Introduction of the Style
Presentations of the Sword
Movement of the Fight
Where to Put the Sword
Distance and Measure
Putting it All Together
Advanced Concepts
Saviolo's Actions
What to Wear

Part VI


Up until now, you have been doing drills that get you familiar with distance, measure and movement. They have been light on attack and defence and have not covered use of the off hand. Now we can start to put everything together, and in doing, be able to add more to what is envisioned in this method.

Each learning point used here is going to be layered like an onion. Each layer is a foundation for another. It all needs to be stacked together to be functional. or too long, the SCA approach has been to take a bit of what works here, and there; and try to put it to some use. It is kind of like a charm bracelet; each thing on it is different and might not be related to the other. It's chunky and might not work together as a whole. Instead, think of a historical method as a string of pearls that all theme together to work. The footwork needs to be solid, and theories need to be understood and it all works together and in concert with another.

So, let's start putting it together.

Close The Line.

Closing the line is found in many different manuals at the time. The dagger helps to close the line by pre-emptively closing the line, instead of the sword. The primary defence is supposed to be done with the dagger, if at all possible.

If just using a sword, Saviolo uses two basic positions to parry with. If there is a dagger involved, the is no difference with the use of the sword for closing the line. Just use the sword AND the dagger to close the line together.

         Closing the line outside     Closing the line Inside

A lot like the onion again, we add layers to this in order to make it work. The bottom layer of the sword does exactly what it will do with or without the dagger. We just add the dagger into the mix, and not substitute the defence with the sword with that of the dagger. However, it will be the preference now that the dagger is added, to use it as a defensive option as much as possible. This frees the sword for offence, for what it was meant to do.

Three Tempo Drill

This drill is done with full kit, at full speed combat. Initially this drill is being presented as a sword drill only (Spada DeFilo) but can be used with off hand weapons, off and, etc. You can refer to this drill whenever you adopt a new weapon, offhand thing, or want to learn how to defend against something.

As usual, we have an Agent and a Patient. The Agent will start out of distance, and will have three tempo's to complete the attack, once it starts. The Patient, is limited to a static position, standing on their surest ward. The Patient is limited to closing the line, but is not able to move out of distance. The Agent is responsible for measure. Once the attack is started by the Agent, the Patient is free to use any counter and parry needed, and can only move a pace in one direction or another. The Patient must concentrate on defence but can't pass out of measure. The Agent will have three tempo's to try and make a touch on the Patient. The Agent is not limited to any direction, distance or tactic To win, the Patient must survive the pass/make a touch on the Agent; and the agent must make a touch in three tempos. The Patient can't leave the fight, and the Agent must think it out.

Start with an Agent and a Patient
-Agent starts out of measure
-Patient stands on surest ward
-Agent steals measure using any if the footwork previously covered
-Patent must remain static and can only close the line (offering a counter)
-Agent plans out an attack
-Agent launches attack when ready, and has only three tempos
-Patient has no restriction on tempo, but can't actively react until first attacked
-Do 10 passes and then switch

Points: Like the rest of the drills we use here, both roles have very important learning points. The patient is going to have to deal with defence, and must think mainly of defence. The Agent has to figure out how to crack the nut in three tempos.

Attack Suggestions;
-Thrust to the outside in Secunda with a left slope paced step; Cravatsion under the opponent to the inside line; beat parry (parry 7) and thrust Stoccota with a Shallow Incartata.
-Thrust Stoccota to the opponent with an advance pace; allow for the opponent to parry and counter; pass back far enough to absorb the attack, gain control of the blade and thrust to the face in Quadra.
-Thrust Stoccota to the opponent's inside line; Cravatsion to the outside line and beat parry (parry 6); attack to the outside in Secunda with a left slope paced step.
-Falso Manco to the outside line with a short left slope paced step; parry to the outside going into Code Lunga Stretta; right pass forward and thrust in Stoccata like an Imbroccata to the face (thrust in Terza).

Constant Contact Drill
This drill is my personal favourite. You will need your full kit, mask, gloves, etc. The goal is to make a touch to the opponent, without ever taking your blade off the other. This means that in an ideal setting, there will be no Off Line attacks made against the opponent. If you simply cannot make your touch while also controlling the other blade, you lose. Also, don't practice this drill with the use of the off hand. You should learn to be 100% proficient with the sword before ever taking up an additional thing to use.

Start this drill around Middle measure with tips Menacing and the blades crossed by about 3 inches. There is no Agent or Patient for this drill. You each try to make a touch to the body or head without losing contact of the other sword. You can disengage, provided that you only re-engage the blade. You can take the blade off the other one to make your touch, as long as your hilt or the blade has locked out and prevented a counter attack from the opponent. You can also use an effective parry that moves the other blade Off Line as long as you cover the others blade when you make your touch.

When doing this drill, you must not allow yourself to double kill. You should not use a faster reaction speed to power a shot in, or to hit the opponent off line, or to do a pass and hit them from the flank. This is not a gun slinger drill. This drill will wear you out, but teach you to "Feel" the opponent's blade and feel how yours behaves. Each blade is different, as well as the body holding that blade and this is a good drill to learn the limitations and benefits. For the touch to be valid, the opponents blade must be controlled or there must be a controlling contact, blade to blade.

Like the tactics drill above, you can come back with offhand weapons, or shields, and the like to use with this drill, but start it without any offhand.

