Filippo Vadi – Chapter 8, About Cuts and Thrusts

Rota and Fendente and Voltante,
against the thrusts are said, and so is shown,
that these are not dangerous.
And when they come at us,
all blows make them lose the way,
also losing in the process chance to strike.

The first part of this is easy to understand; upwards in downwards cuts, along with a turn of the body, can easily defeat a thrust. But what does, “losing in the process chance to strike”, mean in this context? Is he just repeating himself in regards to the thrusting fencer failing in his attack? Or is he saying that using a cut to defeat the thrust means the cutter also loses his chance to attack?

The latter makes a bit of sense. It seems to me that it is really difficult to do a single time parry and counter attack with a cut against a thrust. But I don’t want to actually make that claim because if that’s not what he’s saying then it’s going to lead me astray when it comes to interpreting later passages.

The swords stroke doesn’t change direction:
the Punta has little value against he who quickly turns,
the blows open their own way as they go.

The second line reminds me of Fabris and his fondness for using turns to avoid thrusts.

In that last line I suspect that Vadi is talking about constraints. If so, he is saying that cuts create their own opening, unlike thrusts that need an open line. But again, I could be reading too much into this.

If you haven’t a weak memory,
if the Punta doesn’t hit, it loses its burst,
and then all other blows are good to defend.

The thrust is a one-shot attack, if he misses you then you have plenty of options for a counter attack.

Against one the Punta finds good use,
and against many it no does no more its duty.:
this is required by treatise and the action.

Don’t rely on thrusts in melees, it is a tool for use in one-on-one combat.

If the thrust turns into rota do not fear: 
if it takes not at once a good fendente, 
it remains without fruit, in my opinion. 

I guess this means don’t worry about thrusts that are converted into rising cuts unless that rising cut is immediately followed by a descending cut.

Keep here your mind for a while, 
if punta enters and does not exit quickly, 
your partner will sorely strike back. 

Cutting a blow your sword is dead 
if the point loses its way while striking 
unless the low cross helps you. 

Don’t hang out in long point, after you thrust you need to get out of there as quickly as possible. If you can’t, a low cross (a bind with the points down and the hilts held high?) may be beneficial.

I’ll strike a straight fendente with the sword 
and I’ll pull you out of your stance, 
so that you go in a bad place. 

Is this part of the previous instruction about thrusting? Or is he starting his explanation about how to break a guard? By “break a guard” I mean to unsettle a person waiting in a guard so that they make a movement that you can take advantage of.

Don’t lose an hour of time 
and learn the long times with the serene hand, 
this puts you over the others and honors you. 

By “long times” I think he is talking about the wide play, fighting at the range where large cuts are possible. If you can win at that stage then it doesn’t matter how good your opponent is at the bind and the wrestling.

Break every low stance. 
Low stances resist only weak loads, 
and so the heavier break them easily. 
A heavy weapon doesn’t pass quickly in the opening, 
the light one comes and goes as an arrow with the bow. 

Um, yea. Let’s hope he actually explains how to break them later.

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