Manciolino’s Sword and Large Buckler: Coda Lunga e Alta 3

The third play is similar to the first. Like the first play, you’ll pass to his left with your right foot, your left foot immediately following behind. At the same time you’ll thrust into his side.


For your defense, you’ll recover by passing back with the right foot. Again, you’ll return to Code Lunga e Alta.

There is no parry

It is rather hard to believe, but the initial defense in this action is entirely based around range control and footwork. The thrust does not oppose the opponent’s blade in this action.

Why to I make that claim? Because we’ll see a counter-thrust using the true edge in opposition in the fifth play.

Video Interpretation

(to be added later)

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Meyer’s Longsword – First Device Against Tag

Here begins our interpretations for Meyer’s chapter 11, Fighting form the Postures.

What is Tag (or vom Tag is you prefer)?

Before we begin with the device itself, let us talk about what means to be in Tag. Meyer says that you have entered the high guard, which we translate as “day” or “roof”, when you’ve pulled the sword up as high as you intend to in preparation for a high strike.

This is important distinction. The devices that follow are not meant to be used solely when both fencers are in a ‘proper’ center vom Tag. If the situation leads your opponent to only pull up his sword half-way before cutting back down, then that half-way point was his Tag.


Crucial for understanding any device is the context in which it should be used. For Meyer’s first device, the context is this:

and have come before your opponent, and have come up with your sword by slashing up or else by drawing up for a high cut, and he cuts in the mean time against your left at your head

Basically what Meyer is saying is that you both are in Tag and your opponent has the vor or initiative.

Note that this is not an invitation. Meyer isn’t telling you to linger in this guard waiting for him to attack, but rather that you happen to have gotten caught and this is how you deal with it.

Countering the High Cut and Regaining the Vor

From vom Tag it is possible to use both rising and descending cuts, but for today’s purpose we are assuming the opponent choose a descending cut with the long edge.

The counter consists of a wide step to the right accompanied with a parry using the outside flat. The outside flat is on the right when you have the long edge down so you are going to end up in an ochs-like position.

Flat parries have an interesting effect on the opponent’s sword. While their purpose is a deflection, they tend to stop the blade without imparting energy to it. This is what gives you the ability to make the next attack, in effect regaining the vor.

Meyer notes that if you swing it hard enough it will also whip around his blade, striking your opponent in the ear with the tip. This might not sound like much, but anyone who has had their ear boxed can testify how painful and disorientating that can be.

To the Other Side

As soon as the blades clash, you need to step well to the other side. Make sure your whole body moves at once, don’t just move your foot and then allow the body to follow. The movement of the foot alone gains you neither time nor safety.

In the same tempo as you make this step, pull back your sword and “cut diagonally opposite to it, from below at his right arm”. Make sure you lean your body well to the left so that you are behind your blade. Otherwise you may be trading an arm cut for a broken head.

Nipping the Ear

Meyer says that the next step is to nipping the left ear with the short edge. I’ve found that a downward cut with uncrossed arms is quite effective as this.

If the opponent slips his sword, that is to say repositions it for a parry, then Meyer tells us to let the blow run off without connecting. Cross the arms in the air so that you nip the right ear with the short-edge.

Leaving Measure

As we saw in chapter ten, Meyer likes breaking measure with a Zwerch. (To “break measure” is a modern term, derived from Italian sources, that means to move back or sideways far enough that your opponent cannot hit you even with a step.)

Leaving the Script

If your opponent doesn’t allow you to follow the script, say by going into Tag for a cut before you are ready, you need to be prepared to slice the arms.

Slicing the arms seems to be a crucial problem solver in Meyer’s system. It is used as both a way to break someone’s device and as a way to recover when someone has broken one’s own device.

Video Interpretations

(to be added in later)

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Meyer’s Longsword – Videos of the Example Device

Here is a video interpretation of Meyer’s example device for the longsword:

And some further discussion on the same:

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Meyer’s Dagger – More on the First Precept

We did some more videos on the first precept from Meyer’s dagger to illustrate its versatility.




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Manciolino’s Sword and Large Buckler: Coda Lunga e Alta 2

The second technique that follows inviting a thrust begins with jamming your false edge under the opponent’s sword while taking a step to the opponent’s left with your left foot. I have interpreted this as a Kron-like parry.

Cutting the Leg

This is followed by stepping further to his left with your right foot. In this tempo you’ll cut his left leg and while allowing your left leg to fall behind.


As promised, Manciolino then tells us to finish the technique by returning to the initial guard. This requires pulling the right foot back and making a half-turn of the sword.

Video Interpretation

This is a basic interpretation. I’m happy with the bladework, but the footwork needs refinement.

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Manciolino’s Sword and Large Buckler: Coda Lunga e Alta 1

Manciolino’s sword and large buckler section starts in book 4, chapter 1. It opens with an invitation from Coda Lunga e Alta. Keeping the left foot forward, you press your opponent to react by either backing away or by attacking.

This first technique assumes he attacks with a thrust. Leoni translates,

Pass with your right foot towards his left side, delivering a riverso to the sword arm in that tempo and letting your left foot follow behind the right; then, keep yourself safe by passing back with your right foot and setting yourself in Code Lunga e Alta as above.

Playing with Measure

When you perform this technique, it is very important to pay attention to measure. You want to approach in such a way that the opponent is encouraged to launch his attack at the extend of his measure. If he doesn’t attack and just stands there you need to abort the technique and make your own attack. If instead you keep stepping in, then eventually you’ll be so close that you can’t his thrust in time.

Making the Invitation

A common mistake in this kind of technique is to form too good of a guard. If your guard is without obvious flaws, then your opponent may attack where you are not expecting or break measure and not attack at all.

The large buckler, which is roughly 12 to 14” across, doesn’t leave much in the ways of openings. But you can create one simply by raising or lowering it a few inches from your centerline.

For this particular technique, we find it is best to invite an imbrocata or descending thrust so we lower the buckler just enough to expose the left breast.

A Void with a Counter-time Action

Though he doesn’t use the term, this technique is essentially a counter-time or contra tempo action. Because this is taking place at wide measure, you can perform the cut to the arm faster than he can complete the thrust.

Do note, however, the cut to the hand is not alone sufficient for this technique. Even if it lands, which it won’t always do, it may not stop the sword’s forward momentum. Thus the footwork is essential for removing yourself from the initial line of the thrust.

That said, don’t think you can rely solely on your footwork for safety. If you neglect the hand and instead target, say the head, then he may be able to redirect the thrust and still hit you.


At the conclusion of this technique you must return to a good guard. It is not enough to simply stand there congratulating yourself on injuring his hand while he closes to punch you in the face with his buckler.

Manciolino will stress this again and again as we go through the techniques in this chapter.

Video Interpretation

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Meyer’s Wrestling and Dagger – First Precept

The first precept is to always thrust over the arm from the onset. This puts you in a position to control the opponent’s weapon arm. As soon as you thrust, pinch the wrist with your blade to establish dominance. Then you can send the pommel to to the chin, loop around for a thrust, and/or pull down to unbalance the opponent.

The off-hand has a role to play in this as well, which is covered in more depth in the Third Precept.

Video Interpretation

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