed?
  • What is your posture?
  • Where is the straight line?
  • What part of the feet are you on?
  • Where is your forward shoulder?
  • Where are your forward toes and knee pointing?
  • Where are your rear foot and knee pointing?
  • Where is your left hand?
  • Where is your right elbow?

Extension

Checklist:

  • Where is your point aimed?
  • What is the orientation of your palm in terza?
  • In 2-in-3 and 3-in-4, where is the straight line for the sword, pommel, and point of the hip?
  • When extending to cover the inside / outside lines, where is the straight line for the sword, pommel, and point of the shoulder?
  • In a relaxed terza, is your hand too high (leaves your low line open) or too low (reduces your range)?

Lunge

Settle into stance, then move into the lunge stance. Checklist:

  • Where is your weight distributed?
  • What is your posture?
  • Where is the straight line now?
  • Where is your rear shoulder?
  • Where are your forward toes and knee pointing?

Thrust in opposition

Settle into stance, then move into the lunge stance. Checklist:

  • Which line is being threatened by the opponent's blade?
  • Which guard are you in?
  • Where is your hilt relative to the opponent's point before the lunge? During extension? After the lunge?
  • What part of the feet are you on?
  • Where are your forward toes and knee pointing?

An exercise for approaching the fight

Approaching from out of measure

Attacker covers the threatened inside / outside line as s/he approaches defender from well out of measure (swords are not crossed at all!).

Thrust in opposition from wide measure

Attacker repeats as above, this time extending the hand and arm to pick up the opponent's point and lunge.

Partner provides resistance

Attacker repeats as above. This time, defender counters with a straight thrust at any time if s/he still has the line as attacker enters defender's wide measure.

Both partners approach from out of measure

Both partners are attackers. This should mostly be two partners circling a lot as they constantly take and lose the center line.

Introducing the cavatione

(the disengage)

Repeat the first three steps above, this time with the attacker performing a cavatione at the outset of the lunge. Attacker is working on timing, so as to not be too fully extended in a lunge stance when s/he makes the cavatione. Attacker must elicit a defensive movement (closing a threatened line) from the defender in order to create a reason for attacker to cavare. Attacker should lean / sit back about 6" as he performs the cavatione so as to defend with distance against a timed thrust from defender. Attacker must ensure that second attack is also a proper thrust in opposition.

Counter-disengage

In this exercise, the defender performs a cavatione as soon as s/he perceives the attacker to be performing a cavatione. Defender is practicing reestablishment of the original line using the cavatione.

Training attacker's snap decision-making process

Repeat, with attacker having a choice of:

  • Thrust in opposition
  • Cavatione and then thrust in opposition.

Defender only covers his initially threatened line. Attacker is working on his sentimento di ferro, to distinguish when he has or doesn't have forte in gaining the opponent's sword.

Training defender's snap decision-making process

Repeat with defender countering with a thrust in secunda / quarta as needed. Trains defender to see which action attacker chooses each time. For this exercise, attacker should not lean back during the cavatione.

In closing

Controlled chaos

A final exercise is to have both partners play attacker, seeking to give a direct thrust with opposition or cavatione to the offside before delivering a thrust. Counter thrusts and counter cavationes are all allowed.

Obviously, by this last drill, you are effectively in a controlled free fight. Stay safe. Be relaxed. Wear your sweater.