Sword in two hands - Posta

Sword in two hands – Posta Dente di Zenghiaro Mezana (Middle Boars Tusk Guard)

Folio 24 v. d

Translation

This is Posta Dente di Zenghiaro Mezana (Middle Boars Tusk Guard) because there are two tusks in the whole boar. The other is in the middle, but it is in the middle of the person. And that which the other tusk can do, the middle tusk can do also. And in the way that the proud boar cuts diagonally this way, it can be done with the sword that will always cross the sword of the opponent, and always throw thrusts to uncover your opponent, and always damage the hands and sometimes the head and the arms.

Interpretation

At first glance, it appears that this posta is simply a rear weighted version of Posta Dente di Zenghiaro. Although the two posta share many similarities, there are subtle differences which set them apart.

With your right hand held against your centre and the blade extending down the centreline, this posta gives you a narrow base from which to deliver tight, linear actions. The close attachment to the bodys core movements puts it in the stable category of posta.

Like Dente di Zenghiaro, Dente di Zenghiaro Mezana delivers powerful diagonally upward cuts with the false edge of the blade. Given the longer measure provided by the rear weighting of the stance, these cuts tend to be more defensive, beating aside incoming attacks or striking at the hands.

The narrow base and the point held low in the centre also gives this posta common ground with Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro. Such mechanics give it a great capacity to deliver thrusts. Always bear in mind the instruction from the ‘One is like the other‘ section which tells us that when similar guards oppose each other which are in point, the longest weapon wounds first.

Sword in two hands - Posta, Uncategorized

Sword in two hands – Posta Frontale

Folio 24 v. c

Translation

This is Posta Frontale (Forehead Guard), called by some masters Posta Corona (Crown Guard), which for crossing blades is good and for thrusts is also good. Also if the thrust is high, she crosses swords and passes off the line. And if the thrust is too low, she also goes off the line and beats its point to the ground. Also you can do otherwise, in that striking with the point return with the back foot and strike with a downward cut for the head or arms, then move to Posta Dente di Zenghiaro and immediately throw a thrust or two while advancing the foot and return with a downward cut to that guard.

Interpretation

Posta Frontale is more of a transition point than a position you would hold. From a separate chambered posta, you will arrive here typically after beating aside an incoming attack. Less frequently, you might also use it to sweep aside your opponents weapon to initiate an attack of your own. As it is drawn, you would come to this position from a posta which is chambered on the right. You could also just as easily move from a sinistral posta to posta frontale. The mechanics would be essentially the same, except you would end with your right foot forward instead.

From your starting posta, drop your elbows close to your ribs. Ideally, they should be no more than a handspan from your body. Extending your elbows will weaken the structure, however, the circumstances you are facing may demand this to a certain extent. How you hold the forearms determines the height of the sweep you are making. The illustration shows the hands held quite high. In other examples throughout the book, the hands are held almost as low as the knees. Keep the blade upright, but with the point tipping somewhat forward.

You want to move your hands in something of a horizontal circle. Catch your opponents blade at the furthest point with the flat of your blade. Your own blade will sweep across your body completely, brushing your opponents blade offline. As you lock your arms and sword in place, they will trace back slightly along an arc. Your sword will naturally twist along its axis, flicking your opponents weapon to the side. When done properly, it will have a soft quality to it. It is more a scoop than a beat. This is the moment pictured.

From here, you can step forward, making an exchange of thrusts. You can also continue the momentum downwards, breaking the thrust.

Fiores last suggestion is a combination set. Exchange the thrust, which will leave you in posta longa. From there, follow up with a fendente cut to posta dente di zenghiaro. Continue with a second thrust and cut combination from there, returning again to posta dente di zenghiaro.

Sword in two hands - Posta

Sword – Posta Bicorno (Two horned guard)

Folio 24 v. b

Translation

This is Posta Bicorno (Two Horned Guard) which is locked so the point is always in the middle of the line. And what I can do with Posta Longa, I can do with this. And similarly I say for Posta di Fenestra and Posta Frontale.

Interpretation

Posta di Bicorno is surely the most misunderstood posta in all of armizare. The description of the text is not especially clear, the posta only appears once, and the pictures from different manuscripts show different grips.

The two horns in the name refer to a two horned anvil. Armourers will be familiar with these pieces of equipment. You can see this concept reflected in the text where Fiore tells us that the posta is locked in the centreline. This posta will not be beaten aside regardless of how hard you hit it.

Having said that, it is also classed as an unstable (instabile) posta. The sword is separated from your core, and is held in place by the strength of your arms. You can transition in and out of this posta, but should not rest there.

