Thank you for picking up Academie Duello’s Introduction to Italian Longsword. On this page you’ll find some bonus content especially chosen to enhance your practice and understanding of the art of swordplay.
After a selection of videos, you’ll find an invaluable description of our complete combat strategy called The True Fight, where one can assess all combat options present, no matter what weapon is being used.
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The True Fight Strategy
Combat can be a chaotic environment with the potential for a sword to come from nearly any direction, and left unchecked, an opponent can act in seemingly unpredictable ways. The “True Fight” is an approach to the fundamental strategy of Italian fencing, designed to control the unpredictability of fencing and give you a straightforward and limited selection of options to choose from at each stage of a fight. In this strategy, you will use the mechanical and strategic principles you have learned to protect yourself from an opponent’s most direct attacks, safely approach your own offensive measure, and strike when the opportunity presents itself.
The Rules of the True Fight
- Stringer your opponent at all times.
- Move forward when you have control to increase advantage or strike.
- When you do not have control, move backward and recover control.
- Seek opportunities to strike in one of the four tempos.
Success in the True Fight
To succeed at the true fight, remember to take into account that you are facing a sharp weapon that requires very little force to do you great harm. This should temper your actions in two ways:
- You must approach with great caution, seeking to control the weapon of the opponent at all times and recover control with wise movement should you lose it.
- As the distance narrows, safety comes with decisiveness, and valour will be the better part of caution. When the opportunity presents itself, you must strike in earnest and without hesitation.
Remember that your primary objective in a sword fight is to survive. Though self-evident, this overarching objective can be easy to lose sight of in our non-lethal modern world. If you want to truly understand and master the traditional art, you must keep this thought first and foremost in your mind as you practice.
Actions at each Measure
At Misura Larghissima
- As the opponent steps away — Follow them to maintain larghissima.
- As the opponent fixes — Step forward to find misura larga.
- As the opponent steps forward — Step forward in time with them and find misura stretta.
- As they take an overly big step forward — Strike them with a lunge in primo tempo.
- As the opponent fixes at larghissima or steps into larghissima — Strike them with a passing lunge in primo tempo, if the proportion is extremely favourable or the opponent seems very unready.
At Misura Larga
- As the opponent steps away — Follow them to maintain misura larga.
- As the opponent fixes — Step forward to find misura stretta or if they seem very unready, strike them with a lunge (this is a type of primo tempo).
- As the opponent moves forward (step or attack) — Gain and strike with a firm footed lunge in contro-tempo.
At Misura Stretta
- Initiate the attack immediately upon arriving and adapt to changes of line and measure appropriately.
- As the opponent steps away in primo tempo — Strike with a lunge or passing lunge in primo tempo.
- As the opponent fixes — Strike with a firm-footed lunge in mezzo tempo.
- As the opponent attacks — Strike in mezzo tempo catching them halfway between actions.
At Misura Strettissima
- Strike with an extension of the upper body, then immediately back away.