Final play of the spear

Fiore dei Liberi and his treatises Fior di Battaglia/Flos Duellatorum c.1410.
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Final play of the spear

Postby CPenney » 23 Nov 2012 18:55

I was going through the spear plays the other day, and I once again go to the last play of the section (showing the cover from the left side). This play, particularly in the Getty, looks quite different to the cover on the right side. I've been shown various interpretations of this, most of them involve a cover where the scholar ends up in a position similar to finestra on the right.

I've been looking at that, and I'm thinking that the final plate in the Getty actually shows the contrary technique (turning the strike with the butt end.)

How do people do this play? I'm curious to hear how other people approach the spear section, as I feel is it a short and simple section, but I feel there are a number of oddities to it.
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Re: Final play of the spear

Postby Motley » 24 Nov 2012 11:13

Was this not discussed here some where not too long ago? I seem to remember crossing posts with Matt on it.

Sorry mo time for more now.
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Re: Final play of the spear

Postby CPenney » 24 Nov 2012 14:53

I thought I'd looked through he old posts, but I'll look again. If anyone knows the thread in question... :)
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Re: Final play of the spear

Postby Motley » 24 Nov 2012 16:33

I had a few min to look and found it. It came out of a wider discussion that I need to re read.

viewtopic.php?f=6&t=18155&start=20#p294066

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Re: Final play of the spear

Postby CPenney » 24 Nov 2012 17:47

OK, it was briefly mentioned by you and Matt about 11 months, ago, and it was off-topic in a thread about downward-pointing covers in Fiore. Matt stated that the last image from the Getty shows the counter (which is the conclusion I'd come to) and you responded with the following. There was no further discussion from you or anyone else, so I'll quote your response below and follow up with where I was going. Hopefully others might add their thoughts.

Motley wrote:The way I was reading it it that the image showed the finishing point of the previous 3 plates, the text then goes onto describe the counter, butt strike which is not shown.

I assume this for the following reasons:

1) the play is a scholar of the Remedy Master, not a Contrary Remedy Master, as there as no crown.

This is definitely a point in favour of your interpretation.
2) the previous page has a finishing plate (bottom left) then shows the counter (bottom right), whcih mathces with this being the finsihing pate.

Except that the play in the Getty physically resembles the contrary, including the switched grip, the elevated position of the opposing players spear tip, and the high, level orientation of the spear.
3) this page has kind of quished up what was previously show over two pages for the other side, to one page here. So after showing the finishing move he just describes in text the counter, as he has already shown it before.

This doesn't prove anything, as the "compression" of the left-side guards and play could also be seen as evidence of the opposite (i.e. describing both, but merely showing the contrary).
4) in other places in the ms iirc, he does just describe a counter in text, especially if he has already shown an image of it (elbow push in Abrazare iirc shown in 6th play and described in 16th)

Yes he does, but again, this applies to both interpretations (i.e. he's shown the remedy scholars cover, and the contrary masters play after teh right-side guards, so he's showing one, and referring to the other.)
5) this image really does look like it is the point in the face of the opponent, not the butt and the foot position is where we would be if we had passed in with the thrust as described.

The point is definitely in the face of the opponent (not the butt-end). However, if you go back to look at the contrary play on the previous page, the tip of the spear is obscured, but the non-striking end clearly has no spear tip. This, to me, demonstrates what I've mentioned before, that the drawings cannot be taken as photos. The non-striking end (which would, in real life, have the spearhead proper) is not illustrated, because that is not the important part of the drawing.
Now I know that this counters what he said about keeping the butt low and point high in the thrust, and I am not sure why.

The image in question not only contradicts that passage, but it also contradicts the line in Dente di Chinghiaro where he states "Guards on the mandritto side do exactly what we do on the riverso side" (trans. Ton Leoni). In addition, the image in the Getty differs from the images in both the Novati and Morgan. In these, the spear is clearly angled upwards (they are admittedly less-sharply angled than the crossing on the right side, but they are angled none the less).

Obviously I wouldn't be arguing this if I didn't think I was correct, but I absolutely acknowledge that the evidence (in the Getty) is contradictory. The way I see it, there are at least two possibilities:

1) Fiore in the Getty is showing us an alternate parry (done with raised hands) that he not only doesn't write about, but actually contradicts what he does tell us. This alternate parry also physically looks just like the contrary play.

2) Fiore shows us three poste on each side, essentially mirror-images of each other (except for mIG and VC), which, as he states, play the same on each side, and have the same contrary on each side, and the image in the Getty is showing the contrary play. In this case, the garter with no crown is a "mistake".

I don't mean to set up #1 as a straw man, but I definitely think it is implausible.

Additionally, the whole drawing could be an error on the part of the artist. If the artist was told (or understood) that the drawing should be the same as the one that ended the right-hand guards, he might have mis-understood, and drew the contrary play when he was supposed to draw the Remedy scholar play instead.

The final thing (or, perhaps, the first thing that got me wondering) is that this 'high variation' doesn't seem to really work, IMO. It can only work if they are aiming very high (to your face), and if you cover in this way, everything is more or less OK, but when you drop the tip to strike the riposte, the attackers spear can too easily slip off, as you are setting your spear parallel to theirs.
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