The biggest point of contention with this posta is the grip. The Getty, the Florius and the Morgan manuscripts show the left hand with the thumb facing back, or even cupped over the swords pommel. This feels completely counter intuitive, but it will make for an incredibly solid blade that is very useful in the exchange.

From a centreline posta, such as posta frontale, roll your right hand inward 90 degrees so that the true edge of the blade moves from the bottom to the left. As you do so, release the grip with your left hand. Maintaining contact with your palm, roll your hand back 180 degrees and then take hold of the handle again with your thumb towards the pommel. Keep your elbows in tight, your hands close to your chest, and your forearms braced against each other.

This gives a very strong line which will redirect a thrust from the bind. Although you will not be able to extend your arms, you can use your legs to make up distance, stepping into your opponent. Your sword will push through your opponents defences.

Alternatively, you can keep the thumb forward, as drawn in the Pisani Dossi. The movement of the right hand is the same as described above. With the left hand, simply loosen your grip and allow the handle to slide inside it. Tighten your hand again when the sword is in place. Again, you end up locking the forearms together, which holds the point in the centreline.

Sword in two hands - Posta

Sword Posta Coda Longa (Long Tail Guard)

Folio 24 v. a

Translation

This is Posta Coda Longa (Long Tail Guard) that stetches down to the ground behind you. She can thrust and also cover in front and wound. And if it passes forward and strikes with a downward cut, it enters the narrow play without fail. This guard is good to wait in to quickly change to other guards.

Interpretation

In this posta, the sword is held low and behind you. You will need to turn your hips slightly more to the front than usual. Keep your left elbow resting at your hip, with the forearm crossing your centre of gravity. This anchors the blade directly to your core. It is this connection to your centre that puts the posta in the stable (stabile) category. Extend the blade behind you with the true edge down. The length of the sword is hidden from your opponent behind your arms.

By keeping the left elbow still and pivoting the sword from there as you step, it is possible to deliver a cut which has not only the momentum of a large swing, but which is also delivered with surprising speed. This is a good method to sweep away your opponents defences or attack directly as you rapidly close to the narrow play.

You can see other examples of Posta Coda Longa in the following.

Sword in two hands - Posta

Sword – Posta dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tusk Guard)

Folio 24 r. d

Translation

This is Posta Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tusk Guard), because the wild boar uses this method to strike. It makes great underhanded thrusts into the face without stepping through, and returns with a downward cut to the arms. And sometimes it thrusts to the face and it goes with the point high, and in thrusting, steps forward with the front foot, immediately returning with a cut to the head or arms, then returns to this guard and immediately makes another thrust with an advance of the foot. Also it defends against the narrow plays.

Interpretation

Posta Dente di Zenghiaro is one of the stable guards. The sword is firmly connected to the core and driven directly by the hips. This is a forward weighted stance. A line from the toes of the right foot to the point of the sword form the base of a long isosceles triange, with the left foot forming the triangles apex. When delivering a mandritto fendente cut, you should stop at or pass through this posta.

As the description makes very clear, by driving the left hip forward, the sword will deliver a powerful upward thrust or false edge cut. Delivering these while keeping the feet in place gives a fairly short range technique. Lunging forward with the right foot on delivery will obviously increase the range.

Regardless of whether you lunge or not, you will be perfectly placed to make a return cut along the same diagonal line, returning to your starting point, ready to repeat the pattern. The double motion of up and back along the same line gives a very short fast delivery. This is ideal for use in the narrow play, either as an attack or a defensive beat.

Sword in two hands - Posta, Uncategorized

Sword – Posta Breve (Short Guard)

Folio 24 r. c

Translation

This is Posta Breve (Short Guard) that wants a long sword and is a malicious guard, but has no stability. Also always move and see if you can enter with a thrust and step against the opponent. It is more appropriate to use this guard with armour than without armour.

Interpretation

Rest your left forearm against your body, with your hand resting on your centre of gravity. Adjust your right hand so that the point of the sword is aimed directly at your opponents eyes. Relax your arms and keep your elbows in.

The blade runs straight along the centreline to your opponent. Pointing the blade directly at your opponents face gives a strongly foreshortened view. To a certain extent, this hides the action of the blade.

Although you cannot make effective cuts from here, posta breve is very good for making probing thrusts against your opponent.

Fiore confusingly classes this as a stable guard, and then immediately states it has no stability. As you can see, the sword is attacked directly to the hips, providing it with a great deal of strength, especially in the vertical plane. This is what causes it to be classified as stable. Fiores advice to keep moving when in this guard, as well as his claim that it is better to use in armour, suggests that it is limited in its capability and risky to wait in. This could be what he means when he states it has no stability.

