The Montante from Guardia di Testa in the Bind

In the assaulti of both Manciolino and Marozzo, we are often told to assume Guardia di Testa for a variety of reasons. From there, there are many occasions where we are asked to strike the dome of the buckler with our false edge, and the cut a montante.

When done outside of measure, this is just a nice looking flourish. But from the bind, it becomes quite interesting.

To begin, have your partner throw a Mandritto such that you will parry in Guardia di Testa (Head Guard) with the left foot forward. Thus bound on the left side, you will turn over your hand as if to strike your buckler with your false edge.

As you reverse your blade so that the false edge is on his, you will wrench his blade onto your buckler. The more he resists this, the more solidly his blade will bind with your buckler.

As soon as his blade slips off your sword and onto the buckler, immediately throw a rising cut with the true edge to his right chin or temple.

The Montante is not a Falso

The wording in Manciolino is somewhat problematic. He says that the Montante is thrown “in the manner of a Falso”. Unfortunately this has led many of us to incorrectly think that the Montante is performed with the false edge.

If you try this technique with a Falso, you are going to have a couple of problems. First of all, you waste a lot of time turning your hand back over. As this is a stretta play, the timing is especially tight.

Secondly, this throws your point too high. It is possible to account for this, but that takes even more time. And in general, the high point makes it much easier to parry.

So instead, throw the Montante as a true edge cut along the line of the Falso. This is a direct strike that will be very difficult to counter.

Video Interpretation

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10 Responses to The Montante from Guardia di Testa in the Bind

  1. that looks like a riverso riddopio to me, why would Manciolino & Marozzo use two different terms for the same thing?

    • Grauenwolf says:

      If I recall correctly, Manciolino doesn’t use the term riddopio.

      Marozzo’s cutting diagram shows it as a vertical ascending cut. So perhaps he sees it as a steeper angle than a riddopio.

      It also may be in how the blow is completed. A montante is almost always described as terminating in Guardia Alta. I would need to research this, but I think the riddopio is more likely to end in a guard like Overarm.

    • Grauenwolf says:

      I have a better answer for you. For a Riverso Ridoppio, you bring your hilt to the left side of your body. For a Montante, your blade goes to the left but your hilt stays on the right.

  2. Mark Nelson says:

    I was just reading the third assault today and Manciolino does use the term ridoppio there. That might be the only time.

    • Grauenwolf says:

      That doesn’t surprise me. If I recall correctly, the assaults also have a guard or two that he doesn’t mention elsewhere.

  3. When I asked Richard Cullinan about this last year he had an interesting suggestion. The false edge touch to the copula keeps the tip up and then you cut a falso in a circular fashion hence “in the manner of a montante”. This keeps the hand safer than cutting with the true edge and cuts them below their buckler which is harder to parry.

    • Grauenwolf says:

      Performing the falso alone adds a lot of unnecessary movements. Trying to keep the tip up while performing the buckler touch even more so.

      The true edge montante is a really tight action that flows easily off the buckler. There is neither textual nor physical support for contorting it into a falso.

      • voronos says:

        What about the montante-like thrusts? Marozzo has them ending in (cinghiara) porta di ferro alta (Chapters 14 and 16). And he has you throw a few montante that end in guardia di testa, which seems much easier if the point is already up (Fourth and Fifth part of First Assault).

        And the play you describe seems very similar to Marozzo’s second play of gioco stretto (Chapter 27).

      • Grauenwolf says:

        I’m still working on that. Some montante like thrusts are clearly point up, others appear to be point down as if you began the cut as I described and mutated it into an imbrocatta.

        One clue may be from dall’Agocchie who, when thrusting imbrocatta, turns the hilt down into a stoccata like position. (Presumably stirring his opponents guts in the process.)

        It could be both. Start with the true edge montante, and then mutate it into a stocatta or imbrocatta as per where you are told to aim. But further reasearch is in order. Right now all I can say for certain is the montante originates with the point down and it isn’t a falso with a useless buckler tap.

      • Grauenwolf says:

        27 is interesting. Though more sophesticated than what I demonstrated, it definitely uses the same core theory of reversing for control of the bind.

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