Based on my new understanding on how to read footwork, I’ve come to the realization that we’ve been doing Guardia di Sopra il Bracco wrong. But to understand why, we must first take a long, hard look at Guardia Alta.
Time and time again I’ve been told to never cross my feet. And I’ve always taken that as gospel. But after the Fiore seminar, which included a heavy focus on reading footwork diagrams and body structure, I now understand that is wrong.
Though it was a Fiore class, the primary example of crossed feet used comes from Marozzo. There is no ambiguity here, those feet are crossed. My previous inability to see that comes directly from the core precept of “feet are never crossed” and the blindness that entails.
There is also a camera angle going on here. Marozzo isn’t looking directly at you, he is looking a bit to the side. If he was looking at me, that buckler wouldn’t make any sense.
Lets add some lines to show the camera angle and something else is revealed.
Look at that, both feet are turned slightly outwards. You can play with the camera angle, making the red line steeper or shallower but you’ll never find a way to get both pointing in the same general direction. The left is turned to the left, the right to the right. And there is a reason for that. They didn’t draw the feet turned away from each other on a whim.
Consider: Stand in Guardia Alta with the feet close together and the right foot pointing directly forward. It is completely unbalanced and quite uncomfortable.
Turn your lead foot slightly to the left. Now it is comfortable, but the knees are locked. You can’t take a step without first rotating the right foot.
Turn your lead foot slightly to the right. It causes the knees to bend and pulls the whole body down. You are still upright, but with a lower center of gravity. And from this posture you can step backwards as easily as you can step forwards, which is important for Manciolino’s counter to the thrust.