In the ‘one is like the other’ section, Fiore tells us that each posta is its own counter, with the exception of those guards with the point on the centreline, such as this one. In this case the longer sword holds the advantage against its shorter counterpart due to its increased reach.

Sword in two hands - Posta

Sword in two hands – Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Gate Guard)

Folio 24 r. b

Translation

This is Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Gate guard) because it is in the middle. And it is a strong guard, but needs a long sword. She throws strong thrusts and forcefully beats the sword up and then back with a blow to the head or arms, and so returns to her guard. But it is called a gate because it is strong, and is a strong guard who hurts as it breaks without danger and coming to the close.

Interpretation

With Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro, your sword is aligned straight down the centreline to your opponent, with the point of the sword hovering just above the ground. Keep the elbows relaxed, but held close to the body. This posta is classed as one of the stable stances, and it is the direct association of the blade to the hips that makes it so.

Used across almost every chapter of armizare, there are easily transferable descriptions of this posta. It appears in both the Sword in armour and Pollaxe sections. It also appears in the Dagger and Spear on foot sections where its application is conceptually the same, but in practice comes off as something of a variant due to the polar extremes of the weapon lengths.

Defence from Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro mostly comes from a strong beat up and to the right, followed by a cut down along the same line. It is also very possible to flick the point up, allowing a heedless opponent to run onto it, or lunge easily into a thrust. Given the straight line opposition of such tactics, these are safer with a long sword.

In all of these regards, it performs very similarly to Posta Dente di Zenghiaro. You can think of them as wide and narrow versions of each other. Where Posta Dente di Zenghiaro emphasises the beat and cut, the direct line of Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro more stongly emphasis the thrust.

Sword in two hands - Posta

Sword – Posta Longa (Long Guard)

Folio 24 r. a

Translation

This is Posta Longa (Long Guard), full of deception. She is feeling the guards of the opponents to decieve them. If she can wound with a thrust, she will do it well. She dodges the blows and can strike back. She can do it more than the other guards who cannot use such deception.

Interpretation

Posta Longa holds the blade in the centreline with the arms extended, as if having just delivered a long thrust to the face.

It is one of the instabile (unstable) guards. The hands are separated from the core and it lacks structural strength. It is easily beaten to the side, however, the position of the hands means it is quite strong in the vertical plane, and so is not easily beaten up or down.

By constantly extending toward the opponents face, Posta Longa creates an unnerving barrier which keeps them at a long distance. To make any kind of attack, they must first beat aside the point, which is the reference to feeling the guards of the opponents.

Because the opponent is so far away, their techniques are more easily seen. This gives you time to avoid them by dropping back out of the way and making a counter attack.

Downward cuts and high thrusts all pass through Posta Longa.

Sword in two hands - Posta, Uncategorized

Sword – Posta di Donna la Sinestra (Lady’s Guard on the Left)

Folio 23 v. d

Translation

This is the Posta di Donna la Sinestra (Guard of the Lady on the Left) and she is always ready to cover and wound. She makes great blows and breaks the thrusts and beats them to the ground. And enters the narrow play due to her skill in traversing. These plays, such a guard knows how to do well.

Interpretation

Posta di Donna Sinestra mirrors Posta di Donna Destra. At first glance, they appear to be functionally identical, but there are subtle differences between the two.

One of the pulsativa (pulsing or beating) guards, from here you can make powerful cuts, using them to either directly attack your opponent or break the thrust. With the sword chambered so far around behind the body that is rests pointing forward, this generates tremendous momentum.

In particular, from Posta di Donna la Sinestra, by stepping through with the left foot, you can easily enter narrow play, using your left hand in front to pin or bind the opponent, while your right delivers attacks using the sword.

Sword in two hands - Posta

Sword – Posta Fenestra (Window guard)

Folio 23 v. c

Translation

This is the Posta de Fenestra (Window Guard) and cunning and deception always lend themselves to it. And of covering and wounding, she is a master. She questions all the guards, both the high and low. And she often goes from one guard to the other to decieve the opponent. And she knows well how to make powerful thrusts and to break and exchange such plays.

Interpretation

Posta de Fenestra is classed by Fiore as one of the unstable guards. Fast, mobile and deceptive, from here you are able to make cuts, thrusts or beats.

Take a rear weighted stance, keeping your body at a long distance from your opponent. Your front foot is able to quickly and easily move without being seen, allowing you to rapidly change your angle of attack. Hold your swords point of balance in the centreline of your body and keep the point threatening your opponent.

A volta stabile should be enough to drive the point straight forward into your opponents face, or by dropping the hands you can sweep the blade across your body and exchange the thrust as first described by the 8th scholar of the 2nd Master.

By pivoting the sword around its balance point, you will make fast tight cuts to either attack your opponent directly or break their attack.