Two fighters start in middle measure
-Blades are extended and touching
-Fighters move to counter and close lines as needed, always trying to gain control
-Cravatsion, beat or anything else
-Defence is the first consideration
-Contact or control must be maintained in order to "Win"
-When a touch is made, reset
-Do for 10 min

Points: The Constant Contact Drill is also a conditioning drill.  If done right, it is a bit of a workout on the arm. That is a secondary intent. The primary intent is to be able to understand how to react to the opponents blade by feel. This is a completely invented fencing contact, as there is no evidence that historical engagements would have worked out in this way. It is an SCAism, and fights may end up in this way. Even if the contact is brief, the ability to quickly counter by feel can get you out of a nasty situation.

OK, so now that we have talked about what it is, WHAT DID IT LOOK LIKE?

Since I always am looking at my books to remind myself of what I forgot, I wrote up a basic explanation of the conversation Saviolo has with Luke. Minus the extraneous verbiage, it's a break down example of what he is talking about. Essentially , it's a walk-through of how Saviolo sees the fight going. The important takeaway here is that it shows what he thinks the counter or the reply is to each kind of action. You may notice a lot of things here where the reply looks like the attackers action, in essence answering like for like. Another thing that may stand out is that in the counter moves, the sword may go to parallel the opponent. For example if the opponent attacks in a Stoccota, there will be parry action to neutralize that and a return in an imbroccata, which puts the blades in a parallel or near parallel plain. Similarly with cuts, if the opponent cuts a Riverso, it may be expected to defend that, then return a Riverso back. This is taken from the "First Day's Instructions on Rapier and Dagger." Saviolo is using this to explain how his system looks at the fight, in a kind of conversational exchange.

  • First Ward: Sword held in Broad Ward. First is Active Dagger, second is active hand.
  • First Ward: Sword held in Low Extended Ward. Dagger is passive.
  • FIRST WARD: Stand in Right Lead, with the right leg slightly bent, weight on the left. Sword is in Low Extended Ward, point is in the face. The first line is the Agent's actions, and the second line is the Patient's actions.

    -Right circle pace step
              -Re-assemble to right lead

    -Stocotta in tirce
              -Body void, offhand control to right

    -Right remove + riverso
              -Thrust to counter riverso, go to guardia defacia

    -"Break thrust to left"
              -Remove left foot, cut a dritto and thrust a stoccota

    -Go to "High Ward" defending the stoccota. This may be the so called Universal Parry
              -Right compas step + stoccota and beat left

    -Thrust imbroccota in counter time
              -Beat left + fendente

    -Incartata, and gurardia defacia
              -Right compass remove + stoccota

    -Body void + right beat + right remove
              -Side step as much as possible

    -Remove to side, compass like
              -Imbroccata like a stoccota

    -Advice: With an opponent that presents a long stance, hand parry and do a left remove
    -Advice: Defend a Riverso with a Guardia Alicorno, and from that guard hand parry and cut a Riverso

  • Second Ward: Sword held in broad ward, left foot forward, dagger active
  • This one is from Saviolo's Second Ward. I should talk about the wards, as being different than the positions. The things such as low extended ward, first, second and third positions; etc. are not the wards in and among themselves. Saviolo's wards are more like ideals of how to approach the fight. The second ward is more in common with Agrippa's concepts of how a fight works, as in the dagger or off hand does all the defence and the sword is mostly reserved for attacking. Here, the ward is one with the left foot leading the sword back in broad ward, dagger and sword nearly meet. The left arm is totally straight with the arm in line behind the dagger. Keep the dagger out pointing straight at the opponents face. When thrusting with the sword, step through to a right lead, transitioning to a right lead in an attack, removing to a left lead when needed.

    -Both assume second ward, defend all thrusts with off hand
    -Side step to the right, and assemble to a right lead using a compass step
             -Right remove to stay in measure

    -Hand parry a thrust and stoccota with a right compass step
             -Hand parry the stoccota away to the right, and a right remove with a punta riversa

    -Switch from right to left, extend the dagger straight up beat the sword to alicorno
             -Step to left lead and stoccota to the face

    -Retire to change ward, right remove and stoccata
             -Steal measure using gathering steps

    -Stesso tempo a stoccata
    Here Saviolo kind of breaks down into a little bit of advice and loses the exchange between fighters. He kind of gets back on track later.
             -Mezo tempo the stoccata by doing a stoccata to the face with an incartata
             -If the leg is attacked, remove and counter with a stoccata
             -If counted with a stramazone, defend with an alicorno braced with the left hand/and or dagger

    -Defend a cut to the face with a stoccata to the face. I assume he is referring to the stramazone
             -If the stoccota is given to the inside line, do an incartata with a riverso

    -Alternate stance to right lead twist to the left and lean forward
    -Parry the stoccota with a cinghiara porta di ferro alta
    -Parry the stoccota with a codelunga alta
    -Thrust from the outside, redirect the sword with a right slope paced step

             -Switch to a left lead, and defend a thrust away with the left hand, keeping contact with the opponent's sword and cut a riverso
             -From a broad ward, three steps: To the right, back to the left and then to the right
    -Reverse lunge and stoccata to the left or right

    So, again we see here in the second ward, Saviolo shows what kinds of actions a fighter can take. The conversations on "Second Day Rapier and Dagger" here he shows how the ideas of the second ward work. Off hand with or without dagger is very active in the defence. Notice there is no advice to attack with the dagger, which I find odd, but that could be a factor of measure in that this stance offends with the sword and has a great potential to cover a pretty great distance with the thrust.

    Introduction of the Style
    Presentations of the Sword
    Movement of the Fight
    Where to Put the Sword
    Distance and Measure
    Putting it All Together
    Advanced Concepts
    Saviolo's Actions
    What to Wear