Coda Longa

Fiore dei Liberi and his treatises Fior di Battaglia/Flos Duellatorum c.1410.
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Coda Longa

Postby admin » 30 Jan 2012 13:59

The text (Getty):

Questa si è posta di coda longa ch'è destesa in terra di dredo, ella pò metter punta e denanci pò covrir e ferire. E se ello passa inanci e tra' del fendente, in lo zogo stretto entra senza fallimento chè tal guardia è bona per aspettare che de quella in altre tosto pò intrare. – posta di choda longa stabile.-

This is the Posta di Coda Longa, which is right-sided backwards to the ground. She can place thrusts, and in front can cover and injure. And if she passes on the front and delivers a fendente, she enters into Gioco Stretto without failing, because this guard is good for waiting, because it can enter into the other ones [Posta].


What do you think the author meant by the last sentence? Why is Coda Longa so good at entering 'gioco stretto', and why is it better for waiting and counter-attacking than Tutta Porta di Ferro, for example?
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Motley » 30 Jan 2012 15:25

I don't have much time for my full thoughts but.

The length of your blade is hidden in Choda Lunga. To me is is like a more deceptive TPdF and he says that *always* passes to stretto. So maybe it is that it allows you to through a fendente and close behind it.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby admin » 30 Jan 2012 16:01

I agree that it hides the length of your blade, but I don't really see that reflected in this piece of text.

Fiore/the author seems more concerned about emphasising how good it is at coming to gioco stretto, but why? Maybe simply because he had to say *something* about each guard - I can't honestly see why this is any better at coming to gioco stretto than any other right-sided guard - they can all do it after all.

And what do the last few words mean? That it is good for waiting in prior to switching to other of the posta, so your opponent doesn't know which posta you are going to adopt until the last minute? Or someting else?

I have my own views on what Coda Longa is good for and not good for, but I admit that I don't really see that covered by the Getty text above.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Michael Chidester » 30 Jan 2012 18:32

My own quick and dirty translation would be something like:

    This is the Guard of the Long Tail, which is extended to the ground behind. It can throw thrusts and can cover forward and strike. And if it passes forward and attacks with a downward blow, in the narrow play it enters without fail. And this guard is good for waiting, as it quickly enters into other guards.

Seems pretty straight forward. It can thrust, cover, and strike, and the obvious way to do all three (to me) is in transitioning to Finestra; there are other good options as well, of course. (I know Matt doesn't like trusting from Finestra, but I do.)

I interpret the comment about waiting to be literally waiting--before the fight not during it. It's a good place to "hang out" with a sword, and can quickly switch to other positions once you're ready to fight.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby admin » 31 Jan 2012 11:24

Michael Chidester wrote:Seems pretty straight forward.


It does, but there's the rub. What does it do that Tutta Porta di Ferro doesn't? Anybody practicing any system with this guard could input into this discussion - what do you find 'Tail Guard' does best?

It can thrust, cover, and strike, and the obvious way to do all three (to me) is in transitioning to Finestra


Sorry Mike, but that doesn't really make sense to me - if you change to Finsetra first then it is Finestra doing those things, not Coda Longa.
Unless you are implying (as I did above) that perhaps the last sentence means that Coda Longa's primary function is to be neutral, no-guard, until the attacker is almost within range and then suddenly move to another guard before carrying out a decisive action (such as covering or attacking)? (therefore minimising the amount of time the opponent has to interpret your intentions from your guard position)

(I know Matt doesn't like trusting from Finestra, but I do.)


To clarify, I do not like thrusting from Finestra by extending the arms into Ochs. I thrust from Finestra by extending the arms into Breve or Longa, because that is what Fiore shows and describes all over his treatise. ;)

I interpret the comment about waiting to be literally waiting--before the fight not during it. It's a good place to "hang out" with a sword, and can quickly switch to other positions once you're ready to fight.


Yes, I think that is right.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Motley » 31 Jan 2012 14:42

admin wrote:
I interpret the comment about waiting to be literally waiting--before the fight not during it. It's a good place to "hang out" with a sword, and can quickly switch to other positions once you're ready to fight.


Yes, I think that is right.


