As we saw in the 10th play of the Sword in One Hand, the solution to overwhelming force is to let it go by, while preventing it from following you. The “Peasant’s Blow”, or colpo di villano, does this by meeting the incoming sword and yielding to it, while stepping out of the way.
This is the fifth and sixth play of the master of the zogho largo crossed at the middle of the swords, on f26r.
Questo zogho sie chiamado colpo di villano, e sta in tal modo, zoe, che si de aspettare lo villano che lo traga cum sua spada, e quello che lo colpo aspetta de stare in picolo passo cum lo pe stancho denanzi. E subito che lo villano ti tra per ferire acresse lo pe stancho fora de strada inverso la parte dritta. E cum lo dritto passa ala traversa fora di strada piglando lo suo colpo a meza la tua spada. E lassa discorrer la sua spada a terra e subito responde gli cum lo fendente per la testa o vero per gli brazi, overo cum la punta in lo petto com’e depento. Anchora e questo zogho bon cum la spada contra la azza, e contra un bastone grave o liziero.
This play is called the peasant’s blow, and it’s like this, thus: one awaits the peasant to attack one with his sword, and the one who waits should be in a narrow stance [piccolo passo: lit. Small pace, I.e. With the feet not too far apart] with the left foot forwards. And immediately that the peasant comes to strike, advance the left foot out of the way towards the right side [of the peasant]. And with the right pass across out of the way, grabbing his blow in the middle of your sword. And let it run off to the ground and immediately reply with the fendente to the head, or to the arms, or with the thrust in the chest as is pictured. Also this play is good with the sword against the axe, and against a staff, heavy or light.
Qui denanzi sie lo colpo del villano che ben glo posta la punta in lo petto. E cossi gli posseva un colpo per la testa fare e per gli brazzi cum lo fendente com’e ditto denanzi. Anchora s’el zogadore volesse contra de mi fare volendo mi ferire cum lo riverso sotto gli miei brazzi io subito acresso lo pe stancho e metto la mia spada sopra la sua. E non mi po far niente.
Here before is the peasant’s blow, that can well put the thrust in the chest. And thus one could do a strike to the head and to the arms with the fendente as is said above. Also, if the player might want to act against me wishing to strike me with the riverso under my arms, I immediately advance the left foot and put my sword over his. And he can do nothing to me.
I do it like so:
This play punishes an overly-hard telegraphed blow. As such it is sub-optimal to train, because one partner is repeating incorrect actions for the other to identify and exploit. That is really the domain of a paid coach, who can (and indeed is often required to) sacrifice their own training for their student’s. So when setting this up, please be careful not to incorporate peasantly striking into your system!
This project is being published in stages. You can get part one, The Sword in One Hand, as a free PDF by subscribing to my mailing list below, or buy it in ebook format from Amazon or Gumroad. You can get Part two, Longsword Mechanics, from Amazon or Gumroad too!