Giganti 8: Countercavazione   2 comments

I’ve been pimping Giganti all over of late (Caelia got a belated birthday present, and I told Miguel and Indy at Drums of War to invest in it).  I wonder if I can put together a class for August University.

So far, Giganti has taught two means of attack: Close the line, force a cavazione, and attack in the tempo of the cavazione; or, if the line is closed against you, perform your own cavazione (*turning the hand*), and attack.  Giganti now continues to build the arsenal.  Again, not with particular tricks, but with skills to be applied in whatever situation calls for them.  Here, the option of counter-disengaging your opponent’s disengage (to return to the initial line) is taught, so that you can close the line to the inside or outside, and land your attack in that same line (the first tactic presented results in landing the attack in the opposite line).  To the instructions:

The Contracavazione to the Inside

Gain your opponent’s sword so that he will require a cavazione

Sounds familiar

As he performs the cavazione, perform one of your own so that your two swords end up on the side where you started, with you having the advantage of the sword.  In the same tempo… deliver a thrust… [and] recover out of measure.

Get advantage, keep advantage, kill, recover.  Time to add counter-cavazione to the drill set.

There is a note (which he goes into a bit further in the next section):

Keep your arm extended (so that if he attacks you, his body will meet your point).

I generally don’t teach new fencers how to stop thrust.  It’s kind of mean, afterall, and new fencers don’t have the experience to cushion the blow (a well-developed stop thrust also promotes hanging out in range, which is stupid.  Or at least it did for me).  But a well-executed counter-cavazione, against most fencers, will end up in them running hard onto your point.  The onus of injury is always a tricky subject, because many, many fencers will get pissy if they hit your sword hard with their bodies, and I’m always cautious of the reputation of my students as “hard hitters”.  Or maybe I should fall back on the adage of a certain provost: “Learn to fucking parry”.
The Contracavazione to the Outside

Like the cavazione discussion, he does the same with this topic: Discuss it in general to the inside, and then discuss it to the outside with more elaboration.  So skipping the repetition lets find the meat:

Be advised that if the opponent’s attack is forceful, you will need to keep your body back as you perform the cavazione, to prevent his point from reaching and striking you.  In this case, the opponent will be unsettled by the very violence of his own thrust and will come and meet your point.

Again, if he’s willing to do it, let him run onto your point.  Simple, efficient, and lazy.

Always bear in mind to keep your sword out of your presence

I’m just going to copy Tom Leoni’s explanatory note for the definition: “situating your hilt and your forte so as to push or exclude the opponent’s blade from your silhouette while you attack or counterattack”.  It’s one of the many things I’d been doing, but not conceptualizing, until I read Giganti.

Next week: Feints!

Posted June 24, 2010 by wistric in Giganti, Italian Rapier

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