Initiating an attack

Fiore dei Liberi and his treatises Fior di Battaglia/Flos Duellatorum c.1410.
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Initiating an attack

Postby Motley » 20 Oct 2009 19:15

This is something that I keep thinking over and I have not come up with something that is satisfactory to me yet.

Basically for those of you that study Fiore what tactical decision do you use when attacking?

iirc the only time in the Getty where one of Fiore's plays initiate an attack is the False/Short Point play at the end of the Largo section. Where the player is instructed to throw a strong mandritto mezani and then as the opponent covers to strike lightly and turn to the other side and grab the blade and stab.

This seems to be the only advice that he gives. Now the other plays do just descend from a cross so it could be taken that these options are not just limited to the defender but in largo at least the configuration of the feet seems to be such that it is the defender performing the play rather than the attacker.

The Liecthenhauer sources seem to bang on a lot about begin in the vor and attacking first where Fiore seems to be about covering and then responding.

So how for you make the tactical decision to initiate an attack in Fiore and why do you interpret it that way?
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Postby Fab » 20 Oct 2009 19:21

There's more to Fiore than just the techniques. Most of his stuff is contained elsewhere - remember, first, that it's a whole book, and that valuable information is disseminated almost everywhere.

Second, you'll find more about his fundamentals and tactical advice at the beginning of the longsword section. Take a look for instance at the description of each guard. There you'll find tactical decision-making help a-plenty :) (though quite laconical).




...disgressing, but the Liechty stuff isn't about attacking first (said that times and times again elsewhere) : it's about leading the fight (attacking first is sometimes part of it, but the general idea is to make the guy in front dance to your own beat - IMHO)
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Postby Motley » 20 Oct 2009 19:35

Thanks for the reply Fab, I woudl like to expand a little if I may...

Fab wrote:There's more to Fiore than just the techniques. Most of his stuff is contained elsewhere - remember, first, that it's a whole book, and that valuable information is disseminated almost everywhere.

Second, you'll find more about his fundamentals and tactical advice at the beginning of the longsword section. Take a look for instance at the description of each guard. There you'll find tactical decision-making help a-plenty :) (though quite laconical).


I know that he says this guard is good for this (Frontale covering, Di Donna all seven strikes of the sword etc) or that or these other also works like that one.

Maybe I am just being stupid but I have difficulty getting it all together picturing the fight and what are good decisions to make and bad ones, based upon what is in the book. Believe me I do read it, a lot and quite often I pick new things up.

Looking at the description of di Donna where he says (I am paraphrasing here) to acresse with the front foot then pass to the side and strike finding your opponent uncovered. I read this as an attack, but that initial step is a huge tell, it seems that the opponent will know exactly what I am doing so... where does at leave me?


Fab wrote:...disgressing, but the Liechty stuff isn't about attacking first (said that times and times again elsewhere) : it's about leading the fight (attacking first is sometimes part of it, but the general idea is to make the guy in front dance to your own beat - IMHO)


yeah I just didn't want to get too into discussing that I was just trying to point out that it is discussed.
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Postby Dai D » 20 Oct 2009 21:09

Fiore reminds me of a scene from an old black and white Samurai movie.
Two guys both in guard waiting for the other to move first, the one that does.... dies :D

He does mention attacks in some of the other sections, with a lance in the mounted and with a pollaxe for example, an attack if my memory serves he tells us can also be made with a sword.. But on the surface it seems he's that Samurai with the most patience :D
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Postby Motley » 20 Oct 2009 21:13

hmm... that is some of the impression I get as well. I just keep thinkign that I mist be missing alot.
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Postby le_courtois » 21 Oct 2009 08:56

bonjour à tous,

this is my first intervention here. First, you must know some things: i am a quasi noob in fiore interprétation and my english is very very bad. I can almost read it but write it is...terrible.
And in sword, I am not really savant.

About your question I will give you my opinion. I was like you at the begining: guard1 vs guard2, if he do this make that,.. too complex. The practice will say you lot of things.
First I thought, like you, that Fiore was to wait, like aïkido, it as been discused yet. But in both, IMHO, it is not true. You can "attack" in Aïkido, in Fiore too. A friend of me said "he (Fiore) was too "couard" to let "hasard" decide for him" He was almost jocking.

Simplifying with an example:
You are in porta di fero pulsativa. It have a natural cut a "sottani" with the false sharp side (?). You throw your attack : two ways: you touch because you made that for this or your opponant block your sword. you are now in the first play of gioco largo. You still have the avantage and your cover is still good. And you took avantage.

