Breaking the point

Fiore dei Liberi and his treatises Fior di Battaglia/Flos Duellatorum c.1410.
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Breaking the point

Postby Motley » 02 Nov 2012 16:46

This turn of the conversation here viewtopic.php?f=13&t=19153&start=140#p313036 made me wonder.

How do you perform the break of point?
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Re: Breaking the point

Postby mackenzie cosens » 02 Nov 2012 22:32

OK here is what I think I do with no attempt to see if it fits the text.

I belive have what might be weird artefact: from a left low guard ie: boars tooth & some cases 1/2 Iron gate I engage the incoming blade with the false edge. So initially I am using the same action as if I was cutting off an incoming cut with a sottani then at contact driving the blade away and down. At the point of contact my right hand is palm facing my face. I finish in two ways: If I am close enough when I do the pass that I can hand check and pommel strike, my right hand just rotates in to the position to do the strike. If I am too far away to do a close play or a choose not to then continue to suppress the companions blade I rotateing my right hand so that I end true edge on top of his false edge. I think this sounds like a possible Krump

All other guards I break in what I think is the standard way with the true edge.
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Re: Breaking the point

Postby Sean M » 03 Nov 2012 00:47

At least in the Getty, neither Mezzana Porta di Ferro nor Dente di Cenghiaro talks about breaking thrusts just beating them up and to the side. So for completeness its probably worth trying from those guards, but it doesn't seem to have been their favorite response to a thrust.

In my view there are three responses to a thrust, even if only two have names: you can beat it down and cut up (Rompere di Punta), beat it aside and return a thrust of your own (Scambiar di Punta), or beat it up and cut down (no name given, but sometimes uses Posta Frontale).
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Re: Breaking the point

Postby Tuomas T » 03 Nov 2012 00:55

The way I, personally, perform the play of breaking of the thrust can be best summarized as poorly.

The more informative answer is that I, like most members of the School of European Swordsmanship, attempt to perform it the way it is seen in this YouTube clip (0:04 - 0:08, 0:34 - 0:38).
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Re: Breaking the point

Postby CPenney » 03 Nov 2012 18:21

Sean M wrote:At least in the Getty, neither Mezzana Porta di Ferro nor Dente di Cenghiaro talks about breaking thrusts just beating them up and to the side. So for completeness its probably worth trying from those guards, but it doesn't seem to have been their favorite response to a thrust.


This is an important point, IMO. I've always been of the opinion that Fiore put what he did in the the manuscripts for a reason. I cannot say with any certainty that he would object to a fencer performing these other sorts of plays (i.e. attempting the rompere di punta from boar's tooth or middle iron door), but my preference is to explore the plays Fiore describes before moving into the realm of looking for other applications to techniques that are not explicitly described.

In my view there are three responses to a thrust, even if only two have names: you can beat it down and cut up (Rompere di Punta), beat it aside and return a thrust of your own (Scambiar di Punta), or beat it up and cut down (no name given, but sometimes uses Posta Frontale).


Further to that, Fiore shows the rompere di punta in two places (at least). The first is the gioco largo section, where Fiore is clear about holding the hands high, and delivering a fendente to the middle of the opponents sword. I think it's fair to say that this requires really good timing, and is the sort of thing that won't work without practice, but it does follow the instructions in the book, and as Dan pointed out when he showed it to me, it puts you in the correct position to perform the follow-on plays.

The other place where the play is shown is in the sword in one hand - To do this I always catch the incoming thrust (with the true edge) with more of a side-ways motion and then push it to the ground. This way, the hand stays pretty stationary, and the tip of the sword does an arc from left to right.

I think, when the rompere di punta is referenced in posta di dona and tutta porta di fero in the sword in two hands section, it would seem to be one or the other of these variations.
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Re: Breaking the point

Postby Michael Chidester » 03 Nov 2012 18:40

CPenney wrote:I've always been of the opinion that Fiore put what he did in the the manuscripts for a reason.

I disagree! ;)

But seriously, as touches the play of the breaking of thrusts, something that is often overlooked is that there are two distinct methods of executing the play portrayed in the texts. The Getty portrays it thusly (and the fact that the footwork is correct for the textual description means its the version used on the wiki):

Image

The Paris and Novati, on the other hand, use this setup:

Image

Note the difference not only in the footwork, but also in the orientation of the hands and wrists. Combine with the fact that the blade position is ambiguous in the Getty, and it's entirely unlcear whether we're looking at the same play from both sides, we're catching a glimpse at two different methods of performing the play, or one of these two images is an error and a trap for the unweary.

Discuss.
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Re: Breaking the point

Postby mackenzie cosens » 03 Nov 2012 21:31

Now that I have exposed my bad technique :)

What guards can break the thrust?
From Leoni's translation of Fior di Battaglia I get these guards can beat a thrust to the ground:
1: Tutta Porta di Ferro
2: Right Posta di Donna- Not explicitly stated to be able to break a thrust but can break all guards with great strikes It seems natural to be able to break a thrust
3: Posta di Finestra
4: Left Posta di Donna
5: Posta Frontale

Is the action of beating the thrust to the ground the same as the Play "Breaking of the Thrust"?

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Re: Breaking the point

Postby CPenney » 03 Nov 2012 23:46

Michael Chidester wrote:Note the difference not only in the footwork, but also in the orientation of the hands and wrists. Combine with the fact that the blade position is ambiguous in the Getty, and it's entirely unlcear whether we're looking at the same play from both sides, we're catching a glimpse at two different methods of performing the play, or one of these two images is an error and a trap for the unweary.

Discuss.


My instinct is the latter suggestion, but of course, I have no proof of that.

To go back to the hand orientation, the Scholar in the Novati appears to have his left hand tucked in front, as if the sword is specifically held a little to the right side. On the other hand, in the Getty it is the player, who has just had his thrust 'broken', who seems to be in a similar position.

One conclusion from that is that breaking the point the "Novati" way requires a particular sword (and hence hand/arm) position, and if a person has their thrust broken by the technique in the Getty, they end up coincidentally in virtually the same position. My feeing, on the other hand, is that these particulars in sword/arm position, seem consistent with how the artist seems to draw a figure from the left, versus the right. Take a look at the two pairs of figures, and except for who wears the garter, and how the swords cross, and you'll see how they look basically identical.

Sorry if this observation doesn't constitute an actual "interpretation", but I think it's worthwhile to consider, for what it's worth.
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Re: Breaking the point

Postby CPenney » 04 Nov 2012 04:31

mackenzie cosens wrote:Is the action of beating the thrust to the ground the same as the Play "Breaking of the Thrust"?

mackenzie


Hi, mackenzie. I'm not sure if it does or not. Fiore does, as you mention, refer specifically to breaking *guards* in the description of posta di dona, and I've often wondered what that meant. I have speculated in the past that there are other situations other than a defence against a thrust where one might beat the opponent's sword to the ground. Where precisely that would be is entirely anyone's guess, though. On the other hand, the line may simply mean that great blows from that position are able to blow on through an opponents attempted defence (hence 'breaking' a guard).


...

Something else that might be relevant is the first play of the pollaxe. That shows a position similar to the break of thrust as the objective for the rest of the plays. It's hard to say whether Fiore consideres that an appropriate play for swords, or if it's meant to be done specifically with the axe.
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