Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 7th master

Folio 43 v. b

Translation

Carrying the sword like this is called posta coda longa and it is very good against lance and any hand held weapon when riding on the right side of the enemy. It is well to bear in mind that the thrusts and reverse blows are beaten outwards, that is, across and not upwards. And diagonal blows are likewise beaten to the outside, raising the enemies sword a little. You can do the plays as drawn.

Interpretation

Both the 7th and 8th master of horse are the same. They are drawn as two separate characters to demonstrate the applicability of this posta in a variety of contexts. Where the 8th master covers against roverso blows, the 7th master shows the use of this posta against mandritto cuts as well as thrusts.

Ride in a long straight line at speed toward your opponent with your right arm crossing the body and the blade trailing behind you in posta coda longa. Due to being mounted, it is not possible to put any hip action into your beat. It is instead driven by a sharp contraction of the shoulder blades and expansion of the chest. The majority of the force, of course, comes from the movement of the horse. You are really just giving direction to the sharp end of it.

Fiores point that you beat your opponents weapon across and not up is an important one. Whereas on foot, you would cut up on a clean diagonal line, doing so here would cause you to strike your own horse in the head. Your sword needs to move in an arc up the side of the horses head and then across over the top of it. This lateral movement also serves to ensure that your opponents weapon is beaten well off line. It is by clearing your opponents weapon like this that allows you to move on to the plays of the 8th master.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – Counter to the 6th master

Folio 43 r. c

Translation

This is the counter to the previous play of lance and sword. The man with the lance strikes his enemies horse, because the swordsman cannot beat the lance aside when it is held so low.

Interpretation

The 6th master of horse carries his sword in posta dente di zenghiaro, so as to beat your sword aside before it strikes him. Counter this by dropping your lance low and driving it into the face of your opponents horse. Your lance will be well out of reach of your opponents sword at all times.

The horse will probably be killed outright, collapsing to the ground in an ungainly, thrashing heap. Even if it lives, it will be blind will pain, rage and panic and will be completely uncontrollable. Your opponent will almost certainly be thrown to the ground, possibly hurt and unarmed, and struggling to get clear of the dying horse. Take advantage of the chaos to ride them down before they can recover.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 6th master

Folio 43 r. b

Translation

The one with the sword waits for the one with the lance in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro. As the lancer approaches, the master with the sword beats the lance to the right and maintaining a cover strikes with a turn of the sword.

Interpretation

This play is a good example of how armizare applies the same principles in a number of different contexts. Here, the master takes the concept of posta dente di zenghiaro, applies it to a sword in one hand and does it from horseback.

The fundamental aspects of the posta remain unchanged. Strike up and to the right on an angle across the top of the horses head. Use the false edge of the blade to knock the opposing lance point off line. The mechanics of the beat are essentially the same as the 1st master of horse. Having beaten the lance aside, you can continue with a number of strikes as shown by the scholars of the 8th master of horse.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 2nd counter to the 5th master

Folio 42 v. d

Translation

This is another counter of lance against sword, where the one with the lance sets and holds his lance under his left arm, so that his lance will not be beaten aside. In this way he will strike with his lance against the swordsman.

Explanation

The concept of this play is an exercise in leverage. Although shown against an opponent chambering their weapon in Posta di Donna Sinistra, this play would work equally well against anyone with a sword on horseback. Regardless of your opponents guard, they will be aiming to beat the point of your lance aside before closing.

Striking the head of the lance like this creates a first class lever. The hand acts as the fulcrum, and as the sword strikes the lance head, the butt of the lance wants to swing out to the right. If you were to couch the lance under your right arm, as is usual, the lance is only as stable as your capacity to hold your arm tight to your body. Bracing the lance under your left arm is slightly awkward and reduces the lances manoeuverability, but it is locked in place by your entire body weight and your grip in the saddle. The lance wil break sooner than be beaten offline.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 1st counter to the 5th master

Folio 42 v. a

Translation

This is the counter to the previous play. The master carries his lance low so as to strike the horse in the head or chest. The player cannot beat such a low attack aside with his sword.

Explanation

The 5th master rides against you with their sword held in posta di donna, aiming to beat your spear aside and then strike you.

Counter this by ignoring your opponent and attacking their horse instead. Due to the length of the spear and your targeting, you will hit your opponents horse long before your opponent comes within reach.

The surest target is the centre of the horse at the base of its neck. If you hit here, you will drive your lance into its chest with the full momentum of both horses combined. This will kill the horse and pull the lance from your hand. It may seriously disrupt your own balance.

At the other end of the scale of potential targets is the horses face. If you strike there, you will keep a hold of your lance, but remember you are aiming at a moving target. The horse will try to avoid the lance. It doesnt want to be stabbed in the face any more than you do.