In Fiore you must be explosive. Each guard have his natural blow. Use them in two ways: when you feel it is the moment, like in another fight, and you touch and you are "cover". Or your attack will make your opponant compelled to react and you are "automatically" in one of the situations exposed by Fiore.

Other example with posta de Donna...destraza pulsavita (i.e.). He say you have the seven blows. Find it and use it." For exchanging the thrust she is alway ready". This could mean you have to initiate the "attack" using one of the seven blows. By a fendente you are now in 11e,13e...plays.
You can break all the guards he said. Do it exchanging thrust,...
If your attack fails use a fendente to re/dis-engage. The first choice is best.

I don-t know if I where understood. Ask if you want me to explain more my idea, but please don't hurt.
I hope I have helped without saying too much silly remark.
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Postby admin » 21 Oct 2009 10:40

IMO:
If you are going to attack then do it decisively with a good step. Lead with the weapon, then hands, then foot. Always advance behind a covered line (diagonal cut) or behind the point (thrust). Attack to an opening, relative to the most easy movements possible for the opponent from the guard they are in. Have in your mind already prepared their most likely responses and your subsequent follow-up.

What more do you want to know?
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Postby scholadays » 21 Oct 2009 12:28

Dai D wrote:But on the surface it seems he's that Samurai with the most patience

Unless you're me, of course, and think, hey, much of Fiores stuff seems to start from the point at which the weapons have become crossed. Now, to me in my enthusiasm to batter my opponent as soon as, this doesn't necessarily mean that the weapons have become crossed because my opponent initiated an attack...

But that's just me.
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Postby Motley » 21 Oct 2009 12:32

le_courtois wrote:bonjour à tous,

this is my first intervention here. First, you must know some things: i am a quasi noob in fiore interprétation and my english is very very bad. I can almost read it but write it is...terrible.
And in sword, I am not really savant.

About your question I will give you my opinion. I was like you at the begining: guard1 vs guard2, if he do this make that,.. too complex. The practice will say you lot of things.
First I thought, like you, that Fiore was to wait, like aïkido, it as been discused yet. But in both, IMHO, it is not true. You can "attack" in Aïkido, in Fiore too. A friend of me said "he (Fiore) was too "couard" to let "hasard" decide for him" He was almost jocking.

Simplifying with an example:
You are in porta di fero pulsativa. It have a natural cut a "sottani" with the false sharp side (?). You throw your attack : two ways: you touch because you made that for this or your opponant block your sword. you are now in the first play of gioco largo. You still have the avantage and your cover is still good. And you took avantage.

In Fiore you must be explosive. Each guard have his natural blow. Use them in two ways: when you feel it is the moment, like in another fight, and you touch and you are "cover". Or your attack will make your opponant compelled to react and you are "automatically" in one of the situations exposed by Fiore.

Other example with posta de Donna...destraza pulsavita (i.e.). He say you have the seven blows. Find it and use it." For exchanging the thrust she is alway ready". This could mean you have to initiate the "attack" using one of the seven blows. By a fendente you are now in 11e,13e...plays.
You can break all the guards he said. Do it exchanging thrust,...
If your attack fails use a fendente to re/dis-engage. The first choice is best.

I don-t know if I where understood. Ask if you want me to explain more my idea, but please don't hurt.
I hope I have helped without saying too much silly remark.
Hi,
Gilles


Bonjour Gilles,

Your English is far better than my French, far far better :-)

Thanks for your thoughts they are are along the lines of how I do look at this. tbh honest what prompted me to post yesterday was that we had done some sparring the night before and I was, quite frankly, rubbish :-)

What I find my self doing a lot is throwing an attack, which I know will fail, to invoke a reaction and then attempting to make it up from there. This mainly happens when we have had a few bouts and I feel I have tried everything already and end up getting stuck into doing the same stuff as I feel I have exhausted my options. I believe someone has defined this as a sign of madness, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. So I was looking for a way to break up or inform my decision making.

I was wanting to see how other people go about it or if they had seen things in the manuscript that I had forgotten or missed.

Again thanks for you thoughts,
Dan,
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Postby Motley » 21 Oct 2009 12:35

admin wrote:IMO:
If you are going to attack then do it decisively with a good step. Lead with the weapon, then hands, then foot. Always advance behind a covered line (diagonal cut) or behind the point (thrust). Attack to an opening, relative to the most easy movements possible for the opponent from the guard they are in. Have in your mind already prepared their most likely responses and your subsequent follow-up.

What more do you want to know?


