Antonio Manciolino – Chapter 3, Alta Part 1

The first device from Alta is a simple attack to the hand. It relies on the fencer taking and maintaining the initiative (German vor) throughout the play.

Accordingly, posing the case that you and your enemy are in guardia alta, and that you are the attacker, you can throw a mandritto at his sword hand which will go over your arm, and then turn a riverso also to that hand. Then ascend with a montante to return to guardia alta; if you will do these three blows, your enemy will be unable to throw anything toward you that could offend you, because he would always come to collide his hand into your sword. But if it does not please you to throw the three aforesaid blows, you can turn a riverso to his thigh.

Footwork is not specified for this device. That doesn’t mean you should stay in one place with a fixed foot. Rather, you are expected to move according to the movements of your opponent, stepping forward or back as necessary to maintain the measure you prefer.

When using this device don’t pay attention to whether or not the cut lands. Just continue to the next cut without interrupting your flow.

There will be times when the hand doesn’t present itself. When that happens just attack whatever else is open, which will usually be a thrust to the chest.


The alternate text in green is somewhat problematic, as the author doesn’t give any indication of the timing.

Interpretation 1

Step forward and push the buckler into the sword hand, forcing it to stay high. As you do this, drop the sword in preparation for a rising riverso to the thigh.

It may seem more natural to cut a mandritto to the thigh. The problem with this is that it doesn’t leave you with any options for a follow up attack. The sword gets trapped between your body, his body, and your buckler. The riverso allows you to cut up and out, which can then be followed with a variety of attacks.

Interpretation 2

Use what Meyer refers to as a Hüffthauw or “Hip Cut”. This is a type of feint that begins as a head strike and then, just before the blades clash, is redirected to the hip on the other side.

Interpretation 3

You begin just as you would otherwise, attacking the hand. If prior to the second or third attack he brings his bucker high to protect the hand, you instead attack the thigh. As with the other variants, use your buckler to defend the head.

We’ll revisit the thigh cut in part 3.

This entry was posted in Antonio Manciolino, Sword and Buckler and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Antonio Manciolino – Chapter 3, Alta Part 1

  1. Pingback: Cutting Verbs: Throw and Turn, Drop and Ascend | Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

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