Second Giganti II: Voids against cuts

Giganti offers a second defensive alternative to cuts against the head roughly described as “don’t be there”.  In contrast to the parries, the void leaning backwards provides for two responses, one a bit more contratempo than the other.

Both options proceed from the void. Against either the mandritto or the roverscio, simply lean your torso further back, bending your back knee a little bit extra to add additional measure and lower your head (so that his blade is no longer making a leg of a right triangle while yours has to make the hypotenuse).  This works only if you’re fighting at measure.  Inside of measure the lean doesn’t gain you enough distance to make the opponent’s attack miss.

From here you have two options:

First: the lunging thrust delivered in the last part of the opponent’s cut, after his blade has passed you but before he’s stopped his momentum, targeting “where he is exposed” (his right flank below his sword arm).  The extra bend to the rear leg primes this lunge, but there’s still that wasted time as his cut misses.  As Giganti eschews waste, he then proposes a second option.

The second option: a contratempo cut to his leg.  As he takes the lunging step to deliver his cut, you deliver a cut to his lead leg while leaning back.  This works only if his lunging step brings his lead leg into range of your sword even while you’re leaning away from his attack to your head.  Again, the lean back and lowering of the head changes the geometry to make it  possible to reach his exposed leg without bringing your head into reach of his cut.

While performing this cut, Giganti instructs you to keep your sword high.  This likely refers to your sword-hand: lowering your head and raising your guard will protect your head if your opponent tries to adjust the arc of his cut to follow you, while still permitting you to angle your wrist to cut to the leg.

If, in his lunging step, you determine you can’t reach his lead leg, then you have the answering lunge (the first option) to fall back on, and plenty of time to make the distinction and adjustment.

Here, also, Giganti states explicitly what was inferred in the earlier plates:

A mandritto counters a roverscio (and a roverscio counters a mandritto).

In the case of the opponent’s mandritto, this means both of your blades are travelling from your left to right, and he will not be able to block your attack.

Despite the order in which Giganti presents them, it seems the contratempo cut to the leg is preferable, being almost unanswerable.  However, if the measure does not support it, there is the fallback to the lunge, even though it exposes you more (there’s a possible counter-cut from the opponent before your lunge lands).

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