When you say "Attack to an opening, relative to the most easy movements possible for the opponent from the guard they are in." are you suggesting give them and easy, thus more predictable cover? to then follow with a second intention?
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Postby admin » 21 Oct 2009 13:04

You're overcomplicating - I'm just saying strike at an opening - at a place where they will have to move their weapon the furthest in order to defend. But when you strike you must commit to it, lead with the weapon, and move your weapon through a line that defends you, or traverse such that they cannot reach you. You must also be ready to retract the hands or redirect the sword if they try to countercut your arms/hands. You must also have in mind their most likely responses to your attack and how you should respond to that response.
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Postby Dai D » 21 Oct 2009 13:25

scholadays wrote:
Dai D wrote:But on the surface it seems he's that Samurai with the most patience

Unless you're me, of course, and think, hey, much of Fiores stuff seems to start from the point at which the weapons have become crossed. Now, to me in my enthusiasm to batter my opponent as soon as, this doesn't necessarily mean that the weapons have become crossed because my opponent initiated an attack...

But that's just me.


Im not the patient Samurai either. I get bored too easily :D
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Postby Dai D » 21 Oct 2009 13:27

admin wrote:IMO:
If you are going to attack then do it decisively with a good step. Lead with the weapon, then hands, then foot. Always advance behind a covered line (diagonal cut) or behind the point (thrust). Attack to an opening, relative to the most easy movements possible for the opponent from the guard they are in. Have in your mind already prepared their most likely responses and your subsequent follow-up.

What more do you want to know?



I cant argue with much there
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Postby Cutlery Penguin » 21 Oct 2009 13:50

Not a Fiore person but I think Matt and Gordon are saying pretty much the same thing. It's certainly what I attempt within my system.

If I see an opening I attack into it. One of two things is going to happen, either I will hit you, or you will prevent it. The chances are that your action in preventing me from hitting you has brought our swords together at which point we are in a bind/cross and I have the momentum behind me.

Job done.
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Postby Brewerkel » 21 Oct 2009 14:07

scholadays wrote:
But that's just me.


No, its not just you. You're just more enthusiastic in your application. :lol:
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Postby Brewerkel » 21 Oct 2009 14:15

Dan,

You are making it too difficult by over analyzing. Pay more attention to what actions are available at a given moment. Do the most expedient - without hesitation. If it works - great. If not, that's what study of the plays is about. Each builds a concept to fit a particular situation.

As to striking first or waiting patiently? Yes. Both. In the prologue to abrazare Fiore advises never give up on striking. Yes, knowledge of breaks, holds, throws et cetera are necessary but never give up on striking - first and foremost. Conversely, striking willy-nilly hurls you onto the patient and informed player's will after your attack is covered. The hundred plus plays in the balance of the treatise demonstrate this clearly.

The best advice I give to my students is this:

Do what is there to be done - not what you planned or wanted to do.
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Postby admin » 21 Oct 2009 14:41

Also Dan, in respect to Fiore, remember that all of the gioco stretto plays can be done by an attacker, if the original attack is parried by the defender.

However, to get to that point safely, to be in the correct distance and without having been sniped on the way in, you have to commit to the attack - step deeply and strike well, leading with the weapon and closing a line at the same time - keep the hands at about sternum height and the point at face height.
If you do not present an adequate threat with a covered line also, then you are vulnerable.
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Postby Motley » 21 Oct 2009 14:54

Thanks guys,

I think that Kel and Matt are spot on that I do have a tendency to over complicate and over analyse things. I'm just one of those kind of people :-(

One thing I have picked up from this is that it may not be what I am trying to do that is at fault more that I need a whole lot more practice at it :-)

p.s. Kel, I will be looking for constructive criticism over beer on the7th! :-)
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Postby admin » 21 Oct 2009 14:58

Three most important things when attacking (IMO) -
1) Commit to it, go in deep - steep deep.
2) Lead with the weapon, then hands, then body.
3) Have planned what you're going to do next, and after that - think in 2's, 3's or 4's.
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Postby Motley » 21 Oct 2009 14:59

admin wrote:Also Dan, in respect to Fiore, remember that all of the gioco stretto plays can be done by an attacker, if the original attack is parried by the defender.

However, to get to that point safely, to be in the correct distance and without having been sniped on the way in, you have to commit to the attack - step deeply and strike well, leading with the weapon and closing a line at the same time - keep the hands at about sternum height and the point at face height.
If you do not present an adequate threat with a covered line also, then you are vulnerable.


I just caught this after I posted. yeah I tend to like closing to Stretto perhaps more than a little bit too easily and, to paraphrase Gordon, I tend to end up in a FUT at that point. This is mostly due to me messing the positioning up.

I also know that I tend to have my arms to low in freeplay which is weird as I don't when I practice. This is something I am constantly trying to watch.
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