Practice Notes – A Montante is not a Falso

A montante is not a falso. Sounds pretty obvious, doesn’t it. Three different names for three different actions. But in the heat of the battle, one might forget this fact and use them interchangeably.

I am broaching this topic specifically in the context of Marozzo’s sword and buckler work where in the sword has just struck the buckler. Whether the false edge or the pommel is touching the buckler doesn’t matter, as one can be quickly changed into the other.

In the first assault you are instructed to throw two montanti from the buckler. It is essential that you actually use the second montante instead of a montante followed by a falso. While the are both rising cuts from Alta, and both come in at the same angle, they have very different weaknesses.

With a rising falso on the right the pommel is angled to the right. Also, your hand and elbow are to the outside of your blade.

With the true edge montante on the right, following the exactly same line of attack, your pommel faces inwards. Your hand is beneath and to the inside of the blade, as is your elbow.

This matters a lot. If your opponent’s sword is to your right, and you throw a falso, then your hand is going to get hit. Your hand is the closest thing to his sword and he cannot help but go through it to reach his intended target.

Learning the Montante from Alta

As far as I’m concerned the only way to learn this cut is with the use of a pell. Throwing a montante from the buckler is easy enough, but the second one is going to feel really awkward at first. If you are like me you’ll think that it has no power and the open-handed grip you’re forced to use adds the risk of dropping the sword.

Don’t worry about it. After a couple solid hits against the pell and it will make sense. Just do this drill:

  1. Start with the false edge against the buckler, your palm rotated inwards into 1st.
  2. Throw the first montante against the left side of the pell.
  3. Let the sword fall to the right as with a rising molinello.
  4. As it comes up, rotate the wrist outwards into 5th. This will allow you to strike the pell on the right with the true edge
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