Sword in armour - Posta

Sword in armour – Posta de Vera Croce (True Cross Guard)

Folio 32 v. b

Translation

The Posta de Vera Croce (Guard of the True Cross) is the counter I want to do to you. Your thrust cannot get through to me. I will cover you in the pass that I do, and with a thrust I will injure you without fail. You and the other guards do not do much to me. I know so well the art of combat that I cannot fail the crossing, for in passing and in crossing and in wounding, this is the art that does not fail.

Explanation

This is a rear weighted stance with the point of the sword facing away from the opponent. The sword handle is held low, while the point is high. The hand controlling the point is held with the palm up.

Posta Vera Croce is a sinistral stance and can only effectively be recreated on the right side of the body if you are left handed. A mezza volta will leave you in Posta Breve la Serpentina, which, although it shares similarities, has its own particular strengths.

Posta Vera Crose makes use of a common theme throughout armizare in that it can sweep across the body and then immediately counter. By half swording with this grip, the sword in many ways acts as a short spear, and indeed, both the Spear and Pollaxe sections contain a Posta Vera Crose. In all examples of this posta, an effective thrust with the point must be preceded by a pass and cover.

By heavily bracing the sword, this posta can very strongly beat aside attacks, and then deliver a powerful thrust through the opening it has created. The mechanics of half swording mean that it cuts very poorly, and has a fairly short striking range.

This posta can go on the offensive by using a pass to open a hole in the opponents defence and then driving the point through it. Alternatively, you can use the pommel to strike directly to the face (Armour – 8th scholar) or use it to hook around the opponents neck and throw them backwards (Grappling – 7th scholar/ Armour – 9th scholar).

Sword in two hands - Posta

Sword in two hands – 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, Uncategorized

Sword in two hands – Posta Frontale (Frontal Guard)

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 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 this 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, if done with the sword it 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.

Dagger - Posta

Dagger – Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro Dopia (Full iron gate guard doubled)

Folio 9 r. b

Translation

I am Posta Tutta Porto di Ferro Dopia (Full Iron Gate guard doubled), and I am good in armour and without, but even better in armour than without it. And with such a guard I cannot use a dagger.

Explanation

Similar to Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro, however, this posta braces the lead hand, allowing greater force and safety when jammimg or sweeping aside incoming attacks. Note that the masters lead side faces the players weapon. i.e. a right handed attack is defended by bracing your own left hand.

Bracing the arm in this way will make for much closer techniques. Jamming an attack with your left forearm would almost instinctively lead to you attempting a strike with the right elbow. The close proximity leads to this posta working better in armour.

Also, your left hand is incapable of doing anthing useful with a dagger here, and your right hand is busy. You cannot use a dagger of your own with this guard.