Here ends the wide plays of the sword in two hands that are plays joined with other plays. That is, remedies and counters from the right side and the left side, and counter thrusts and counter cuts for every reason, with breaks, covers, strikes and binds. For all these things it is very easy to understand what they mean.
Here begins the plays of sword in two hands in narrow play in which it will be of all manner of covers, and strikes, and binds, and breaks, and grips, and sword disarms, and throws to the ground in different ways. And they will be the remedies and counters for every reason that you need for offence and defence.
On the face of it, these paragraphs do not say much more than this is the end of one section and the start of another. Like everything else in this book, it is worth looking into a little further.
The first sentence is grammatically awkward in describing the wide plays as being ‘plays joined with other plays.’ The intent is clear enough, however. Marking the first contact with your opponent when coming from out of range, the wide plays are a bridge to the close quarters where the real damage happens.
Of course, a finishing strike can be, and often is, achieved from wide play. In modern applications, that is typically where the bout ends. In the context of mortal combat, however, these plays then join on to other plays as you continue a successful attack with a barrage of techniques flowing through the five things you must do.
The introduction to narrow play promises a lot, which it certainly delivers. Fiore never explicitly states what wide and narrow play are. He is by no means the only person to use the terms, however, and possibly felt no need to explain common knowledge. Although here, the word ‘stretto’ is translated as ‘narrow’, it does not really have a directly equivalent word to translate to. ‘Cramped,’ ‘tight,’ ‘close’ could all be used depending on context. Stretto has a sense that there is no comfortable place to move to.