Sword in two hands - Wide play

Sword in two hands – 15th scholar – Wide play

Folio 27 r. d

Translation

The scholar who is before me told the truth, that because of the turn he has made you do, I will cut you in the back of the head. Even before you can turn to cover yourself I will give you a great wound in the back with my point.

Interpretation

The 15th scholar is the logical end point to the play of the 14th scholar. Although the weapon used and the exact target may vary, the concept of this play can be applied as a follow up to any of the many elbow pushes found throughout Fior di Battaglia.

If you catch someone with a good elbow push, the most you can reasonably expect them to turn is just a fraction over 90 degrees to your right. It is mostly less than that.

Use the time your opponent is off balance to adjust your own footing. There are no hard rules as to how to do this, as the details will entirely depend on where your opponent lands. You are aiming to move around to your left as far as you can so as to get behind your opponent. This could involve a simple pivot on the ball of your foot. It may involve a couple of steps.

Be aware that with a simple pivot, the further around you go, the closer to your opponent you will end up. This is not necessarily a problem, but it will influence your choice of attack. You will need to be aware of your distancing as you spin behind your opponent, and adjust appropriately. Wherever you move to, you will need to do it quickly. Keep your weight low and your elbows tucked in, so as to centralise your weight and increase your speed.

Fiore gives a couple of options of stabbing your opponent in the back, or cutting to the head. In practice, it doesn’t matter which, if either, of these options you choose. The sudden shift in angles will give you a rich field of opportunities. Pick one, and make it a finishing strike.

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