At the very least, your opponents horse will uncontrollably bolt, pigrooting and bucking in pain. If you strike it cleanly, it will collapse to the ground and thrash madly as it dies, doing unpredicatable damage to the rider as it does so. Take advantage of the confusion to ride down your opponent before they can recover.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 5th master

Foilo 42 r. d

Translation

Carrying the sword like this against the spear is very good to beat the lance when riding on the right side of the player. This guard is good against all other hand held weapons, such as pollaxe, staff, sword, etcetera.

Explanation

The master here carries the sword in Posta di Donna la Sinistra. Because it is a single handed sword, and also because you have to sit squarely on your horse, it cannot turn so far around you as when making the same posta with a sword in two hands. The torque you lose from the reduced body mechanics, however, is more than compensated by the momentum of the horse.

From here, you can cut over your horses head on a downward diagonal to the right, beating aside your opponents weapon. This is an effective defence not only against mounted opponents, but also as a general defence against any opponent with any hand held weapon.

In addition to beating your opponents attacks down, you can also make powerful cuts or thrusts of your own from this position. You should also be able to enter any of the plays of the 8th master.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 4th master

Folio 42 r. b

Translation

This master that flees is not armoured, and has a good fast horse. He repeatedly throws the point of his lance behind him to strike the player. And if he turned to the right, he could enter Posta Dente di Zenghiaro or Posta Donna la Sinistra with his lance, and beat and finish as in the first and third plays of the lance.

Explanation

You are being pursued by your opponent. Given your lack of armour, if they come within reach, you will be speared through the back. Being unarmoured and on horseback, your strategies largely revolve around speed and mobility. For this reason, you are riding your courser, a good fast horse. In this play, you use your speed and mobility to turn adversity to advantage.

The primary aim is to gain enough space so that your can turn around to face your opponent. You do so with this excellent example of offensive defence. Ride with your lance couched, and keep checking over your right shoulder to guage how close your opponent is. If they are closing in, flick your lance over your shoulder, then turn your body and extend your arm, throwing the point at your opponents face or their horses head. Assuming the lances are the same length, you will outreach them by at least an arms length.

Although this will cause you to slow down slightly, and possibly veer a little to the right, the need to defend themselves will disrupt your opponents pursuit. Keep doing this as often as is necessary. At some point, you will gain enough space to go fully on the attack.

As you judge that your pursuer has dropped sufficiently behind, expand the glance over your shoulder into a complete turn to the right. Either drop your lance point low into Posta Dente di Zenghiaro as the 1st master, or lift it into Posta Donna la sinistra as the 2nd master, depending on the circumstances in the moment.

Your opponent will be closing in fast. Beat their lance aside as described by the appropriate master play, and allow them to run onto the point of your lance.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 3rd Master

Folio 41 v. d

Translation

This master also carries his lance in Posta de Donna la Sinistra to beat aside the lance that the player throws. And the beat he does here with a lance can also be done with a baton or short sword.

Explanation

This Master uses exactly the same technique as the 2nd Master of horseback. Only the context has changed, highlighting the adaptability of this defence.

In the same way that you beat diagonally downward to knock aside an opponents lance, you can also beat aside a thrown spear. The Master demonstrates a concept more than anything else. Anything you hold which can reasonably be expected to be strong enough to swat aside a thrown weapon will work just as well here. Chamber whatever you are holding at the left shoulder and use a diagonally downward cut over the top of your horses head to knock projectiles out of the air from in front of you.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 2nd Master

Folio 41 v. b

Translation

This is another way to carry a lance against a lance. This master has a short spear and carries it in Posta de Donna la Sinistra, as you can see, to beat aside and strike the player.

Explanation

You carry a short lance as the 2nd Master. Your opponent will win a straight tilt due to their extra reach. You could carry your lance low, as the 1st Master did, however, your opponent may know the counter to such a move.

To resolve this problem, carry the lance in Posta de Donna Sinestra. After your opponent has committed thier line of attack, but before they make contact, beat diagonally downward with your spear, knocking their point offline. It does not have to be overly powerful, just enough to ensure that the point misses. At the end of this, the point of your lance should be aiming at your opponent. The momentum of the horses will drive it home.

Although it appears slightly different when done with lances from horseback, you should recognise this as an exchange of thrusts. Other examples of exchanging the thrust can be seen in

  • Sword in two hands – 8th scholar of the 2nd Master
  • Sword in armour – 1st scholar
  • Sword in armour – 2nd scholar
  • Spear on foot – scholar of the 1st 3 Masters
  • Spear on foot – scholar of the 2nd 3 Masters
  • Spear vs cavalry – 1st scholar
Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – Counter to 1st Master

Folio 41 r. c

Translation

This is the counter to the previous play with the lance, when one rides against the other with steel, and one lance is shorter than the other. When the one with a short lance carries it in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro, the one with the long lance similarly brings his lance low, because the short cannot beat the long. This is shown here.

Explanation

When two horsemen ride against each other, and both carry their lances in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro, the one with the longer lance will win the exchange. Each is trying to perform the play of the 1st Master, but the longer lance will arrive at its target first. This enables it to reach underneath the shorter lance and beat it out of the way.