That is kinda my thoughts on it too. tbh I don't use it much and I think I should explore it more.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Motley » 01 Feb 2012 21:50

This video was recently posted over at the HA forums and made me think of this discussion. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... sUc#t=100s

It is Japanese but shows what is effectively Choda Lunga in use.

My thoughts are that it allows you to wait and see what the opponent is going to do against you. It is deceptive as it looks very open and inviting, but you are ready to easily change into something else. Which is what I think the last sentence is saying.

I am not sure how thrusting works from here without there being an actual change of Posta. I think that covering and cutting are fairly straight forward.

I think that is shares a lot similarities with TPdF, though why it is Stabile and Porta di Ferro is Pulsativa I am not sure.

Mind you thinking about it, to do the actions that TPdF can do you still need to transition into another Posta, even if that Posta is TPdF!

As for entering Stretto, as Matt pointed out most of the the right hand Posta say something similar so may be it is not so much that this Posta is special, it is just being pointed out that we can.

In essence I think the last statement sums it up that is is good set up an action by changing into other Posta.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Mark Lancaster » 02 Feb 2012 02:55

admin wrote:What do you think the author meant by the last sentence? Why is Coda Longa so good at entering 'gioco stretto', and why is it better for waiting and counter-attacking than Tutta Porta di Ferro, for example?


This is one approach that we take ... if you develop a fendente from Coda Longa then it will be a powerful blow - more powerful than from most of the other postas - although controlled. If I come at you with such a blow then you will need to react (assuming I don't do something really stupid that lets you easily slip, etc) or I will take your head off.

By forcing you to react against my fendente I have moved (am moving) to Stretto. So I can use it to bully you into Stretto "without fail".
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Michael Chidester » 02 Feb 2012 03:41

admin wrote:Sorry Mike, but that doesn't really make sense to me - if you change to Finsetra first then it is Finestra doing those things, not Coda Longa.

Ah, but isn't that true of all guards that thrust? The only true thrusting position is Posta Longa, after all, unless we bring in Liechtenauer-esque Upper and Lower hangers which aren't described in the text but might be implied by the description of the five thrusts. But since you don't hold with that interpretation, it brings us back to Longa. When we read that Posta di Donna can thrust, then, that clearly requires a change of guards as well (I'm told that Bob Charron does a behind-the-back thrust with Donna, but...). And the only thrusting that Tutta Porta di Ferro will be doing is your opponent's foot.

admin wrote:To clarify, I do not like thrusting from Finestra by extending the arms into Ochs. I thrust from Finestra by extending the arms into Breve or Longa, because that is what Fiore shows and describes all over his treatise. ;)

Actually, the thrusting plays you refer to seem primarily involve closing an open line to exchange thrusts. If you've transitioned to Finestra to close a line, I don't imagine him telling you to expose it again in order to thrust.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby admin » 02 Feb 2012 11:24

Hi Mark, good to see you weigh in on this as well.

Mark Lancaster wrote:if you develop a fendente from Coda Longa then it will be a powerful blow - more powerful than from most of the other postas


Is that really true?
It will travel a greater distance, but in my opinion that does not necessarily equate to more power. Everything has a terminal velocity - there is a maximum distance you can swing a blade before it reaches the maximum possible speed you are able to give that blade. For me I think that distance is from roughly Posta di Donna la Soprana or 'Vom Tag' or 'True Guardant' - ie. with the hands about level with the head or above it. I think if you hold the sword any further back then it will not give any addition force to the blow. Note that people using sledgehammers, baseball bats or cutting trees with axes generally only bring their tool back to about a level with the head or shoulder.

By forcing you to react against my fendente I have moved (am moving) to Stretto. So I can use it to bully you into Stretto "without fail".


I think that would be true of Posta di Donna (especially Soprana), but I don't honestly see it with Coda Longa.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby admin » 02 Feb 2012 11:31

Michael Chidester wrote:
admin wrote:Sorry Mike, but that doesn't really make sense to me - if you change to Finsetra first then it is Finestra doing those things, not Coda Longa.

Ah, but isn't that true of all guards that thrust?


