Giganti VIII: Coming to Grips

The grip on the inside with sword in-line

The grip on the inside with sword in-line

Giganti’s standard policy is to win the fight outside of measure or as you come to measure.  Everything after that is just pushing your sword through your opponent.  Coming to grips, then, shouldn’t happen unless somebody did something wrong.  I think I’ll repeat that: Coming to grips shouldn’t happen unless somebody did something wrong.

Giganti prescribes coming to grips as a response only to finding your swords in parity inside measure, which is achieved by your opponent parrying strongly instead of disengaging or voiding as he should, and your failure to disengage that parry.  To be strong enough, the parry must be large and strongly committed, providing a big tempo.  Also, it’s very likely going to take his point off line.  In the big tempo of the parry, before any counter-attack can begin, you pass and seize their hilt

From this point his decision tree starts.  He presents four grips, based on whether you’re on the inside or outside, and whether your point is inline or off-line.

If your point is in-line (or close to), seizing the hilt frees you up to continue your thrust, so you should.  If it is off-line, you can deliver a cut or a pommel strike.  In SCA heavy rapier, where these aren’t allowed, if your opponent wants to throw big strong parries, it behoves them to make sure they parry your sword off-line, because that effectively deprives you of your best counter and provides the tempo of you trying to re-align your thrust for them to seize your guard and achieve a “hold”.  Instead of coming to grips in this setting, then, disengage (in a “break sword contact” sense, by a yield, demi-cavazione, or other means) or half-sword through.

When on the outside, Giganti instructs to seize the hilt and push it to your outside.  When on the inside, Giganti adds an additional twist.  You’ve most likely disengaged from the outside to the inside during your attack, and your opponent’s hand is in second.  Seize the upper part of their hilt, then curl your arm under like John Heisman carrying a football, pinning it against your side, rotating your hips to your right as you do so to defeat any strength advantage he has in his arm (and pull his mass towards your center of gravity).  This will turn his hand and arm into quarta (and in a very weak position).  If he’s smart, he’ll let go of his sword.  If he’s not, you’ll shatter his hand as you pull his hilt out of his grip. Of course, don’t do this, or at least all of this, in the SCA.  But it’s definitely amusing to visualize.

 

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