Happy New Year! and what better way to kick off 2019 than by stealing your opponent’s sword?
Continuing on from last week… If you’re coming late to the party, you should start here (where I explain what this project is all about, describe my decision making in the transcription and translation, and so on.)
F21r sword in one hand 5th play
Qui te posso ben ferire, e la tua spada tore senza fallire, voltandola in torno la mane ti faro riversare per modo che la spada te convien lassare.
Here I can strike you well, and take your sword without fail, turning it around your hand I’ll make you twist in such a way that you’d prefer to let go of the sword.
The execution of this play is perfectly clear and straightforward. You can see how I do it here:
It depends on the player’s arm being sufficiently extended that you can reasonably grab the hilt, as shown in the image. I do the turn to my right, only (just as I do the other tor di spada plays, on f30r and f30v. Seeing as I’ve mentioned them, here they are:
F30r: the Soprano Tor di Spada, 19th and 20th plays of the master of the zogho stretto:
Questo el tor di spada lo soprano cum lo mantener de mia spada io penzo inanzi e cum la mia man mancha io stringo gli doi brazi per modo chello convene perder la spada. E poy de grande feride gle faro derada. Lo Scolaro che me dredo aquesto zogo mostra como la spada del zugadore e in terra poste.
This, the upper taking of the sword [disarm], with the handle of my sword I push forwards and with my left hand I constrain his two arms in a way that makes him lose the sword. And then I mess him up with great blows. The scholar that is after me shows this play, how the sword of the player is put on the ground.
Per la presa del scolaro che denanzi mi a fatta la spada in terra te caduta, tu lo poy sentire. Asai feride te posso fare senza mentire.
By the grip of the scholar before me I have made your sword fall to the ground, you can feel it. So I can strike you, without lying.
Let me rephrase that last sentence: “I can smack you up, no lie”. Or “I’m not lying when I say…”
As you can see, I prefer to give you the more literal translation, as a number of readers are using the transcription and translation to teach themselves Italian (or at least, teaching themselves to read Fiore). By sticking as closely to his sentence structure and grammar as is consistent with making sense, I’m helping those future scholars of the art. This may not suit everyone, but tough.
Turning the page to 30v, we see three more disarms, the middle (gripping the sword handle), the lower (gripping the pommel), and a last un-named variant, where you drop your sword and grab the blade.
Questo el mezano tor de spada chi lo sa fare. Tal voltar di spada si fa in questo qual al primo. Salvo che le prese non sono eguale.
This the middle disarm that I know how to do. The turn of the sword is done in this [play] as in the first. Except that the grips are not the same.
Questo e un altro tor de spada chiamado sottano. Per tal simele modo se tole questa como fa lo sottano el soprano, zoe cum tale voltar de spada per lo camino de le altre questa vada. Cum la mane dritta cargando inanci una volta fada cum lo mantenir. E la mane stancha la volta tonda debia seguir.
This is another disarm, called ‘low’. By that similar way this is done as is done the low, the high, thus with that turn of the sword in the path that the other is done, this goes. I make a turn with the handle with the right hand pressing forwards . And the left hand must follow the round turn.
The meaning is clear, but the language is clunky (sorry maestro). In essence: do this the same way that you did the high disarm, following the same path. (I translated ‘camino’ as ‘path’, though way would also work, because elsewhere I translate ‘modo’ as ‘way’. This ‘camino’ is explicitly a way as in a pathway, not a way as in a general style.) As you make the turn with the right hand pressing forwards, make sure your left hand follows the same turn.
Uno altro cosi fatto tor d’spada che quando uno e ale strette incrosado, lu scolaro de mettere la sua mane dritta per sotto la sua de si instesso E piglar quella del zugadore quasi al mezo o ben erto. E subito lassar la sua andar in terra. E cum la man stancha de piglar sotto lo pomo la spada del zugadore e dargli la volta tonda a man riversa, e subito lo zugadore avara la sua spada persa.
Another disarm is done like this, when one is crossed at the close, the scholar puts his right hand under his [sword]…. And grab that of the player about at the middle, or well up [the blade]. And immediately let his [sword] go to the ground. And with his left hand he grabs the player’s sword under the pommel and gives it a round turn to the left-hand side, and immediately the player will have lost his sword.
Returning to the sword in one hand, you can see that the mechanics of the disarm are the same in the fifth play; you turn their sword clockwise with your left hand at the hilt. As they are holding on with only one hand, you should be able to do the disarm using only your hand, but I usually use the blade of my sword (instead of the handle or your hand) to push their blade round too, and pass behind myself as I do it, just as in the stretto plays disarms.
The disarms can be tricky for students, especially those which use the handle of your sword to apply pressure. I usually teach the 23rd stretto play version first, starting from an artificial static crossing, then work backwards, through the low, middle and high disarm. This way the mechanics are clear.
Here’s an extract from the Longsword Course, showing that procession from 23rd back to the 19th in practice:
Yes, you should definitely sign up for the course. Here’s a 50% discount
Or you could buy me a drink via the tip jar. Mine’s a pint of IPA…
Next week we’ll take a look at plays 6-9, an elbow push, a throat cut, a breaking of a thrust, and ANOTHER elbow push. Exciting times ahead…
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