Fabris – Plate 1: The Withdrawn Prima

The first plate shows what I’ll call the “Withdrawn Prima”. Fabris doesn’t like this posture, but does discuss its merits and flaws before introducing his preferred posture which we’ll call the “Extended Prima”.

Guard Analysis


  • The width of the stance is narrow (left) or crossed (right)
  • The length of the stance close, approximately half a foot-length apart
  • The right leg is straight with the knee over the rear foot
  • The left leg is bent with the knee over the same foot
  • The hips are back, well behind the feet
  • The head is just past the front foot.
  • The shoulders are over the feet
  • The right hand is high
  • The right arm is bent and somewhat withdrawn
  • The right shoulder is higher than the left
  • The left hand is extended past the hilt
  • The eyes are looking beneath the sword

Comments by Fabris


  • The head is well defended, especially on the outside.


  • It is not safe because the forte (strong) of the sword is too far from the body
  • If you are attacked below your sword you don’t have time to defend yourself with the sword
  • Unless you break measure (back way), you must use the left hand to defend the face/body
  • If you do parry with your sword, your counter-attacks will be with a two-tempi action. This is to say, you can’t parry and attack at the same time from this posture.


  • Breaking measure, exclusively

Comparison with Other Styles

  • Only Agrippa has the close stance, but he does not cross the feet. Capoferro does cross the feet in this posture, but with a long stance.
  • No one else has the hips shifted back nor the head so far forward.
  • While all of the other styles have the hilt high, none actually pull the arm back as shown in Fabris.





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1 Response to Fabris – Plate 1: The Withdrawn Prima

  1. Pingback: Fabris – Plate 2: The Extended Prima | Grauenwolf's Study of Western Martial Arts

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