Stretta Means Close

When looking at the stretta plays of Manciolino one of the most common mistakes is for the fencers to be too far apart. So I wish to present some signs that you are too far apart.

You can thrust

This is the most reliable of all the indicators. If your point is within the silhouette of your opponent, don’t even bother trying to perform a stretta technique. Just push the point into your opponent and call it a day.

When we first started experimenting with stretta plays, we found that most of them were trivial to counter with a thrust. You don’t even have to try, a panicked response is enough to land the point.

Once we started getting into true stretta measures this ceased to be a problem.

You can’t kick

One of the plays in Manciolino involves kicking your opponent with your right foot. If you are not close enough to plant your foot in their belly then you aren’t close enough. (Or you  are really inflexible and need to do some yoga.)

You can’t wrench

In this play by Talhoffer we see a parry followed by wrenching with the pommel over the wrist. Manciolino has two versions of this technique, one for the inside and one for the outside, with accompanying counters.

Notice how high the points are. You have to be this close or you will be wrenching over  their blade rather than their wrist.

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You have to dive to grapple

Many of the stretta plays involve dropping one or both of your tools and grappling. My current favorite has you drop both sword and buckler, push your head under his right arm, and throw him over your shoulder.

Can you do this from range? Certainly. But if you opponent is aware then he can easily hit you on the back of the head as you dive forward. At thrusting range this technique requires a step or two, which means you give him multiple tempos to work. At proper measure I can pull this off in a single fluid action.

True vs False Edge Binds

This was really confusing for awhile because the terminology is more of a convention than  an explicit description of what’s happening in the bind.

True edge plays are binds on the inside. For right-handed fencers, that means the opponent’s blade is to the left of  your blade.

False edge plays are binds on the outside. Experimentally we found that these may be done with either the true or false edge.

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