I see what you're saying - I think we were making slightly different points. But let's say we agree because I think it is just semantics and not really important. :)

Actually, the thrusting plays you refer to seem primarily involve closing an open line to exchange thrusts. If you've transitioned to Finestra to close a line, I don't imagine him telling you to expose it again in order to thrust.


The thing is, he never says or shows moving to Finestra to close a line. My argument is that Finestra is not for closing a line (hence the hands being back and not forward and lower than head height, not covering it). The way he shows Finsetra used is as a starting position and end position, from which he moves to a bind (eg. to Breve). There is no evidence that Fiore made binds in Finsestra, which is why it looks completely different to Ochs and he never shows a bind in Ochs. If you bind in Finestra, as Finestra is shown, you'll often get hit in the head.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Mark Lancaster » 02 Feb 2012 12:17

Hi Matt,

admin wrote:I think that would be true of Posta di Donna (especially Soprana), but I don't honestly see it with Coda Longa.


I don't think I should post so late at night :( - maybe a better wording would have been definite intent.

The issue I see is that he states it is good for entering Stretto, which means stepping in, etc. and if we assume that people do not do this in a way that will get them skewered then I can move around, etc and then bang straight in with the fendente.

Two options here - a long move "classic fendente" over the top so the intent is clear - I'm coming through/in - and if you don't meet me then ....

However, I think it is a short fendente that comes in lower - more straight line with the hands, almost through a higher breve - that pulls them to incrossada. I prefer this as it is quicker and a lot less projected, plus I'm travelling behind my blade longer. Again, though, definite intent - I'm coming in :)

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Re: Coda Longa

Postby admin » 02 Feb 2012 12:44

I agree the guard can make a fendente in the same way as TPdF - after all, the hands are in almost the same place, it's just the blade pointing in a different direction, but it's the speed/distance of the hands that defines the time required to make a movement (the tip moving much faster than the hands).

I suppose my query is why the text says that 'with a fendente it will not fail to enter into Stretto, BECAUSE it is good at waiting'. In other words, why should Coda Longa be any better or worse than TPdF, or any other Posta?
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Mark Lancaster » 02 Feb 2012 12:58

Hi Matt,

Maybe we're mistranslating and adding interpretative meaning to the text?

I'll need to look at it again, but it may be a listing option in the same way he uses "and" as bullet points.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby admin » 02 Feb 2012 13:25

Could be - the Italian is:

in lo zogo stretto entra senza fallimento chè tal guardia è bona per aspettare che de quella in altre tosto pò intrare.


Translating as I look at it I come up with (paraphrasing) -
"in close play it enters without failing, which/because that guard is good for waiting, because/that in those others it can enter."

I guess one thing we can take from that is that it usually (always?) acts with a passing step, which is what would put it in 'zogo stretto'. It's good that it says explicitly that it is 'good for waiting', because that seems to be everybody's personal experience of it as well. The bit that I am having the biggest trouble with is the part about 'entering the other guards'. Maybe the author just means that it makes them cover in gioco stretto. But maybe it means more than just that.

And I always come back to the question of - why use Coda Longa instead of Tutta Porta di Ferro?
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Mark Lancaster » 02 Feb 2012 13:59

admin wrote:The bit that I am having the biggest trouble with is the part about 'entering the other guards'. Maybe the author just means that it makes them cover in gioco stretto. But maybe it means more than just that.


OK - so we could say that it enters into the opponents guards. So, the posta tactic is that it waits and watches and then moves, with a snap fendente, straight in against their "guard" and that always reduces the distance into stretto (with or without the incrossada)

And I always come back to the question of - why use Coda Longa instead of Tutta Porta di Ferro?


Well, textually they are very similar and do similar things (close, cover, thrust, etc) so maybe it's down to the subtle differences - i.e. I'm thinking of the "waiting" here. It certainly could appear less threatening to the opponent as the blade appears to be disengaged, so maybe it is good to wait in as the oppenent will relax their guard????

(I really shouldn't think and type at the same time)
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Michael Chidester » 02 Feb 2012 17:21

The arcing cut from a low guard is a good way to provoke a crossing and get you inside for the fun stuff. However:

admin wrote:I suppose my query is why the text says that 'with a fendente it will not fail to enter into Stretto, BECAUSE it is good at waiting'. In other words, why should Coda Longa be any better or worse than TPdF, or any other Posta?

