The first thrust taught by L’Ange is performed in Quarta on the inside.
Inside vs Outside
For those of you unfamiliar with Italian terminology, the “inside” means that your opponent’s blade is to the left of your blade. This position means that your entire weapon can be placed inside the silhouette of his body.
Conversely, your blade is to the “outside” if your opponent’s sword is on the right of your blade. Attacks from the outside must either offend the flank, pass over the opponent’s sword arm, or pass under the same.
If both fencers are left handed, inside and outside are reversed. If only one fencer is left handed, then he’ll be on the inside and his opponent of the outside or vice-versa.
Drill 1: Solo Exercise for the Thrust in Quarta
This drill should be performed in the air or against a fixed target.
L’Ange doesn’t give much details when it comes to the mechanics of the lunge, so I am adopting some guidance from other manuals. Specifically, that the arm is extended first, then the body is inclined, and finally the foot. In this manner you’ll be safer and can more easily abort the attack if necessary, while still being faithful to instructions that L’Ange offers.
- Assume a good Quarta.
- Extend both arms towards your opponent, your left hand somewhat higher to protect your face.
- Just before the arms are fully extended, start to incline the body forward.
- Roughly half-way through the inclination of the body, step forward with the front foot
As you perform these actions, L’Ange warns that your point, both your shoulders, and your feet must remain in one straight line. And he expressly forbids the dragging of the rear foot.
In this first composite illustration, you can see the transition from the guard of Quarta to the thrust of Quarta. The alignment isn’t perfect because it shifts the patient’s position as well.
The second illustration adds our normal foot, body, and drop lines.
- The true edge of the blade is against the opponent’s sword.
- The true edge is slightly turned up.
- The point is aimed at the base of the sternum.
- The head is lowered until the eye is looking just over the top of the hilt.
- The left-hand wards of any thrust not deflected by the blade alone.
- Both shoulders are forward.
- The body is inclined such that there is nearly a straight line from shoulder to the rear foot.
- The front foot only advanced two foot-lengths.
- The front knee is over the toe.
- The front foot is inline with the opponent’s right foot.
Drill 2: Thrusting in Opposition in Quarta
This drill assumes a compliant partner, as it is meant to teach the basics of the thrust. In later drills the partner will be able to perform his own counter.
- The agent starts out of measure in Quarta, the patient in Tertia.
- The agent advances one step, gain the weak of the patients sword.
- The patient hesitates, allowing the agent to advance another step in order to strongly constrain the patient’s sword.
- As soon as the the constraint is complete, the agent will thrust in Quarta as per drill 1.
- As you recover back into the guard of Quarta, keep your sword in position against the opponent’s so that he cannot riposte (counter-attack).