We are three masters in guards with our spears, and they are based on those of the sword. And I am the first in Tutta Porta di Ferro (Full Iron Gate). I am placed to quickly beat the spear of the player, that is, I pass with the right foot and traverse off the line and in doing so, his spear will be beaten to the left. If I pass and beat in a single step, I will wound. This is something I cannot fail to do.
Holding the spear vertically with the point up, the First Master waits in Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro to sweep and counter any incoming attack. The length of the spear means the sweep will cover the entire body in a single move, something like a sliding door, and can then smoothly rotate into a counter thrust, either high or low depending on circumstances.
Alternatively, the master can rotate the spear into Posta Vera Crose and make a relatively close range attack with a butt strike.
I am positioned in Mezza Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Gate) with the spear. Beating and wounding is always my custom. Come whoever wants. With a short spear or staff, the beat with a step will not fail to wound, and all guards which step off line with short spear and short sword are enough when facing any long hand held weapon. And those which cover from the right, cover with a pass and a thrust. And the guards on the left side cover, beat and injure with a strike but cannot thrust well.
In the description of the Spear Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro, Fiore makes it very clear that the spear postas are just sword postas used in a different context. This is interesting in Posta Mezza Porta di Ferro, because when this posta is used with a sword, the right foot is forward and the point is on the centerline. By leading with the left foot here, the spear point has to swing off to the right. Functionally, this stance more closely resembles Sword Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro.
Regardless of nomenclature, all Fiore spear posta hold the point offline. As he points out here, all his spears and any relatively short weapon all make the same initial defence.
Slide your front foot off to the side. Beat the opposing spear point to the side while passing your back foot to the front. You will now be able to deliver a counter thrust of your own.
I am the noble Posta di Fenestra Destra (Window Guard on the right), and for beating and wounding I am always ready, and I care little against a long spear. Also, with a sword, I could wait for the long spear standing in this guard, which beats aside and obstructs every thrust. And I can exchange the thrust, and beat to the ground without fail. I want to finish in the play that is after this.
Posta di Fenestra translates easily across the different weapons of armizare. It is used not only with the spear, but also the sword in one hand, sword in two hands and pollaxe. It can be used equally well on either side of the body.
With the left foot forward and in a rear weighted stance, hold the spear in much the same way as you would a sword. The left hand is at the base of the spear shaft, with the right hand on top. Fiore shows holding the weapon quite a long way down the shaft. The closer your right hand sits to the balance point, the less reach, but more control you have. Your right hand should rest next to your ear.
This posta is ideally suited to exchanging or breaking the thrust. In beating aside incoming attacks, slide the front foot offline and step through with the back. Cut down and across with your arms, but keep the head of the spear as still as possible. This will give you much greater control and balance, as well as leaving you well placed to deliver a counter strike.
The three guards that are drawn above, that is, the tutta porta di ferro, the mezza porta di ferro and posta di fenestra, should all finish in this play, which is their art. Like this I strike for them.
The minimalist style which characterises armizare is most fully realised by the scholars of the spear. Regardless of which posta you come from, slide your front foot offline, and sweep your spear across your body as you step through. There is no need to push it off to the side. You are better off using the spear to control the centre line and stepping around it. This will make for a fast, tight movement.
With your weapon now dominating the centre, the spear should be aimed directly at your opponents face. As your right foot lands, extend your arms, driving the point into them as shown.
Such a beat and stab is a form of exchanging the thrust. You will see similar examples being used with two handed weapons in the following plays.
This is the counter to the three masters of the spear, which finished with the last play. When the masters believe my spear is pushed out of the way, I turn my spear back and strike with the butt, which has a good iron tip. The plays of these masters give me little trouble.
Having made a thrust at your opponent, they have stepped offline, sweeping your spear point to the side. They are attempting to counter your attack with a stab to the face as shown by the scholar of the first 3 masters.
As your spear head is carried to the right, add to its momentum and drive the butt of your spear up through the centreline. Slide you right foot back to get the distancing correct. As you do this, slide you right hand up to the near the spear head, and swing your hand to your right shoulder.
Step through with your left foot. Slide your left hand to the middle of the spear shaft. This will leave you with around a metre of spear shaft extending past your left hand to counter with. Use the anchoring of your front foot against the ground to drive the upward snap of your left hand needed to knock your opponents spear over your right shoulder. Use the pivoting of you hips to then push the spear butt into your opponents face. This should all be done as a single movement and ends in the moment shown in the picture.
It is worth noting that in the picture, the counter master has turned their right hand so that both thumbs face toward the centre. This gives a slightly slower movement than described above and also disengages the spear from your core. Such a grip means that functionally, neither end of the spear is the head. It tends to more defensive movements.
We are three left side guards, and I am the first in Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tusk). Those that were on the right side, we do the same on the reverse. We pass off the line, first of all by advancing the foot that is in front. And we easily make our thrusts from the reverse side. Both the right and left sides beat and finish with a thrust, because other attacks with the spear should not follow.
The master in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro with a spear is a mirror image of Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro. The spear is held vertically with the left hand uppermost on the spear shaft, while the right foot is forward in a rear weighted stance.
