Anonimo 2

The second action shows perhaps the most fundamental defensive action within the Bolognese repertoire of techniques. The generic nature of this defense is emphasized through its effectiveness against all three types of attacks originating from the right side of the opponent towards the defender’s upper openings.

If you are in CLS with the left foot in front facing your opponent and he attacks with a mandritto in order to wound your upper parts, or with a stoccata or an imbroccata, against each of these strikes pass with your right foot deep towards his left side. During this time make a half turn of the hand meeting the opponent’s strike with the true edge of your sword and pushing a thrust with all your strength to his chest behind his sword. And have your body turn well behind your sword so that the sword and the right shoulder are will be directly towards your opponent. The sword goes into GdI and the left foot must faithfully follow the right. Then you will retreat backwards with the right foot setting yourself gracefully into CLS with the left foot in front.

In its essence this is — and is meant to be — a very straightforward play. The only real question in the interpretation of the play is the precise nature of the thrust done “behind the opponent’s sword” in Guardia d’Entrare.

Both the somewhat cryptical definitions of this guard position and the somewhat vague description of the thrust leave room for some interpretation, only emphasized by the possibility to push the opponent’s sword towards the ground while executing the defence.

For this video I have chosen what I feel is the most basic and functional interpretation, though there are options and slight modifications that may be viable. It must also be remembered, that some descriptions might only pertain to a single option given in the previous moment of the play, such as beating the opponent’s sword towards the ground; this is unlikely to happen in the position of Guardia d’Entrare, while that may still be the position during the thrust.

Parry-riposte combinations such as this one are in the heart of Bolognese swordplay. While many of the sequences in the Anonimo are far more complex, it is the ability to defend and strike from any guard, against any attack, that underlies all skill of a swordsman.

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