Bicorno

Fiore dei Liberi and his treatises Fior di Battaglia/Flos Duellatorum c.1410.
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Isto » 16 Mar 2012 14:03

Michael Chidester wrote:So, he's basically telling us the same thing that we hear from masters like Meyer, that it's a guard used to bait an attack from your opponent, and great for thrusting. Add the descriptions of Bicorno and Longa together and we're left with a strong guard ideal for thrusting.


There is also that mention about avoiding cuts and making her own.

Michael Chidester wrote:I also think, and this is purely speculative, that the name is a significant clue to its use--all of Fiore's other guards are named in evocative ways that allude to their characteristics (the only one I haven't figured out to my satisfaction is Finestra). In this case, I think the name of "anvil" refers to its capacity to receive strong blows without collapsing and without having its point knocked off-line.


Bicorno have these features if you make it like Guy Windsor shows. If you don't keep your pommel against your wrist it's weak, mobile but weak.

Your explanation for name Posta di Donna is the best I have heard :)
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Motley » 16 Mar 2012 14:45

I also like the Posta di Donna translation. Actually calling Posta Bircorno, the Guard of the Anvil is also very evocative, focussing on the anvil aspect of the name rather than the two horns.

Incidently Mike, why did you choose Guard rather than something like 'Position', I don't know if this is a correct meaning but dei Liberi seems to make a distinction by using 'Posta' although also telling us that a posta is a guard. The impression I get is that a Guard is a generic position but a post is one of the specific positions he uses. But what do I know?
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Alex Putnam-Spreier » 16 Mar 2012 16:44

Michael Chidester wrote:I take a direct approach, there. "Donna" is the Italian name of the Queen in chess, and Florio demonstrates that it was already called that in 1611. Guard of the Queen because, similar to the chess piece, she's a puslative guard which can make all seven strikes of the sword, perform all the covers, break all the other guards, and make the plays of exchanging the thrust as well as all of the narrow plays. The Queen is a fair analogy, I'd say.*

I've heard many theories over the years, but this seems to mesh well with the naming scheme used in the other guards--they generally seem to remind you of their function, not their appearance or tactical significance.

*Similarly, the U.S. Infantry corps styles itself the "Queen of Battle", because like the queen they believe they can move anywhere on the battlefield, regardless of terrain or defenses, and attack with impunity. The Field Artillery corps, on the other hand, goes by "King of Battle"--gunners use the term because we think it sounds awesome, but everyone else lets us use it because we sit comfortably at the back of the battlefield and if the enemy ever gets close to us, the battle is pretty much lost.


While that is an evocative idea about Posta di Donna, I have one problem with it - IIRC the Queen as a chess piece was relatively weak (only being allowed to move one or two squares) until about 1500, which places it outside Fiore's time. Now, it is possible that some people were already playing with the Queen being more popular, but 1500 is when it became common. I also look at "Donna" as "Queen" but a different queen - to a medieval Italian who would be the one person you capitalized "donna" for? Saint Mary, mother of Christ. There is an image (which I will try to find again) showing Mary defending baby Jesus from demons (or somesuch) and she has a club, raised over her right shoulder, with it hanging slightly downwards, ready to strike. I don't remember how contemporaneous it is to Fiore honestly, but I still thought it was a cool image.

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Re: Bicorno

Postby John H » 16 Mar 2012 18:56

Ran Pleasant wrote:Respectfully, thrusting by only stepping forward (not extending the arms) is just not a realistic thing to do. Even if my point was touching by adversary's chest I cannot imagine not extending my arms. Especially given moving as one does in sparring. Just moving at speed makes it almost impossible to not extend the arms. Must guess is that you will never successfully pull off such a thrust in hard sparring as you will be moving much too fast to make such a stiff movement. Plus, such a thrust is not described by Fiore or any of the other longsword masters. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

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I’m sure you are well aware of the process of a lunge; you extend your arm, then move your legs. The action of driving the blade into the body is done not with the arm but with the legs. By stating thrusting in bicorno is done with footwork we are stating the same thing. Instead of extension of the arm like with a Rapier, you assume the guard then step forward. The ‘strength’ aspect has nothing to do with the power into the thrust, it has to do with the stability of the guard. If you wish to catch a fendente you need a strong structure, not a strong thrust.

