Longsword – Making a Monkey of Your Opponent in Pflug

If you prefer to fight defensively from Pflug, or a similar low guard, it can be quite frustrating when your opponent doesn’t comply. Though you carefully open the line you want him to attack along, he either ignores your invitation or doesn’t even see it in the first place.

Manciolino has some advice for this,

If someone wants to cause the enemy to throw a blow that he will parry in order to reach him in that tempo, it behooves him to make such a blow three or four times one after the other almost in the manner of an invitation, and because the custom of players is to ape, the adversary will be compelled to make a semblance, by which you will make him throw the blow that you wished.

This can be applied to the longsword using a simple drill.

  1. The agent stands in Pflug, the patient in whatever guard suits him.
  2. The agent, desiring an attack to the upper left, flicks his sword at his opponent’s upper left. This is done with fixed feet, or at most a step no more than half a foot-length.
  3. As the flick is completed, the agent moves the sword slight to the right as to expose his upper left.
  4. Repeat the flick until the patient makes his attack.
  5. The agent this parries and counter-attack as per normal.

The flicks used in this exercise should be performed outside of measure. While they are more effective if they pass in front of the face, or tap the opponent’s sword in an annoying fashion, care must be taken by the agent to not overextend himself. The movements should be so quick that by the time the patient perceives the flick, the agent is already back on guard.

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