As with all the masters of spear on foot, this uses the universal defence of sliding the front foot off the centreline and sweeping the weapon across the body. Step through with your left foot as you do so, landing in Posta Breve la Serpentina. You will be perfectly placed to deliver a thrust into your opponents chest or face.
Although not mentioned here, you could also easily drop into Posta Vera Crose and deliver a short thrust with the spear butt if your opponent moved in too close and carelessly.
I wait in Posta di Vera Croce (True Cross Guard) because you are too close to me. My right foot which is in front, I will turn behind me, and I will beat your spear offline to the right. My thrust will not fail, but yours will.
Posta di vera croce is a rear weighted stance. The bulk of your weight rests on your left foot, with your knee bent. Your right leg is straight, stretching out toward your opponent. Raise your heel slightly. Such weight distribution allows you to occupy a given space, but move your body further away from your opponent. Your hips are well chambered. You right foot can easily slide to a new position without your body moving, giving this a degree of deception.
Each of your hands rests by its respective hip, with the spear aligning along your belt. This ties it directly to your hips and core. The butt of the spear points at your opponent, and you look over your shoulder at them, as shown. You are providing an invitation to your opponent. Your face and whole right side are apparently open.
The text tells us that this is a good posta for if your opponent is closing in. The rear weighting of the stance, the mobility of the front foot, and the fact that the spear butt does not extend so far, all combine to give you a bit more room to move.
As your opponent moves in to the attack, slide your right foot across so that your feet are shoulder width apart. Also slide it back to give yourself appropriate distancing. Fiore tells us you can step back well behind your left foot.
The line of your spear extends the movement of your hips, and the direct connection to your core gives this move a lot of power. You can either catch the incoming attack with the tail of the spear below your right hand, or catch it between the hands. The master play of the sword in armour demonstrates this second method. When doing this, keep one hand tied to its hip and move the other as little as possible. There is no need to push the attack out to the side. It is a deflection. If the attack misses by an inch, then it has missed and you are safe.
Drop your weight forward slightly onto your left foot, which will now be in front. This is not a big lunge, but a small drop to add weight to your counterattack. Drive your spear into your opponent.
Other examples of posta vdi vera crose can also be seen in the following.
I am positioned in Posta di Fenestra Sinistra (Window Guard on the Left). If I do not wound you with a thrust you will be lucky. With the point held high and the arms low, I will bring the back foot to pass off the line to the left. I will put the point in your face for you are without any defence. The play that comes next is how all three masters finish. If you try it once, you do not want to try it anymore.
This is a rear weighted stance with the right foot extending forward, ready to slide to a new position. Your left hand is on, or slightly behind the balance point of the spear. Fiore shows the left hand being held behind the head, although moving it forward slightly so that the knuckles of your left hand rest against your cheekbone will give you slightly better speed and control. The right hand crosses over the left, and controls the spear by moving it around the pivot point of the left hand.
You look down the length of your spear to your opponents face. Your right flank appears exposed, inviting an attack.
Against a thrust, slide your right foot across to shoulder width, and either forward or back to give you an appropriate distance. Strike with your left hand straight down the centreline. Pull your right elbow back to chamber your hand at your hip. This is something of a scoop, which will catch the incoming attack with the lower half of the spear shaft and direct it offline.
As with all deflections, there is no need to push this further out. Once your opponents point has passed you, you are safe. Be sure to keep your right elbow tucked in. As well as creating better mechanics, it also removes the possibility of it being hit with the deflected spear point.
Step through with your left foot. Drive your hip anticlockwise and punch out with your right hand, using it to power a counter thrust to your face. Keep your right hand low so as to maintain your cover. From posta to counterthrust is all done as a single smooth movement.
The plays of the spear that I do from the left side end here, obstructing their plays. These three guards shown above do not fail with either long or short spears, because they are both offensive and defensive. And the counter to this thrust can very well be done, when the thrust is broken by turning the butt of your spear and with that wounding the player. This is enough.
Like the first 3 masters, the second 3 masters make their play with a universal sweep, although here the scholar finishes with the hands high. Regardless of the posta you begin from, slide your foot to the right to open your hips. With your right hand by your right temple, swing your left hand up in front of your face. You want your spear point to stop on the centerline. Step through with your left foot to posta serpentino lo soprano.
The attack has already missed. Pushing the spear further offline will not make you any safer, but will slow down your response considerably. The sweep will cover your whole body, as well as creating enough triangulation that the attack will skim over your right shoulder.
Use the movement of the left foot to thrust forward into your opponents face as shown in the picture. This is a variant on exchanging the thrust. You can see other examples of this concept in the following plays.
Just because your sweep moves from left to right, you do not have to finish in posta serpentino lo soprano. Similarly, sweeping from right to left does not mean you have to finish in posta breve la serpentina. The two scholars simply demonstrate two possible end points. Whichever you choose will depend on the openings available in the moment.
The counter to this play is the same as shown by the counter to the scholar of the first 3 masters. As the attack is deflected offline, the player raises their left hand to their shoulder. Driving their right hip forward, as stepping as needed to provide correct distance, they drive their right hand straight up the centerline. This will beat your thrust over their head, allowing them to drive the spear butt straight into your face.