Definition: Montante

As it last stood, there is a debate as to whether the montante is just a rising falso that goes into alta or a true edge cut that ascends along the line of a rising falso. I’ve done some more research and this is what I’ve managed to assemble.

Manciolino

Beyond these five there are two which are not principal because they only occur in the play of sword and buckler. The first is called “tramazzone”, which is done with the wrist of the hand that has the sword, with that winding from below upwards toward your left side in the manner of a fendente; the other is called “montante”, because it is thrown from below upwards in the fashion of a falso which ascends to finish in guardia alta.

Fabris

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Note that both Montante (mast) and Sotto Manco (underhand) are depicted as rising cuts along the #8 line.

Marozzo

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What is mandritto tondo, mandritto fendente, mandritto sgualembrato, mandritto redoppio, and falso dritto and montante and you know that from this begins all these attacks. And from the left demonstrate roverso tondo and roverso sgualembrato, roverso fendente, and roverso redoppio, and false manco, and falso, and dritto, and falso roverso; which in principle you will give them meaning. And of what is dritto and roverso, making every one against said segno.

Usually Marozzo starts the montante by touching the boss of the buckler with the false edge. You can easily find several examples such as:

Then bring the false edge of the sword towards the copula del brochiero making a gran passo with the right foot towards the left and immediately cut with a montante as the right foot comes left.

Then punch the sword with the brochiero and in said punching I want you to do a half turn of the fist, that is to move the point of the sword towards the ground and touch the copula of the brochiero with the false edge of the sword and pass with the right foot into a gran passo towards the left. Cut with a montante and end in guard ia alta with the brochiero as extended as possible.

Countering, move the point of the sword towards the ground. Now you will touch the false edge of the sword to the high outside of the brochiero. Pass in this touching with your right foot into a gran passo forward of the left. In this passing step cut with a montante at the rim of the brochiero. Your will now be in the guardia alta with the right foot close to the left and the arm with the brochiero well extended.

Next throw the right foot behind the left hand and cut with a fendente at the rim of the brochiero and your sword will move into the coda lunga e distesa. In the same time bring the left foot close by the right. Raise immediately said left and punch with the brochiero. Having made the punch bring your sword point to the ground and you will beat the copula of the brochiero with the false edge of the sword and mount a montante with the right foot forward of the left. The right foot should now be close by the left and your sword will be in the guardia alta with your arm and legs well formed and tight.

Make a half turn of the hand, that is taking the point of the sword towards the ground and beating in one time the false edge of the sword on the copula of the brochiero pass your right foot forward and mount a montante to the rim of the brochiero and go into the guardia di testa with the feet close together and your arms and legs extended.

Your right foot should be close by the left. In one time throwing a roverso sgualembrato that engages the head to the arm precisely. For until to the feet of his right side. Mounting a montante your right foot should be close by the left and your sword will go into the guardia di testa. Now, embellishing the play you have tagliare (cuts), toccare di brochiero touching of the buckler), and montare di montante (up wards cuts). With these your sword will go into the guardia di testa and your right foot will be close by the left and your arms well extend ed with the person to the right.

Without the buckler touch

Bring the sword hand forward and place the sword point towards the ground and then bring the right foot forward and cut with a montante.

is in the guardia di testa with the arms well extended. With this you will parry the attack of your enemy and issue immediately a mandritto tondo to the leg that goes under the arm, throwing in one true time a roverso sgualembrato. And when you have thrown said roverso cut with a high montante and in this cut pull your right foot close by the left.

Now if said enemy throws a shot to the head or legs I want you to throw your right foot forward to the left putting the sword aside with your buckler and sword together. Then do a mandritto to the legs and return immediately the right foot close by the left and in one time move said to the right and throw a roverso sgualembrato, a montante, and then your sword will go into the guardia alta with your right foot close by the left.

Throwing a roverso sgualembrato that engages the head and ends with the point at the feet. Mount a montante and your sword will go into a guardia alta. Here there is need to make beautiful the play. That is in tagliare, and in chioccare di brochiero, and in montare and when you raise your sword do not pass into guardia di testa and your arm is well extended and formed.

Here is a “montante like thrust”.

Here you will embellish your play in a useful manner with chioccare e montare with a ponta in the act of a montante that does not pass into said porta di ferro alta as aforementioned.

For your defense, you should cut with a roverso fendente to the rim of the buckler, at the same time pulling your right foot behind the left, then pulling the left again behind the right. Here, you will embellish the play in the usual fashion, that is by means of chioccare [striking the hub of the buckler with a cut as he describes in another chapter?] and thrusting upward in montante fashion (which thrust will not go past the position of a porta di ferro alta). In this manner, you will return in the same position described above.

