Rethinking Manciolino’s First Assault, Part 1

My study group has gotten to the point where we are ready to start looking at Manciolino’s first assault. Having gone through the provocations I think I’ve got a better handle on what is intended by this drill.

Start: Firstly, opposite your enemy, you will place yourself at one end of the hall or of some other spacious field, arranging your body over your legs, and your sword and buckler in your hands, in such a manner that each movement, each act, each gesture is full of grace.

Lacking anything more specific, I assume that we’ll start with a very upright stance like which is used in Marozzo. The buckler is resting near the thigh, the sword by the side with the point low.

1: And wanting to come towards your enemy, you will pass diagonally toward your right side with your right foot, and in such passage you will give a blow with your false edge to the dome of your buckler, putting your sword into guardia alta, and your buckler must lie toward your face in the manner of a mirror,

This means to hold the buckler arm extended with the boss facing directly forward.

2: and passing forward thereafter with your left foot, you will touch your buckler again, arranging your sword into guardia di testa, the buckler falling along your left thigh,

When you do the touch hold the sword hand high. This is a hanging guard so the false edge is going to touch near the tip. Don’t lower your hand as that would expose your head.

When you transition into Guardia di Testa think of it as preparing for the counter-blow that would normally follows a parry.

3: and then you will step forward with your right foot, lifting your sword into guardia alta,

Stepping without cutting seems unusual to me. Perhaps the opponent jumped back after the parry so you follow after to get back into range.

4: and then passing with your left foot you will do a montante followed by an over-arm mandritto [Sopra il Braccio]. Then you will go with your sword into guardia di testa,

The montante is a rising cut, most likely with the true edge. It comes from the left side, then reverses direction and cuts the same diagonal downwards for the mandritto.

You will momentarily go into sopra il braccio, the overarm guard. But don’t stay there, allow it to circle into guardia di testa. This will essentially be a riverso squalembrato.

5: and stepping forward with your right foot you will touch the dome of your buckler with the false edge, and you will do a montante that rises into guardia alta,

This montante touches the bucker. Was the last one supposed to as well? Or is this one simulating a hanging parry followed by a cut while the other is just a cut?

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