Second Giganti: Introduction and Preface   1 comment

Three years after working through Tom Leoni’s Venetian Rapier, his translation of Nicoletto Giganti’s first book, Piermarco Terminiello and Joshua Pendragon (really, people are still named Pendragon, isn’t that awesome?) have discovered, translated, and published The ‘Lost’ Second Book of Nicoletto Giganti (1608).

Their introductions are fascinating, and an excellent testimony to the fact that we’re still in the nascent days of researching all the period manuals available (a quick look at Wikipedia’s by no means comprehensive list of period manuals gives an idea of just how few are actually available in translation ).  But I’m going to skip to Giganti’s first preface (there are many prefaces in the book, some less pre- than most of the book).

Want to know more (and why shouldn’t you?), go buy it.


Just as with the discussion of the first book, the impulse to block quote the entire chapter is strong.  Giganti’s writing is clear, though he doesn’t get explicit about some of the nuances, and probably as good as anything I can do.  Still, nothing wagered…

He opens with a reminder/acknowledgment that his first book was about fighting with and against thrusts, mostly with just the single sword, and now he’ll move on to other weapons forms and cuts.  The thing that goes unmentioned here is that in his first book he at least twice derides those who fight with cuts: One in the discussion of fighting against people with no form who simply beat the blade (a beat is a cut at the blade), and the other in his lunge against the opponent priming a cut.  What he’s then about to discuss is how to defeat people who haven’t studied his first book, and who fight in a sub-optimal style.  Or, Standard Issue SCAdians.  

In my own experience while studying Giganti I ran into the same problems he discusses (“If someone who knows how to thrust faces another who does not… they will both strike eachother”).  I’d land good clean thrusts, but get caught with a counter-tempo arcing thrust.  Or have my sword beat aside while trying to do very pretty cavazione.  Some of this was ameliorated when I went back, read, and internalized the chapter on how to defeat the opponent who fights with beats and no form.  A large chunk of this second book amounts to further development of that theme and how to counter the “natural cuts” of the formless opponent with “concerted blows” and “artful cuts”.

Posted January 31, 2014 by Wistric in Giganti, Italian Rapier

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