Giovanni dall’Agocchie – Fourth Provocation from Coda Lunga Stretta

The fourth provocation requires some pretty fancy blade work. This can be done with an arming sword, but is much, much easier with an actual sides sword. The difference being that a side sword, like a rapier, has finger rings so that you can place a finger or two over the quillon for extra control.

Beyond which you can step forward with your left or right foot to his right side, and extend a punta riversa to his face, and as he raises his sword to defend himself, you’ll immediately advance forward with your foot and turn a mandritto tondo to his head in the same tempo, or, after you’ve extended the said thrust, you’ll turn your fist downwards, thrusting an imbroccata to his flank, and your sword will stop in porta di ferro.

This begins with a thrust to the face. We’ve found that this occurs well to the left of his blade such that his sword is actually your false edge. Were he to simply raise it your false edges would be kissing, something that will come into play when dall’Agocchie talks about the bind.

What happens next depends on what he does. If he goes somewhat high, you can overpower him by rotating your hand from fourth to first and thrusting downward with an imbroccata. And then like the first footwork drill, you turn your hand down into third.

If instead your opponent goes really high, pick your point up and then cut horizontally to the left side of his head. (Or, being beneath him, you could just trip him with a bit of a push. But I think dall’Agocchie would frown upon that.)


Fourth, when he thrusts the punta riversa in order to wound you with a mandritto, you’ll immediately go into guardia d’entrare, joining your true edge to his sword, pressing the point into his chest; or, as he extends the said thrust, you’ll hit it with a riverso, retiring your right foot back a pace in the same tempo, followed by another riverso sgualimbro, which will fall into coda lunga alta.

This is your standard true edge on true edge counter-thrust, what the German’s would call an absetzen. It is important that you think of this as a thrust. A really common mistake is to try to do this as a dui-tempi action, a parry outwards followed by a thrust. When you do it that way the thrust will not be accurate and the parry less effective. There is no real trade-off here, concentrate on thrusting and you’ll be safer.

One further note. Be careful that you wind the correct amount. Some people thrust straight in without turning their true edge against the opponent’s sword. Their counter-thrust will land, but the flat makes for a poor parry. Other people turn their sword too far, presenting their other flat to their opponent’s edge. So only turn it just far enough to keep your true edge against their blade, however high or low that blade may be.

But again, this winding of the blade happens while you thrust. Rotate your sword as it moves forward, not before.

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