Note: For the purpose of this article, we’re assuming that the Halpschilt interpretation of Guardia di Testa is essentially correct.
In chapter 143, Marozzo gives us a set of basic attacks from Guardia di Testa that he wants us to teach to novice fencers. The following diagrams are meant to help illustrate how these cuts can be performed using mostly the wrist and elbow.
While you could simply raise and then lower the point for the vertical cut, this is a bit slow and very obvious. So instead we let the point fall to our right, loop around, and then strike from above.
As the sword falls, there will be a place where you’ll naturally want to turn it over such that you are leading with the false edge. As it swings around, you’ll turn the sword a second time such that the true edge is again leading. This transition is marked in blue.
Don’t step right away. Instead, begin your step roughly the same time you transition from false to true edge and start really powering the blow.
For the horizontal cut you’ll again be making a full circle, only this time it will be in the horizontal plane. Lead with the false edge until the point is behind you, then power the cut with the true edge.
Again, begin your step as you power the cut.
Continuing our theme of full circle cuts from the wrist, the Sgualembrato or diagonal descending cut begins by dropping the point over the buckler. It will lead with the false edge for part of the arc (blue), then the flat (purple), and finally the true edge.
As before, we are still stepping as the blow is powered through the true edge part of the arc.
Our last primary cut from Guardia di Testa strikes with the false edge rather than the true edge (hence the term “falso”).
Begin by raising the point, then let it fall behind you. At the bottom of the arc you’ll be leading with the false edge and can power the blow.