Antonio Manciolino – Chapter 3, Alta Part 2

The next technique is a defense against cuts to the head.

And if the enemy throws to your head, meet his sword hand with a falso crossed over your arm. Or you can make a show of raising a montante, and in that tempo step forward into large pace with your left foot, and go with your sword into guardia di testa, there awaiting the enemy’s blow upon your sword. Which done, then you will immediately be able to step your right foot toward his left side, giving to him in that tempo a mandritto upon his head, so that your left foot follows behind your right, and going with your sword into guardia di testa for your shelter.

Technique 1

My first interpretation of this was a kind of weird circular motion that ended with a Falso Mancho along line F, but that didn’t make much sense. If you are going to cut that line you are better off with a Riverso Ridoppio using the true edge.

Second Attempt

This again is a rising falso, but a mandritto instead of a riverso. The blade, rather than the arm, crosses over the other arm. It is still a rather weak action that doesn’t seem to actually clear the line. Even if you hit the hand the blade comes crashing through your sword.

Third Attempt

The third interpretation my group tried is a descending falso over the arm accompanied with a rotation of the body. Which direction you rotate depends on the relative height of the fencers and the direction of the cut. I can’t offer any firm rule on this, just allow your body to void to which ever side feels right.

Technique 2

The second technique is much clearer. Simple cut towards your buckler with the false edge as if preparing for a Montante while taking a large step forward. Pause briefly with the blade in Guardia di Testa. As soon as its safe, double-step to the right while unwinding into a mandritto that puts you back into Guardia di Testa.

The text says to “await the enemy’s blow”, but we find that sometimes he’ll abort and not actually make contact. No matter, as his blade slows you can accelerate yours into your attack.

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