Fabris, Notes on Chapter 13

Firm Footed Attack: An attack made by either advancing the forward foot and quickly withdrawing it, or by just bending the body.

Pass: An attack in which you pass with both feet, continuing all the way into the opponent’s body. But which foot moves first?

The hand is inaccurate because of the bending of the wrist at various distances. Thus you should practice by bending the body with your lunge and quickly withdrawing it. This will make you body more agile. This will take a lot of practice.

Keep your feet close together and your weight on your non-moving foot. This will allow you to reach further when attacking and withdraw faster.

Refused Guards

Don’t use a guard with the left foot forward, your reach will be short unless you pass. If you do pass, your tempo will be longer, you may end up too close, and you may not have time to retreat.

You can use a left-forward guard as an invitation. This works because when you pull your left foot back it changes your body position, allowing you to perform a single-time parry and counter. Again, if he doesn’t bite don’t initiate an attack from this guard.

This guard is more useful with a dagger.

Proper Guards

The guard with the right foot forward is faster for attacking and recovering.

When you recover, withdraw the right foot completely behind the left, and then follow with the left. This way you end in a proper guard, but so far back that you are totally safe (assuming you were not hit in contratempo).

Don’t move the right foot too far back, as you still want the option to redouble you attack instead of fully retreating with the left foot.


Passes are good because they can confuse and unsettle your opponent, and they display more courage. You will hit harder and can more easily change lines. Once you pass his point, your opponent cannot wound you.

When you pass with your left side, still lead with your right side. You will be stronger and be performing a void at the same time.

If you misgauge the distance, or the opponent also lunges, your firm-footed attack may place you too close. In this event, pass forward with the rear foot into your opponent. The danger is when you enter measure, passing takes you past the point and back out of danger.

If you get wounded after striking your opponent, it is because you failed to pass into him or didn’t take the tempo correctly. If you pass as soon as your opponent moves his sword forward, he won’t be able to withdraw it in time to strike you. Of course only do this if you have found his sword or his sword is otherwise off-line.

Some will still manage to strike you after you pass, especially with shorter swords. This won’t be a problem if you learn to pass all the way to their body.

The person who passes will be more ready to take the initiative, the opponent will be on the defensive and less ready.

If you pass, you gain the ability to void or girata. If you want to void to either side, it is best to get closer at the same time. This way you can also attack in the same tempo and you also move inside of the point before your opponent can redirect his attack. If you retreat instead, you may get hit by a counterattack before you reach safety.


If you pass all the way to your opponent’s body, you can wrestle if you choose. This works especially well if your opponent is in shock from having your blade run him through all the way to the hilt.


Another idea is to push the entire length of the opponents sword way off line to either side. If they try to recover they will most likely move their forte, making the opening wider. I’ll have to figure out how to do this without giving momentum to their blade.

Passing to the body is much more dangerous when using daggers. There is however safe ways to do it, which will be explained later.

Learn both passes and firm-footed attacks, as the situation will dictate which is preferable.

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