I think this is a minor mistranslation. It's one of the things I tried to address in my rough revision above, actually. You interpret che as being equivalent to perché, but I don't think this is correct. Che alone just means "that" and Fiore often uses it as a neutral conjunction which doesn't connect the two clauses in any meaningful way--essentially as a replacement for "and". Furthermore, in the Morgan these are separate sentences, giving us a lot of leeway about how we want to connect them.

E s'ello passa innanci e tra' de lo fendente. In lo zogo stretto intra senza falimento. Che tale guardia è bona per aspetare. Che de quella in le altre tosto pò intrare.

As a final point of interest, the Pisani-Dossi makes the same claim but does not mention waiting as part of it:

E se passo innançi e entro in lo fendent,
E' uegno al streto zogho sença faliment.

And If I pass forward and enter with a Fendente,
I come to the narrow play without fail.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby admin » 02 Feb 2012 18:10

Yes I agree about the 'because/that'.
It's interesting that Pisani-Dossi also says about the entering with a fendente to get to the close play. It still doesn't get us any closer to answering why you'd do this from Coda Longa rather than TPdF though.

The way I look at it is this: For a posta/guard to exist it must have a strength or advantage. Something that makes it worth using instead of something else. Coda Longa is found in lots of systems, but I'm not really clear on what its strength is. It doesn't strike any harder than Porta di Ferro (in my view), it isn't any better at waiting in, it isn't any better at covering or giving conventional attacks. Why use it? Does Marozzo give any hint?

The only time I can see it giving more potent attacks is with a very top-heavy weapon like a pollaxe.

Yet the point Fiore seems to accentuate about this guard is that it 'enters with a fendente into gioco stretto'... but any other guard seems to be able to do that equally well.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby TyHar7 » 04 Feb 2012 12:20

admin wrote:The text (Getty):

Questa si è posta di coda longa ch'è destesa in terra di dredo, ella pò metter punta e denanci pò covrir e ferire. E se ello passa inanci e tra' del fendente, in lo zogo stretto entra senza fallimento chè tal guardia è bona per aspettare che de quella in altre tosto pò intrare. – posta di choda longa stabile.-

This is the Posta di Coda Longa, which is right-sided backwards to the ground. She can place thrusts, and in front can cover and injure. And if she passes on the front and delivers a fendente, she enters into Gioco Stretto without failing, because this guard is good for waiting, because it can enter into the other ones [Posta].




Hey I know most of you are heavy weight Fiore so I hope you don't mind me weighing in as I maybe just pointing out the obvious on some of this. I've always considered that posta coda longa to be a good waiting position if you were fighting multiple opponents from all corners, as you only have to pivot the feet to end in PdFM on the left or DdC to face your other opponent, which are obviously good for thrusting.

Also an advantage from TPdf is as state the blade and hands are hidden, especially if you are presenting your outside line to the target. From there wouldn't you nearly pass through PdD keeping the hands and blade still hidden until you produced a fendente or thrust? TPdf always leaves the blade and hands insight and being pulsativa is more a reaction guard than offensive which coda longa can be?

You seem to interpret "she enters into Gioco Stretto without failing" as "it won't fail to get into close play". Could this not also mean "I move into close play without reducing force?" I might be totally off base with all of this or covering old ground but just trying to give you guys some new thoughts.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Michael Chidester » 05 Feb 2012 18:32

admin wrote:The way I look at it is this: For a posta/guard to exist it must have a strength or advantage. Something that makes it worth using instead of something else. Coda Longa is found in lots of systems, but I'm not really clear on what its strength is. It doesn't strike any harder than Porta di Ferro (in my view), it isn't any better at waiting in, it isn't any better at covering or giving conventional attacks. Why use it?

I suspect that the answer to this question is simple. Fiore includes it in the SITH, not because it's uniquely capable, but because it's the foundation of his mounted swordplay and he's just pointing out that it can be used on foot as well. If you really want to delve into what technical advantages it offers, that would also probably be the place to start.

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