Remember when I'd poke at some Fabris plates, and did that, and posted about it? Me too! Let's do that again, and roll in with Plates 30 and 31.
(Yeah, things got kind of crazy for me, and I lost a lot of free time in my brain. Now it's back, so good.)
Plate 30 has what Fabris calls "a wound of mandritto to the head against a third." For reference, a mandritto is a cut delivered from right-to-left. There are a number of sub-types, as you might expect, and Fabris only specifies the type of mandritto in one variation.
The first variation in Plate 30 has one fencer having found the other's sword to the outside. Fabris doesn't specify who has found who, and it really doesn't matter. The action really starts when the fencers both "lock blades" and our opponent starts pushing us to the outside. As soon as we feel that pressure, we yield to the pressure and deliver a cut from the wrist while keeping our hilt on top of the blade. Fabris notes that the opponent's blade will fall enough so that we can put our forte on their blade, holding it down, and thus prevent them from parrying the cut.
I may be missing some implicit information here, but I'm interpreting the delivery of the cut to be entirely on top of the blade - it's very similar to how Fabris wants us to avoid the blade entirely when a beat is delivered. Release your pressure, the opponent's blade falls, and you can deliver the cut while angulating your blade above theirs. Keeping your blade on top and your hilt by their blade is key, because you'll be using that to stuff their attempts to bring their blade back into play.
The second variation of Plate 30 is a good deal different, though. We find our opponent's blade on the inside. Our opponent performs a cavazione and pushes forward to strike from the outside. As they do this, we have turned our hand over to re-find their blade on the outside - but just "let the point fall" into a mandritto fendente, again keeping our hilt by our opponent's blade.
Sometimes it's just easier to drop a cut into your opponent's head than to bring your blade back into line and then push it that way, y'know?
Plate 31 returns us to what's probably more familiar territory for most rapier fighters, and more point work. The first variation starts with both fighters in Third, to the outside. We make an invitation to the outside, and our opponent takes it, moving into Second and striking while stepping with their right foot. Our response is to bail on parrying, perform a girata of the left foot while we cavazione to the inside (rolling our hand into Fourth), and striking.
The other way this wound could happen is if both fencers are on the inside. We move to find our opponent's sword, and they cavazione while turning their hand into Second (which is normally a really good idea). We continue our motion from finding our opponent's blade (and this is a really important detail - don't pause, just keep moving your blade) and perform a contracavazione with the girata and striking - all without touching our opponent's blade.
I really like Plate 31 - it's an interesting application of the fundamentals (Avoid blade contact! Don't pause! Strike in mezzo tempo! Your hilt to their blade!) but it reasserts points from earlier plates that you don't always need to be on top if you're doing things correctly. You want to be, sure, but striking with your blade angled downwards is fine if that's the most efficient way to close a line and to keep your point free of your opponent's blade.
I find performing a girata in earnest combat hard. That said, I think it's really one of those movements that you don't plan for, but just happens. It's worth pointing out how I see the differences in how Fabris illustrates it here than from how Capo Ferro illustrates it, though. Capo Ferro has a fairly extreme body twist, and the left foot is thrown way out there. Compared to Fabris, who doesn't have nearly as extreme a torso twist and keeps the feet much more together and under the body, it really seems to me like the girata of Fabris is one that can be much more easily recovered from. When I try to do it and actually succeed, it feels very much like I can continue to step forward from there and press my opponent. I don't remotely feel like that when I try to duplicate Capo Ferro's girata. I should try to see if it's a product of the opening body postures or what, because based solely on this, I really prefer how Fabris is doing them.