Monday, March 11, 2013

Coverta within Fior Di Battaglia - Sword in One Hand

Before departing the mounted section and turning to look at the sword in one hand I want to draw your attention to one last thing. It's small and tucked away, but I believe it is a key phrase and plan to come back to this idea after a throughout examination of the plays of the sword. This is found in r43.

"pò covrir e ferir in un voltar di spada"
"that is, parrying [cover?] and striking with a single turn of the sword" - Tom Leoni

This is the follow on bit of text after Fiore has instructed us to beat a lance aside. You parry/cover and strike with a turn of the sword. There are two things I want to draw out of this. First is whether or not the covrir portion is talking about the initial beat action or if this is something you do after the beat? If it is simply the beating action then Fiore has just linked the words covrir and rebatte together and as such may have far reaching implications through the manuscript. While I am not ready to call all covers beats, it is an interesting hypothesis. The second part that makes this interesting is how Fiore describes the strike as a single turn of the sword. To me, this implies that the "up-down" beat-dritto action seen demonstrated often by many may not be quite what is described. Instead one should seek to beat the attack away and then turn the sword and cut, in this case the action would be beat-reversi. My wife calls this a "ribbon cut" as the sword travels a path like one of those cancer ribbons in the air.

Moving along into the sword in one hand section on r20.

"E in quello passare incroso rebattendo le spade ve trovo discoverti e de ferire vi farò certi. E si lanza o spada me ven alanzada, tutte le rebatto chome t’ò ditto passando fuora di strada, segondo che vedreti li miei zochi qui dreto, de guardagli che v'in prego."
"I'll cross and beat away your swords, find you open, and strike you for sure. Go on and throw a sword or a spear at me, and I'll beat them all away as I've described, passing at an angle as you will see from my plays, which come just ahead." - Tom Leoni

Here, we see the master standing in Posta Coda Lunga on the left standing against all manner of attacks. Again, we are very clearly told to beat the attacks away with no mention of any other action. Looking to v20, r21 and v21 we are again told a number of times to beat the attack.

"Quello che à ditto lo magistro io l’ò ben fatto: zoè ch’io passai fora de strada facendo bona coverta."
"I've followed to the letter what my Master said. I have passed at an angle making a good parry" - Tom Leoni
"Tu mi zitassi una punta e io la rebatei a tera"
"You attacked with a thrust and I beat it to the ground." - Tom Leoni
"Questo mi trassi per la testa, e io rebatei la sua spada."
"This one attacked my head, and I beat his sword away" - Tom Leoni

Making a good parry, as I followed what my Master just described. Well, the Master just described a beat, so I can only take that this could read, I have passed at an angle making the beat described on r20. Following this are a number of other plays that reference this same play of the Master, all there by deriving from a rising beat out of Coda Longa. On r21 and v21 we are again told to beat the sword down or away. Again there is never a single mention of any other sort of parry, collection, stop or deflection. Fiore's instruction is often to beat and is other wise silent.

Once again I believe it is safe to say that Fiore's advice is to beat away attacks. Particularly Coda Longa on the left we are to beat away all forms of attack; thrusts, cuts or throws. In neither the mounted section nor the sword in one hand section is there any instruction of any form of cover or parry that is not a beat. There are a few mentions of parry/cover which are left undefined and not directly linked back to instruction to beat.

Throughout the sword in one hand section, it could be reasonably said that all of the plays fall into one of a few categories. Those categories are: beaten aside, failed beat (resulting in one of a number of binds or yields), follow on plays or special play with explicit instruction. While this could be said of other parrying devices, it does hold for Fiore's instruction to make an initial beat and there is no need to add extra devices. Next I will begin the two handed sword section, where things are not quite as clear.