The other is that if he intended to pass with his left foot as he feinted a push, or if he actually intended to push, with that motion you would hurl your right foot behind the left (as he pushes). At the same time, you would thrust at him in montante fashion. This will proceed upwards towards his face, and your sword will end in cinghiara porta di ferro alta. From here, you will embellish the play. You will withdraw your left foot near the right, then you will be able to step out with said left foot and strike your brochiero and go up in the usual fashion to porta di ferro alta.

Other

If your opponent feints at you with the said thrust as you are in the guardia alta (or if your sword has reached a high position after you performed a montante), I advise that you are especially careful never to take your eye away from his sword-hand.

Capoferro

This one seems rather definitive:

And the montante is that which departs with the true edge of the sword from beneath and goes to strike to the point of the adversary’s right shoulder.

Posted in Antonio Manciolino, Fabris, Marozzo | Tagged | Leave a comment

First Forged Letter Opener

Made from… some random hunk of steel the instructor gave me. Some cracking in and near the twist, but several people had that problem so we were told it was probably a flaw in the billet.

I cheated a bit in forming the blade. I drew it out too far so I had to cut off some of the tip.

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Understanding Breaking Alber by Working From Alber

Breaking Alber refers to attacking someone who is resting in said guard with the intent of displacing them from the guard. A lot of ink has been spilt discussing what the person who is breaking the guard should do, with opinions ranging from a single, direct strike to provoking actions meant to lure or scare the opponent into leaving his posture.

What hasn’t been properly discussed is why someone is in Alber in the first place.

We know from Liechtenauer that Alber is one of the four legers or camps that you are supposed to fight from. At no point does he say that it is inferior to any of the other three, so we should just as thoroughly as we would the other guards.

Now generally speaking one does not rest in a guard, the exception being when you want to invite to opponent to perform some action that you can counter. So for the purpose of this discussion, we are going to assume that the person in Alber is intentionally inviting an attack. And since it is an invitation, he must have a counter in mind.

Kron

In Liechtenauer’s play for breaking Alber, it assumes that the patient fencer will parry with Kron. But is that what he wants to do or is that what he is forced to do?

Let’s consider the characteristics of Kron. First, it is not a single time counter. You need to have a follow-up action ready.

Secondly, it at best puts you in a neutral bind. At worst, it offers a significant advantage to the opponent. This is why many of the masters warn against over-using Kron.

Third, it is actually a very large movement. The hilt goes from the lowest possible position to nearly the highest possible position in a single tempo. There are a lot of other things you can do between those two positions.

Slicing

Slicing is a term used by Meyer to refer to an upwards attack with the short edge. The Bolognese would call it a Falso and they often use it to counter attacks to clear the the line, allowing for an immediate thrust or descending cut to wound.

In some ways using a slice is actually easier to using Kron. Slices cover a wide arc, making them less likely to miss. And they don’t attempt to stop the opponent’s sword, so it doesn’t become a test of strength. Instead they strike the flat, altering the opponent’s trajectory without affecting its momentum.

The downside of the slice or Falso is that it is still a dui tempi counter. Like with most weapons, we prefer to make single time counters with the longsword when possible.

Thrusting

Let us now turn to the thrust. Mair tells us how to use this against someone in vom Tag with the left foot back.

Then fly up with your sword with crossed arms in front of your head in the Versazung (Parry Position), step in with your right leg, and shove the point into the left side of his face.

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Illustration of the Parry Position, but with
the point low rather than directed at the face.

Like an extended Ochs, using the Parry Position as a thrust serves as protection against a downward blow. By concentrating on the thrust to the side of the head (or throat if you prefer), your arms naturally fall into a strong position for absorbing the blow.

Like with the rapier, if you focus too much on the parry then you are likely to “chase” his sword and end in a weak posture such that your arms are supported by your body. This means that not only will your thrust not land, but your parry will probably collapse as well.

Note: If the opponent has his right foot back, use a Parry Position with uncrossed arms. This will again look like an extended Ochs, but on the left side.

Another feature that you should note about this technique is that the hilt is lower than it would be in Kron. Since the hilt doesn’t move as far, one can presume that the technique takes less time.

Schaitlerhaw and the Suicidal Fencer

Let us now return to the Schaitlerhaw (Vertex Strike), Liechtenauer’s means of breaking Alber.

A critical flaw in many interpretations of this action is that it leaves the attacker susceptible to a thrust to the chest or gut. This criticism is often dismissed by claiming the fencer in Alber is being “suicidal” because he isn’t using Kron.

