Anonimo 7

A direct attack into a small opening left by the opponent. The seventh play is a lesson on tactics, the importance of details and also in the importance of being quick to take advantage of a tempo where one is presented to us.


If you are placed in CLS with your left foot in front against your opponent, take note whether he has his sword in presence. If the point does not look directly at your[1] body, but somewhat outside towards your[2] right side, you reach to him as much as you can in the right way[3] and immediately take the true edge of your sword over that of his while passing with the right foot forwards into a wide step, pushing behind his sword a thrust into his chest.

And this strike needs to beat his sword with force towards the ground, and so in the same time push a thrust into his body. And if he lifts his sword upwards to parry this thrust, pass forwards and somewhat towards his right side in a wide pace making a presa on his sword-hand with your left.

[1] This is erroneously transcribed as “sua”, meaning “his” in L’Arte della Spada.
[2] This is erroneously transcribed as “sue”, meaning “his” in L’Arte della Spada.
[3] Destro modo, which I believe can translate here as “the right way” or simply “directly”, but in both cases the meaning is clear.


This play is tactically important and shows a way of entering with a direct attack if the opponent leaves an opening in his guard.

The concepts addressed here are:

  • point in presence and leaving accidental or intentional invitations by slightly shifting the guard position (here likely to be accidental)
  • reaching forwards with the body and arm before stepping
  • making a very committed and quick attack, which if unsuccessful, leads into grappling
  • attacking without any kind of feint

This play is a testament to the practical nature of many of the plays in the manuscript. The slightest error in the opponent’s guard can be immediately taken advantage over by attacking in a way that you can not be harmed when you attack, and should he manage to parry, you can always enter into a grapple.

Noteworthy is a comparison to the instance where the opponent might have had the point in presence. The attack could not be as direct in that case, exposing you to a sfalsata and a counterattack in the tempo of your taking care of finding his sword first.

As things are, this play offers us also a good example of the dangers in the interpretation process. The mistakes in the transcription could be explained as a quirky way of expressing things, even if they immediately seem like red flags. If not checked, it could lead to a very different kind of play, where everything would happen on the other side. This would probably not be too far off from the original intention, but all the little details and extra bits of information we can extract from the play would then be out of context and completely misplaced, negatively affecting our level of understanding on the finer points of these techniques.

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