What is a Tramazzone and a Molinello?

In the broadest sense of the word, these are wheeling cuts. Some have taught me that tramazzone are wheeling cuts from the inside, molinello from the outside. Others say that all wheeling cuts are molinello and the tramazzone is specifically a wheeling cut thrown from the wrist.

Let’s looks at some historic and modern definitions:

Antonio Manciolino (1530)

Beyond these five there are two which are not principal because they only occur in the play of sword and buckler. The first is called “tramazzone”, which is done with the wrist of the hand that has the sword, with that winding from below upwards toward your left side in the manner of a fendente;

Elsewhere we see these passages

Not otherwise than was described above in the two previously discussed assaults, finding yourself with every genteel manner at one end of the fencing hall, and wanting to assault your enemy, you will pass diagonally with your right foot toward your right side, executing a molinetto, that is, a circling turn of the sword outside the arm, and then similarly passing with the left foot you will do a riverso from low to high that goes over your arm.

[…]

you will cut the edge of your buckler, throwing your right foot back in this tempo, and making your sword successively fall and rise into guardia alta, whence you will make another molinetto to the inside of the head with your wrist, that is, a revolution in the manner of a circled turn, and then you will draw your left foot near your right, retouching your buckler with a good blow.

[…]

The fourth fashion of offending will be that having your right foot forward, you will make a show of striking his left temple with a mandritto, but in that show you will let your sword turn in the manner of a molinetto, and immediately stepping with your left foot toward his right side, you will give him a riverso in his right temple.

Achille Marozzo (1536)

In regards to Coda Longa e Larga he writes,

Take notice that on this guard thou canst both assault and defend, for it is possible to use the false edge from the left, and to cut tramazone with both right or false edge, or tramazone roverso, or false filo tondo, or roverso sgualembrato, by turning the sword to its proper place. Likewise thou canst deliver thrusts from the right or left, with or without feints, and all the roversi that belong to them, &c.

In another passage he writes,

In this manner he will not be able to move and you will be able to give this that you will want, and know that if you do not want to do this counter to his roverso you will follow the right leg behind the left in the time he has parried your mandritto knowing it is natural to slice at your right leg or to fail in that time that you follow said right leg you throw a roverso tramazzon in the style of a molinello to his right arm or head to his right side. You will return in this attack to the coda lungae alta and here I want you to be agente.

Giovanni dall’Agocchie (1572)

Tramazzone is that which is done with the wrist in the manner of a little
wheel.

He never uses the word molinello. He does have various phrases that use the word tramazzone:

  • mandritto tramazzone
  • dritto tramazzone (universally assumed to be the same as mandritto)
  • two dritti tramazzone (plural of dritto)
  • riverso tramazzone

Angelo Viggiani

However, if you mix together these types, there are born thereof other imperfect blows, made up of these, such as mezi mandritti, tramazzoni, false feints, jabs, and plenty of other blows, reducible nonetheless to this Tree, which I now present to you for your gratification.

A. J. Corbesier (1896)

The object of the “moulinet” is to supple the wrist, and give it strength to manage the sword, to make and parry a cut quickly, and should therefore be frequently practiced.

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Ilkka Hartikainen (modern)

Tramazzone: A downwards strike delivered with a wheeling motion of the wrist.

Tom Leoni (modern)

Tramazzone: A fendente-like cut delivered with a wheel-like motion of the wrist (wrist breaks to the left)

Giovanni Rapisardi (modern)

Tramazzone: The cut executed “with wrist articulation in a molinello (a full circle executed by the blade to give more strength to the cut)” (Dall’Agocchie), is called the tramazzone.

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This entry was posted in Angelo Viggiani, Antonio Manciolino, Giovanni dall’Agocchie, Marozzo and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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