Manciolino’s Sword and Large Buckler: Coda Lunga e Alta 1

Manciolino’s sword and large buckler section starts in book 4, chapter 1. It opens with an invitation from Coda Lunga e Alta. Keeping the left foot forward, you press your opponent to react by either backing away or by attacking.

This first technique assumes he attacks with a thrust. Leoni translates,

Pass with your right foot towards his left side, delivering a riverso to the sword arm in that tempo and letting your left foot follow behind the right; then, keep yourself safe by passing back with your right foot and setting yourself in Code Lunga e Alta as above.

Playing with Measure

When you perform this technique, it is very important to pay attention to measure. You want to approach in such a way that the opponent is encouraged to launch his attack at the extend of his measure. If he doesn’t attack and just stands there you need to abort the technique and make your own attack. If instead you keep stepping in, then eventually you’ll be so close that you can’t his thrust in time.

Making the Invitation

A common mistake in this kind of technique is to form too good of a guard. If your guard is without obvious flaws, then your opponent may attack where you are not expecting or break measure and not attack at all.

The large buckler, which is roughly 12 to 14” across, doesn’t leave much in the ways of openings. But you can create one simply by raising or lowering it a few inches from your centerline.

For this particular technique, we find it is best to invite an imbrocata or descending thrust so we lower the buckler just enough to expose the left breast.

A Void with a Counter-time Action

Though he doesn’t use the term, this technique is essentially a counter-time or contra tempo action. Because this is taking place at wide measure, you can perform the cut to the arm faster than he can complete the thrust.

Do note, however, the cut to the hand is not alone sufficient for this technique. Even if it lands, which it won’t always do, it may not stop the sword’s forward momentum. Thus the footwork is essential for removing yourself from the initial line of the thrust.

That said, don’t think you can rely solely on your footwork for safety. If you neglect the hand and instead target, say the head, then he may be able to redirect the thrust and still hit you.


At the conclusion of this technique you must return to a good guard. It is not enough to simply stand there congratulating yourself on injuring his hand while he closes to punch you in the face with his buckler.

Manciolino will stress this again and again as we go through the techniques in this chapter.

Video Interpretation

This entry was posted in Antonio Manciolino, Sword and Large Buckler and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Manciolino’s Sword and Large Buckler: Coda Lunga e Alta 1

  1. Hey guys,
    The counterattack you’re demonstrating in the video is a mandritto not riverso as per the instructions from Manciolino. It’s travelling right to left not left to right.

    The problem you’re having is you are starting from a position where center of mass is lined up at center of mass. The technique works much better when you line up sword hand to sword hand. That then allows you to counter the thrust with a mezzo riverso counterattack to the outside of the opponent’s sword arm/hand on a pass right. It also gives the opponent an invitation to thrust to your high outside line, which sets them up for the counterattack.

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