As to doing it in practicality I do it regularly, if I see a descending blow coming I’ll take the guard and step in. If you look at the two pictures Michael has posted, as I see the action, they guy in Einkiren is stepping into the strike. The leg works looks to me to show forward motion. So this does say that some authors are dictating a strike as we are describing. Is it bicorno, that is up for debate.

As to a practical side. I can tell you that I can thrust in bicorno as described and I can cut as you are talking about. I don’t understand why anyone would say ‘no it has to be this way.’ I will do both in the fight, I will not be limiting myself to what I ‘believe’ someone took the time to wright down, when I know that I can do an action.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Motley » 16 Mar 2012 19:36

Michael Chidester wrote:... Combine with the name "Guard of the Anvil", a name which has an additional connotation of strength and forcefulness, and Bicorno as a guard primarily intended to cover the upper openings (especially on the left) seems pretty likely.


Mike how you you see it as being "especially on the left"?

To me looking at the Getty the left forearm seems horizontal with the left shoulder slight forward. To me this would put it as more likely covering the upper _right_ opening.

Taking this with how Posta Frontale could be perceived to be more on the left, I have wild wonderings if they could server similar purposes just on different sides... They are both instabile and do what Posta Longa can do after all...
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Michael Chidester » 16 Mar 2012 23:40

Isto wrote:There is also that mention about avoiding cuts and making her own.

No, there isn't. The phrase is "S'ella pò ferire de punta ella lo sa ben fare gli colpi ella schiva e poi fiere s'ella lo pò fare." or "If she can wound from the point she knows well [how] to do it, the cuts she dodges and she can wound if she can do it." Ferire literally means "to wound", but it becomes clear after a while that when Fiore uses it he's only talking about attempts to wound, hence the translation "to strike". What it doesn't mean is specifically to cut.
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Michael Chidester » 16 Mar 2012 23:49

Motley wrote:Incidently Mike, why did you choose Guard rather than something like 'Position', I don't know if this is a correct meaning but dei Liberi seems to make a distinction by using 'Posta' although also telling us that a posta is a guard. The impression I get is that a Guard is a generic position but a post is one of the specific positions he uses. But what do I know?

I try to use familiar translations in places where there's no purpose served by changing them. That said, I often think that something like Stance would be a more accurate translation than Guard.
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Michael Chidester » 16 Mar 2012 23:51

Alex Putnam-Spreier wrote:While that is an evocative idea about Posta di Donna, I have one problem with it - IIRC the Queen as a chess piece was relatively weak (only being allowed to move one or two squares) until about 1500, which places it outside Fiore's time. Now, it is possible that some people were already playing with the Queen being more popular, but 1500 is when it became common. I also look at "Donna" as "Queen" but a different queen - to a medieval Italian who would be the one person you capitalized "donna" for? Saint Mary, mother of Christ. There is an image (which I will try to find again) showing Mary defending baby Jesus from demons (or somesuch) and she has a club, raised over her right shoulder, with it hanging slightly downwards, ready to strike. I don't remember how contemporaneous it is to Fiore honestly, but I still thought it was a cool image.

You're right, I had forgotten about the history of Queens Wild chess. It became popular in the 15th century, but it started earlier and I don't know when precisely it would have hit northern Italy. Take that translation with a grain of salt, then, but I still like it.
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Re: Coda Longa

Postby Michael Chidester » 16 Mar 2012 23:53

Motley wrote:Mike how you you see it as being "especially on the left"?

Because I find it nice for covering on the left and awkward on the right, that's all.
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Re: Bicorno

Postby admin » 20 May 2012 09:39

Posta di Bichorna is for stabbing lions:
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Motley » 28 Aug 2012 21:41

John H, I was having trouble understanding what you were describing before.

