Manciolino’s Sword and Buckler – Guardia di Testa First Provocation

The provocation

throw a mandritto to his face, or flanks, or if you wish, to his leg.

The response

against the mandritto to the flank, leg, or face, you can withdraw your right foot behind your left into large pace, and in this tempo you will avoid the mandritto however it may be done. And finding yourself in coda lunga alta, thereafter you will extend a thrust to his face, and in this extension you will step forward with your right foot into large pace, giving him in this tempo a mandritto to the face.

In the past I didn’t think of this as a true provocation. All you are doing is throwing a simple attack, it isn’t really all that impressive or effective. Or so I thought.

Watching my class I noticed that legs strikes were actually pretty common. And they weren’t badly executed either; they certainly didn’t need to be told to covering their head with the buckler while doing it.


The most common mistake when executing this drill is timing. All of my students they paused until their opponent’s sword stopped moving. What they needed to be taught is to thrust as soon as the blade clears their leg. Any hesitation and the success rate of the technique plummets.

Other mistakes including not stepping back far enough or quickly enough, but that just takes practice.


This technique works with either foot forward. Just make sure it is the lead foot that contracts and expands.


Since this is just our level one class we didn’t perform the whole technique. Specifically we skipped the mandritto that follows the thrust. When we start the level 2 class we’ll revisit this drill in its entirety.

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