Camillo Agrippa – What if he does… when I’m in Prima?

Fencing students love to ask “What if he does…” This was just as true in Agrippa’s day as it is in ours. So right from the beginning he answers that  question for a variety of scenarios.

What if he beats my sword with a mandritto?

I reply that this is nonsense, for, as I have often repeated, someone be tries to beat the point of your sword aside with mandritti is only fooling themselves. That is because you can, in a single action, without moving your arm any, lower the point in little bit moving the enemy’s sword, aim at his right side, extend your arm while rotating your hand, and step forwards with your right will hit him.

What if I can’t evade his cut?

When you cannot use this technique to defend yourself, then lower the sword from the first guard into the second and, receiving the Mandritto close to the hilt, take a traverse step to the right with your right foot and hit him with a thrust to the chest.

What if he beats my sword with a riverso?

Attack anyone who tries to be the sword aside with a Riverso or to do any of the other actions mentioned above in the same way, by keeping your arm steady but aiming at his left side.

I don’t like extending my sword out like that, he’ll just grab it.

Also, if the enemy wants to seize your blade, push it aside with his hand, or with his dagger, then in the same time and he goes to do this, take a traverse step with your right foot to your right side, and you can, while voiding your body, the enemy thrust below the waist in fourth.

I know this guy who can strike at my sword and just before it hits he reverses the blade so it plunges over and his opponent is hit with the false edge.

Some people say that by going on guard in first with your feet close together, you making it easier for the enemy to hit you in the chest by attacking on the outside of the cross with the false edge. However, by using your true edge to press his point to the outside, you can give him a thrust below in first.

Ok, but what if he just cuts my arm from beneath?

I say that in either case, if you step back into a wide or medium stance without joining your feet, and he must oppose your blade with his own, or else he cannot hit you.

If you want to defend against a cut to the arm, then at the same time the enemy makes the cut, turn your hand into fourth, extend your arm, and make a thrust.

Also, when the attacks, you can lower your body, move your arm backwards, and not moving from first any, except to lower your point, you can interrupt his action. From there, you can make whatever cut you think is best.

This sounds great and all, but it sucks for attacking. My opponent is just going to keep backing out of range unless I cock my arm for the thrust.

I say that he can dodge however he wishes, but it you attack him by moving your point all together in one action with your feet, and at the same time he moves, you can turn your right hand into high fourth, and, taking a large step to the adversary’s left side with your right foot while turning your body, void your body and hit him.

Yea, but I still think pulling back for a stab will make the attack more powerful.

Now if someone is provoked and tries to strike with a stabbing action, I say that it’s a good thing for you that he has decided to so disadvantage himself. When he draws his arm back, merely lower your hand from first to second, evade his point, and when you see him making this thrust, attack him with opposition.

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