Two of the most fundamental aspects of Bolognese swordsmanship (and other styles just as well) are the guards, the positions that outline the physical movements within the style, and cuts and other attacks that effectively are these movements.
These two aspects are inseparable, as described by Angelo Viggiani and other masters. Pedagogically I believe these two need to be learned at the same time, since without one it is difficult to understand the other: without knowing the guards it is not easy to understand the paths (and the defensive function) of the cuts, and without knowing the cuts it is not easy to understand the correct placement of each guard.
No matter how you approach the Bolognese tradition, forms are a part of the pedagogical methods described. The only source not explicitly describing a form of any sort is the Anonimo Bolognese, but even there it is possible to argue that a few forms exist or are hinted at.
As visitors not new to marozzo.com undoubtedly have noticed, the site has gone through a design overhaul. I had worked on an upgrade to the site for some months, but there had not been enough time to create a WordPress theme that would have answered the need for device-independent layouts and some aesthetic wishes I had.
Fortunately WordPress published its new theme for the next year, which is a major upgrade to the previous default themes, and simultaneously it provided many of the features I had planned to create myself, ready-made.
With a few customizations (there will certainly be more tweaking in the coming weeks) the new layout was in place in the matter of few hours. I am really pleased, and I hope my readers will approve of the new, lighter and more versatile theme.
All the same content is still in place, and new material will be popping up. My plan is to blog about videos I post on YouTube here as well, to reach greatest exposure and to better describe the videos. The latest video-posts will always be featured on the right-side column of the front page.
There will be more featured content as well. The old article about the primo assalto will reprise, but features on the basics of the Bolognese tradition and on the weapons used (both historically and today) are in the works. The resources-page will also be soon divided into multiple pages with more information.
I hope you will enjoy the fresh layout and the upcoming stories at marozzo.com! Feel free to leave a comment about the new style below, positive or negative!
The author of the Anonimo Bolognese reminded us that the fundament of the art is in working diligently to understand all the guards or postures of the style. Indeed, most masters begin their work by laying out the various postures that frame the strikes and parries they taught.
Acquiring this understanding is not necessarily easy at first, when working with the various source texts. There are differences between the way the masters describe positions of the same name and sometimes the descriptions are vague and hard to comprehend.
This is also a challenge in teaching the art, even if one acquires an understanding of the all the various postures in different texts, it is inefficient to teach two different postures with a single name. So one is left to choose – either following a single master or picking up various positions from the sources according to ones own intellect.
In this video I show the guards as I currently teach them. Mostly I have followed the conventions in the Anonimo Bolognese, with the exception that in the video I show Porta di Ferro Alta and Coda Longa Alta among the low guards (guardie basse) instead of the high guards (guardie alte).
The transitionary movements between the guards are my own, as is the order of the guards. Achille Marozzo, in describing the guards, shows a progression with different strikes or other movements leading the swordsman from one guard to another, and following it is also a valid approach in presenting the guards.
My plan is to later on make more videos discussing this progression and the differences in how each individual master describes the guards.