I am assuming this is your group? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... hAQpP-znEw

Is this still an up to date representation of what you were meaning?

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Re: Bicorno

Postby John H » 28 Aug 2012 21:56

Yes it is.

I’m not sure why it was demonstrated against an ascending cut/punta but it serves the purpose. I personally prefer to use it against a descending blow but you can get to it in many different ways. The end result is the guard not how you got there...well kind of how you get there will dictate how you form it. I think I'm rambling again sorry.
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Re: Bicorno

Postby admin » 29 Aug 2012 09:49

I'm really confused. That video shows thrusts from Porta di Ferro Mezzana terminating in Posta Longa. Where is the Bichorno?
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Bulot » 29 Aug 2012 15:09

admin wrote:I'm really confused. That video shows thrusts from Porta di Ferro Mezzana terminating in Posta Longa. Where is the Bichorno?


Same reaction here.
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Re: Bicorno

Postby John H » 29 Aug 2012 22:10

Posta longa has the hands lower and the quillion strait up and down, generally center chest. The guard that Fick ended up in was offset to the right and the quillion were at a 45 degree angle. If you don’t angle the quillion you can’t control the other guys blade and your hands get hit. This is more obvious at the 30 second mark.

Where you are probably wondering is why is the guard extended out in front as opposed to his arms bent and held close to the chest. Well you don’t need the structural strength when you are opposing a thrust. I think a better demonstration would be to oppose a fendente that way you have a need to keep the arms more ‘structurally strong’ rather than just extend it to make the hit. I didn’t get a say in what they filmed.
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Re: Bicorno

Postby admin » 29 Aug 2012 23:04

Thanks for the reply, John. I still don't see how this video has anything to do with Bichorno, it just shows various ways you can exchange a thrust in Posta Longa. There doesn't even seem to be any transition through Bichorno.

Here is Bichorno:
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Michael Chidester » 29 Aug 2012 23:13

Here is more. Hand position aside, the posture and blade height is pretty clear and consistent across all four versions.

http://www.googleartproject.com/collect ... 0/6916021/

Image

Image

Image
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Re: Bicorno

Postby John H » 29 Aug 2012 23:21

Again I’ll acknowledge that exchanging a thrust was probably not the best way to demonstrate the guard as we interoperate it, as you have no need to bring your arms back as you show in the two pics when you oppose a thrust in fact you are better off extending them as they did. I would have recommended they demonstrate it against a fendente which would look at lot more like (with hands in the position shown at :30):

http://media.bibliothek.uni-augsburg.de ... 742717.png

So basically what you are saying is the difference between poasta longa and bicorno is the arms being bent? What about quillion alignment, does that factor into the guards for you? Would you do posta longa with the quillion at an angle over 5-10 degrees?

I’ll be the first to say we interpolate it differently. No one seems to have a clear shot of what it was and this guard serves us very well in all practical aspects and fits the descriptions.
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Re: Bicorno

Postby CaptainAbrecan » 25 Sep 2012 14:33

Michael Chidester wrote:Here is more. Hand position aside, the posture and blade height is pretty clear and consistent across all four versions.

http://www.googleartproject.com/collect ... 0/6916021/

Image

Image

Image



So, uh, do you guys know why the inside hand seems to be flipped in some images? Is there a right way to do it, or is it conditional, based on the strike being made?
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Re: Bicorno

Postby Michael Chidester » 25 Sep 2012 16:06

I'm not certain about that. The Getty, Morgan, and Florius can all be interpreted as showing precisely the same hand position. The Novati is the odd man out, but whether that's intentional or an error on the part of the artist who produced the manuscript or the artist who copied it for Novati is impossible to know. (Me, I suspect that if and when the Pisani-Dossi Ms. is scanned again, we'll find that the left hand is smudged or faded, leading Novati's artist to interpolate a hand position on their own. But I may be wrong, and it's not even certain that Novati recopied the ms. in the first place.)
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