Horseback - 8th master

Horseback – Counter to 5th scholar of the 8th master

Folio 44 v. c

  Folio 44 v. c

Translation

This is the seventh play, which is the counter to the fifth. It is done by wounding the leg. If the player is armoured, do not trust it to work.

Interpretation

Having beaten your sword aside, your opponent has made the play of the 5th scholar, scooping their arm around your head in an attempt to throw you from your horse.

Grab the pommel of your saddle to anchor yourself, lean back and twist to the right, absorbing and sliding out of your opponents scoop. You want their arm to slide over your left ear rather than catch under your chin. That marks the fine line between success and failure in this play.

As you do this, keep your body on the same axis as your horse. If you lean out to the side while doing this, you will be dangerously overbalanced. Turn your backward movement into a counter attack.

To get you into this position, your opponent has beaten your sword to your left. As you twist back and to the right, use this momentum to make a cut with the false edge. If you were standing upright, the mechanics of it would make it a horozontal cut, although your movement here will tip everything. The cut will go over your own horses head, arc across the rump of your opponents horse and wrap around to strike your opponent in the left leg, as shown.

You will have to quickly focus on regaining your seat, but your opponent will be wounded. Rather obviously, the more leg protection they have, the less likely your counter attack is to succeed.

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 – 6th master

Folio 43 r. b

Translation

The one with the sword waits for the one with the lance in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tusk Guard). 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 - Grappling plays

Horseback grappling – 4th scholar

Folio 45 v. d

Translation

This is a play of taking the reins of the horse from the hands of the player as you see drawn here. The scholar, when he closes with another horseman, rides to the right side and throws his right arm over the horse’s neck, takes the reins on the players left side with his overturned hand, and lifts the reins over the horses head. This play is safer in armour than unarmoured.

Interpretation

Here, you are not trying to injure your opponent, but capture their horse and lead them away. This is more for a melee situation where you will have a group of friends nearby, ready to subdue the rider. The horses will need to be moving slowly relative to each other for this to work.

As you approach each other, reach over the head of your opponents horse. As much as possible, keep your elbow in so as not to overstretch and unbalance yourself. You will need to lift the reins reasonably high so as to clear the horses head. The whole movement will need to be done smoothly and quickly so as to snatch the reins from your opponents grasp.

Turning your horse to the left, move off at speed as soon as the reins are clear. As you lead your opponent away, you do not want them to catch up to you. If they do, you will be at risk of them using the 1st scholar of horseback grappling against you. As you have one hand controlling your own horse, and the other controlling your opponents horse, you are in a potentially vulnerable position. For this reason, the play is safer to do when wearing armour.

Horseback - 8th master

Horseback – Counter to the 8th master

Folio 44 v. d

Translation

This is the eighth play, which counters all the previous plays, but especially the plays of the sword on horseback and the masters who use Posta Coda Longa. When the master or scholar is in a firm guard, I give a thrust or other blow, and immediately he beats my attack aside. When he does this, I quickly turn my sword and with the pommel, I strike him in the face. I then pass from the cover this lends and with a reverse circular blow, I strike him in the back of the head.

Interpretation

Although all the plays of the 8th master of horse are shown with your opponent on the right side, unusually, the counter is shown with them on your left.

Make an attack against your opponent. They will beat the attack aside. The text, as well as the inference from the master play, say that the defence is made from posta coda longa, which would mean that the sword is being beaten to your left. In the picture, the position of the counter masters sword suggests that it has been beaten to the right. In practice, it does not make much difference, although you do get a bigger opening and better flow if responding to a beat to your left.

As the beat knocks your sword aside, rather than struggling to stay on line, exaggerate the movement, and spin it 180 degrees around in a horizontal plane to chamber on your left shoulder. Strike the pommel into your opponents face as shown. It should feel like making a fendente stab with a dagger.

Immediately after you have made your stab, drop the elbow, moving your right hand back in a straight line toward, chambering for the strike. Turn the sword so that the tip continues moving in the same horizontal plane in an anticlockwise direction. If your sword was originally beaten to the left, it would have been moving anticlockwise anyway, so the whole series of beat, stab, strike has a smooth, pulsing kind of feel to it.

Strike forward with your hand, rolling it over as the blade spins around. The sword will wrap right around your opponent hitting them in the base of the skull with the false edge. The strike has a whip like effect. A fast opponent can easily jam it, however it is still strong enough to do plenty of damage. It targets a very vulnerable area, your opponent will be quite distracted, and hopefully seriously injured from the pommel strike, and the surprising angle often catches people unawares.

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 - 8th master

Horseback – Contra counter to the 8th master

Folio 45 r. a

Translation

I am the ninth and I am doing the counter to the counter before me. When he turns his sword, I immediately do as you see drawn here, so that I cannot be struck with the pommel in the face. And if I raise the sword upward and give it a reverse turn, you can well see that the sword will be taken from you. And if I do not do that, I will give you a backhand strike with the blade or the pommel will strike you in the head, I would turn it so much. Here ends the plays of sword against sword on horseback. Who knows more about it would give a good lesson.

Interpretation

Against an attack, your opponent has made the play of the counter to the 8th master. They have beaten your attack aside and then keeping the momentum going, have turned their sword fully around to make a counterstrike to your face with the pommel.

Note that in this picture, the player who makes the counter is wearing a garter. The scholar who makes the contra counter wears no insignia.

As your opponent makes their pommel strike, knock it aside with the handle of your own sword, as shown. Keep your sword upright and the handle braced against your forearm as much as possible. Keep your elbow tight to your centreline. It should feel like you are striking the pommel aside with the base of your hand. Roll your wrist as you make contact, so as to further throw the pommel offline.

Raise your sword above your head, then drop the tip to horizontal. You will have already begun the clockwise motion with the roll of your wrist. If you have caught your opponents sword handle right at the base of their hand, lifting the sword and dropping the tip like this will lever the sword out of their hand.

You have two options to continue with, depending on your distance. You can keep your hand as a fixed point, and make a horizontal cut with the true edge of the blade into the right side of your opponents head. If the movement of the horses has brought you too close to make a cut, raise your elbow to face height and keeping that as a fixed point, make a pommel strike instead. It will feel like making a riverso dagger strike. the pommel strike is slightly slower, but targets at a shorter range.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 7th master

Folio 43 v. b

Translation

Carrying the sword like this is called Posta Coda Longa (Long Tail Guard) and it is very good against lance and any hand held weapon, when riding on the right hand 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 they are 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.