The problem with that argument is that we’ve already established that Kron isn’t Alber’s goal. As per Mair, Alber was intending to use a thrust all along. If Alber is hit it isn’t because he made a tactical mistake, but rather because he failed to correctly execute the thrust.

As for the fencer in vom Tag, what else but suicidal would you call someone who makes an attack that he knows will draw a thrust without any plan for how to counter it?

Conclusion

Any interpretation for breaking Alber needs to account for the thrust that the fencer in Alber wants to perform. Rather than assuming the fencer in Alber is going to use Kron, the interpretation needs to force the fencer to choose that action instead of his original plan.

Posted in Longsword, Paulus Hector Mair | Tagged | Leave a comment

Interpretation pages on Wiktenauer

I’ve started working on putting interpretation pages on Wiktenauer. I’ve chosen Figueyredo Greatsword Simple Rule 1 to preview the format.

In order to make the interpretations easy to find without being obtrusive, my proposal is to place a simple link at the bottom of the technique’s translation.

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The interpretation page itself will start with just a link back the to manual it refers to. Below that will be headings for written interpretations, video interpretations, and related forum discussions.

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As a reminder, this is rule for videos on Wiktenauer:

Technique interpretational videos will be included at the bottom of every technique page. Only post one video per group. Also note that videos are expected to be of reasonable quality. Be sure that you can be clearly heard while speaking (or include subtitles), that you are actually demonstrating the technique and not just atlking about, and that users can easily see what you are demonstrating.

I would like to finalize the format ASAP so that we can use it for the April video challenge. So please post your questions and suggestions right away.

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Straight Sided, Flat Bottom Wooden Bowls

For reasons I can’t figure out, the sacrificial wood method of mounting the bowl blanks that served me so well in the past just isn’t working for me any more. So I’ve begun to experiment with using chuck turning techniques instead.

Here are my first two attempts. Both were started using the sacrificial wood method where you glue newspaper (or something comparable) between the good and sacrificial wood. Both times they separated just as I started to hallow the inside. So I turned the blanks around and mounted them on the faceplate, then proceeded to turn a groove in the bottom.

The one on the left was my first attempt. The groove wasn’t deep enough so the chuck dropped it a couple of times and tore out a chunk from the bottom. The second attempt, right, was turned from beech and didn’t have any problems.

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I started the hollowing process using a round carbide chisel, then switched to a square radius to get the straight sides and bottom. In technical terms I’m happy with the results, but artistically I think I prefer having curved sides.

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For the outside, I like the half-circle on the bottom of the first bowl. The decorative groove near the top could stand to be a bit deeper, but I don’t have a chisel that can do that at the moment. The Multi-Tip Hallowing Tool with a 1/4” cove cutter looks promising.

WP_20150328_009

Neither bowl has been finished yet. I’ll probably use Salad Bowl Oil, but that takes forever  to apply because of the long delay between coats.

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Letter Opener

The acrylic handle was turned on a wood lathe at MakerPlace. Brass fittings are from a kit sold by Rockler.

Originally I made it using traditional chisels, but that led to the handle chipping. I cut off the damaged portion, and remade the rest of the handle using my new carbide chisels. The difference was night and day. I can’t see going back to traditional chisels when there is carbide option available.

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Sword Hilt with a Green Hot Patina

The hilt and pommel cleaned and prepared using a sand blaster. Then heated with a propane torch attached to a MAP-Pro tank.

To check the temperature, dip a chip brush into some water then dab onto the metal. It should steam and immediately be dry. If it visibly boils, it isn’t hot enough yet. If it is instantly dry without steaming first, it is too hot.

I used  Sculpt Nouveau Universal Green Patina. The cheap spray bottle that comes with it is horrible. The field of spray is too wide, the droplet size too large, and I’m overall very unhappy with it. It is no wonder that the training video produced by IMS shows them using a brush, high quality spray bottle, or professional paint gun instead.

Alternate between the torch and spray so that the metal doesn’t cool below the operating temperature. Universal Green doesn’t need to be washed off, but other patinas do so check the instructions on every bottle.

WARNING: Once you start applying the patina, don’t recheck the temperature using the wet chip brush. Water droplets interact badly with the patina, leaving crusty scars.

The patina itself worked great. It looks chalky at first, but some rubbing with ultra-fine steel wool fixes that and leaves a surprisingly deep luster for a base coat.

To protect the piece, I used Premalac. This already started to form a hard coating coating in less than an hour. I applied a total 3-4 coats, allowing it to dry completely between each one. The label says that it takes 24 hours to fully cure, which means I can test its durability tomorrow.

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If I can find some, my next step is to try Sculpt Nouveau Green Wax. This should further improve the appearance, offer more protection, and be easier to touch-up after heavy use.

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