Sunday, December 21, 2014

The First Four Wounds of Fabris - What Did We Learn?

I've had a bit of a break in the flow of going through these, so I figured I'd use that opportunity and take a look at the first four wounds with the single sword that Fabris shows us, and see if there are any good universal rules that we can take away from them. (Spoiler: there totally are.) In no particular order (because let's face it, they're all going to be involved with each other), we can see the following ideas:

  • Act in contratempo. This does take an understanding of measure as well, because if the tempo you're trying to act in is too short for the measure that you're at, bad things. On the other hand, if it's too short to strike in the measure you're at, try to use it to get closer while finding their blade.
  • Measure. If you're striking without acting in contratempo while in misura larga, it's not going to work. It just won't - they can always back up, and you're out of luck. Heck, if they're really good and you're at the edge of that range, they just lean back. (If they're really good, they end up attacking you in contratempo because you're closing range when you make that attack, so if they close that line you've just killed yourself. Don't do that to yourself, do that to the other person instead.) 
  • Combining the above two points - if you're in misura larga and you're given a tempo, you're almost always better off using that tempo to find their blade while (safely!) closing to misura stretta. Now you're good to go.
  • If they're not giving you a tempo, make them give you one. Feint and force a reaction. (If they don't react, hit them anyway.) When they react, it should be something that you were set up for, and then kill them.
  • No blade contact - at least not like 95% of everyone in the SCA does it. 
  • Keep your debole free! Put your forte and hilt on their weapon! Win!
There you go. That's Fabris. Those are all things from the first four plates, and those are the key principles. The end.

In the next day or two, I'll post a summary of the next plate, which is pretty different from the first four, and is one of my very favorite wounds. Seriously, it's pretty great.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Fabris, Plate 24

It's been a couple days longer than I wanted, but here we are with Plate 24! Unsurprisingly, it's pretty similar to Plate 23, but only on the outside.

"This wound of Third against a Third..."

Fencers start at misura larga, on the outside, in Third. Fencer A will be the victor.

  1. Fencer A "motions to find" Fencer B's sword.
  2. Fencer B takes a step in to either:
    1. Cavazione and strike in Fourth, or
    2. Find A's sword and close to misura stretta
  3. A drops the tip of his sword, intercepting B's debole in the cavazione. A lunges, striking B in Third, to the outside and underneath B's sword.
Fabris clarifies a point after this - specifically, if your opponent's blade is free and he tries to gain an advantage with it and doesn't step in, keep the distance while trying for an advantage yourself. The tempo of the foot is longer than the tempo of the hand. 

On the other hand, he notes that if you do find your opponent's blade, you can take the tempo of him freeing it to step in while turning your hand to find the sword on the other side. 

In short, before you close, find your opponent's sword. Otherwise, bad things.

Short and sweet! Next time, a really cool wound in First.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Fabris, Plate 23 (Also, a book is back in print yay!)

Sadly, the book that's back in print isn't Fabris. It is pretty great though, and you should get it. It's Jeffrey Forgeng's translation of Meyer's Art of Combat. It's not Italian, but it's totally on my list of books to spend some serious time on someday.

Onward, then!

Plate 23, "This wound of fourth against a third..."

This time, Fabris makes it clear that both fencers are in misura larga, and on the inside, both in Third. Fencer A will be the victor in this contest.

  1. Fencer A moves to find the blade of B to the inside.
  2. B lowers his point to strike A underneath the sword.
  3. As A has only moved the point of his sword, he extends his point towards B's body, straightening the blade and turning into Fourth to place his debole against the B's blade, parrying and countering in a single tempo.
Fabris notes that B's mistake is to mistake A's original motion for one which would create a larger tempo. He should have lowered his point but not gone any farther before seeing what A would do. 

This is another straightforward exchange, and continues to demonstrate Fabris' desire to keep using your opponent's tempo. Additionally, I feel that if you perform the motion correctly, your point will always remain free - the only thing places against your opponent's blade is your guard. The downward angle of the blade might seem a little strange to some SCA fencers, but it can work really well if you don't point your blade too far down. You must keep your point inside the body profile of your opponent!

I promise, soon there'll be some more interesting exchanges, but they remain pretty brief, which is okay by me.