Second Giganti IX: Offhands that are Just Like Dagger

Giganti introduces his defensive secondaries (buckler, targa, and rotella) by saying there’s no difference between them and dagger.  “Anything you have learned with the sword and dagger can be accomplished with the sword and rotella/targa/buckler.”  Which means if you’re using them differently, you’re doing something wrong.  Probably, you’re thinking you can offend with the dagger when it really is just a narrow, highly mobile shield until you’re standing face-to-face.  And at that range, you can also offend with a buckler rather effectively if striking the face or hands.

So take all of this ( and this ( and replace dagger with targa/buckler/rotella.  Like those, your defense with the off-hand weapon is performed in the same tempo as your extension with the primary weapon.

Starting with the rotella, the large, circular, strapped-to-the-arm shield.  Two guards are illustrated.  The first, high guard, is with the sword in prima protecting the face and the rotella defending the torso.  The second, low guard, is with the sword held withdrawn and the head and upper torso behind the rotella.

As you’d expect, it protects the inside line best, deflecting or blocking damn near anything so long as it’s held extended in front of you to close the lines.  To summarize his instructions: Anything coming from the left you block or deflect with the flat of the rotella; anything froom the right you block with the edge of the rotella, or the sword.  The more it drifts back towards your body, the more exposed you are.  Though Giganti does take care to instruct to hold it with your fist upward so that your arm doesn’t tire as quickly and so you can carry it where it doesn’t block your vision, which does limit the range of your extension.

Also, he likes it for night melees, which should really be a thing for the SCA, because I have health insurance.

For the targa, the wavy rectangular-ish shield, the instructions are largely the same: Keep it extended but angled so it doesn’t block your vision, anything from the inside is blocked or deflected with the flat, and anything from the outside (he also includes thrust to the inside, though I suspect he means between your sword and your targa in this case) is deflected with the edge.  He points out that the rectangular shape, and the folds in the metal, catch blades very well.  Other than that, use it as you would a dagger.

At this point you can surmise his instructions for the buckler.

5 comments to Second Giganti IX: Offhands that are Just Like Dagger

  • Ruairc

    Fabris’ treatment of offhands is very similar, although Fabris himself is less explicit. Guards, parries, and finds with the cloak are the same as with dagger. Even the hand parries follow the same patterns.

    Once you know how to use one offhand, you know how to use them all – more or less. Case seems to be special. Perhaps because it’s the only form with a foible?

  • Brian

    “Night melees”.

    I have participated in one torch-light tourney. I don’t remember if I faced Dante or Kenji. I do remember being knocked unconscious. More correctly, I remember picking myself up off the ground, not knowing how I got there, with a wicked headache, and a gigantic dent in my mask.

    Never again. EVAR!@#!@

    • Dante di Pietro

      That was NOT me. I did one Torchlight Tourney back in like 2005. I think you were in it (de Moray?), but Kenji was not. I definitely didn’t KO anyone, as my tactic of the entire night was to hold my sword out at eye level and run backward.


      • Brian

        That was me. And that was the event. One of torch, of which we were not allowed to be near, because “fire”.

        Stupidist rapier thing ever.

        Given that I was knocked out, my memory of the occurance is… Less than reliable. Never have had that occur before, or since.

        I will be haooy if I never see anything related to rapier via torchlight again.

  • Wistric

    Sounds like a case of really crappy lighting. When we did the torchlight pas, we had four torches, each taller than head height, providing illumination. That worked pretty well.

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