Giganti 20: The Conclusion   Leave a comment

In his last four chapter Giganti still introduces new concepts, reiterates some of his old standbys, and basically keeps ploughing forward.  It’s not really a concluding section, just “More shit to do with sword and dagger.”  Still, it’s what we’ve got.  Maybe we can find catharsis in here, or maybe it’s a Beckett play.  Maybe closure will only be found when… screw it, let’s go stab people.

Sword-parry and Strike to the Face

If the opponent [attacks to your face], parry with the sword and, in the same tempo, direct your point to his face.

All that discussion we had regarding Giganti 19, this is pretty much him reminding us what was said back around plates 21-26.  In this case, it’s the sword doing the parrying, rather than the dagger, but it still ends up the same way: Counter attack in the tempo of your opponent’s attack.

A note: in the illustration the dagger is shown also parrying to keep control of the sword (one guesses for any repeated striking of the opponent, or just because it’s a good habit to have)

He will be unable to parry the dagger in the tempo while he attacks… if he tries, his dagger would clash with his own sword, which won’t prevent your point from hitting him in the face.

So, if he tried to parry your counter while continuing his attack, your sword is right next to his; he can’t displace yours without displacing his, and you can push through on the kill.

There is also an artful way to use this action to deceive good fencers:  Uncover the left side of your body, with your dagger low to invite an attack.  The opponent will believe you will parry with your dagger, but you will instead do so with your sword, extending in the same tempo your right foot and straightening your point towards his face.

“That thing that your opponent thinks you’re going to do, don’t do that” (Dante or Dom can correct me on the exact wording)

It was pointed out that, especially for certain fencers at our practice who are very fond of defending only with their dagger, this would be a good change-up that would score a kill on an opponent who knew you.  In general, any opponent who demonstrates sound knowledge of fencing could be expected to expect the dagger parry given the described setup.

The Pass in Sword and Dagger, to Grapple the Opponent and Strike him in the Face with the Dagger

Now comes a round of “Where’s Grappling?”  Seriously, read this chapter, and see where he actually provides any instruction how to grapple or good things to keep in mind when grappling.  I mean, yeah, there’s pressing your blade to his wrist, but it lacks a certain amount of… grapple-y-ness?  Anyway, at least the word appears, like, once.

Many have no choice but to come to grapples, since the opponent is impulsive in his passing.  Others pass out of sheer fury, lacking the patience to play at the point of the sword.

Sometimes the opponent charges you, sometimes you charge the opponent (but if you’re of this latter variety, you fail and should die.  That’s, like, half the point of the book up until now.  One tempo, at measure, not charging like a damn bull).

Others yet use the pass as a deliberate technique that will enable them to strike the opponent with the dagger.

Okay, so it’s going to be about passing, not really grappling.  Oh well.  Want to know how to grapple?  Go read I.33.  My life is all the richer for having the terms “Thrust-strike”, “nucken”, and “stab-knock” in my vocabulary.  It’s worth doing anyway, but a lot of it is “bind sword and shield, pass, grapple, OH AND HERE’S HOW SINCE GIGANTI WON’T TELL YOU THREE HUNDRED YEARS FROM NOW!”  Here’s the breakdown on the I.33 way: Once you pass, rotate your upper body to face the direction your opponent came from, wrap your off hand around their forearms, rotate your hips, and pull them down to the ground, where upon you beat the crap out of them and stab them.  Or, while facing your opponent (from their inside), wrap your arm around their forearms and pull them forward and down to beat the crap out of them.  Or, you can step in on their outside, wrap your arm around their forearms, and pull them down and to the left.  Anyway, ass whoopin’ abounds from there.  But it does lack the finesse of Giganti.  Speaking of which, I left him around here somewhere…

Here is how this last type of passing attack is performed.

By this point in the book, I thought he’d talked about passing with the dagger.  But there’s no actual chapter on it.  I went back and realized that, basically, my brain had done the quick, easy, and as far as I can tell accurate, substitution of “And stab the guy with the dagger” instead of the “left hand on the sword, cavazione, thrust, and cavazione again to stab a lot.”

But the breakdown of this plan:
Lure an attack on the outside, parry and pass forward while sliding your blade down his until your sword immobilizes his hand/wrist.  And stab him in the face.  Shivvity-shiv-shiv-shiv (or, in Giganti’s words, “Deliver as many dagger-strikes as you want”).  “How to pass with a dagger” would seem to break down to either shiv in the face, or shiv in the ribs.  There are a number of ways to get into it, the feints and cavazione of single sword lay them all out.

The Thrust to the Right Side in Sword and Dagger

A valiant fencer will never simply set himself in guard.  Rather, he will stand out of measure and evaluate the opponent’s own guard, then proceed slowly against him where he is most open.

Just re-read those sentences again.  Actually, re-read them another time.  This is what we did at practice.  Because that, at the end of the day, is Giganti on Guards.

Once in measure, he will strike the opponent

And that’s Giganti on measure.  And to strike:

Deliver a strong thrust as shown, turning your hand with the knuckles facing the opponent’s sword

Hey, true edge, remember?

And recover out of measure

Yet again worth repeating.

And in this penultimate chapter we really do have a re-statement of many of the basics.  Now for that final chapter:

The Pass in Sword and Dagger

Apparently he DOES have more to say… well, maybe.

I am including this illustration only as an example in this first book of mine — God willing, I will write others in the future and deal with passing with sword and dagger.

Also for that future book: Fighting at the half-sword (pretty much the only time that measure appears) and other weapons (buckler, rotella, cape, etc).  Oh, and copying Fabris and slapping his name on it.  Well, the plagiarism happened, the one he intended to write never did.  But, what with the two chapters he did write on passing with dagger, and with a certain realization that the fundamentals are the same whatever happens to be in your left hand, I wonder if he sat down to write it and realized that he’d just be repeating himself.  “Parry with the dagger to strike to the chest” is just as easily “parry with the targa/rotella/capa.”  I’d be interested to see his instructions on fighting case, but such is lost to time and literary laziness.

The actual instruction in this chapter, and there is one, is the importance of being able to disengage your sword once you’ve performed the pass and exchange your opponent’s blade to your dagger.  Once there, he illustrates withdrawing your sword arm and sword from engagement so you can then deliver a strike on a new line, and following with the dagger in case he tries a cavazione around it.

And so it ends.  By now, I think I can say I’ve read this five times.  Probably time to go add a sixth.

The lads (Gawin and Rory) are talking about starting over with it, and more power to them, but I’ll let them report their insights from doing so.  Meanwhile, Leoni mentioned new Fabris and Capo Ferro publications this year, so I’m going to twiddle my rapiers a little while until I hear that those were canceled.

Posted January 18, 2011 by wistric in Giganti, Italian Rapier

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