Table of Defenses Actions in Dall’Agocchie

Below is my translation of the defenses and counters outlined in Day Two of Giovanni Dall’Agocchie’s On The Art of Fencing. I’ve simplified and condensed drastically to discover the basic bio-mechanic movements behind the vast catalogue of Italian terminology. Bolognese scholars are free to think this post sacrilege.

Dall’Agocchie never describes a parry without outlining a multitude of counter attack with which to follow it. I’ve listed only the parries but not the responses. The responses are, to my mind, fairly simple to determine in the heat of the moment and based in the situation at hand.

Other than where Dall’Agocchie specifies attacks targeting the legs, it is assumed that all movements are aiming for the a square bounded by the top of the head, the solar plexus and the outside of the shoulders. Attacks can be launched into this area from above, below, left or right giving the (German) four openings: upper inside (left), upper outside (right), lower inside (left) and lower outside (right). These are from the point of view of the right-handed swordsman being attacked.

Countering Attacks to the High Inside Line

  • Guardia di Testa or a hanging parry
  • Thrust into long point (Guardia di Faccia, Guardia d’Entrare, Guardia d’Alicorno) turning the long edge into the incoming attack
  • Cut downwards into the attack whether from the left or the right (Riverso or Mandritto) targeting either the blade or the hand
  • Slip back, sidestep or otherwise void the body from the danger area the incoming attack is targeting

Countering Attacks to the Low Inside Line

  • Cut downwards into the incoming attack to the blade or the hand

Countering Attacks to the Low Outside Line

  • Cut upwards into the incoming attack to the blade or the hand. (The description of this action appears elsewhere as a kind of barring or static block.)

Countering Attacks to the High Outside Line

  • Guardia di Testa or a hanging parry
  • Thrust into long point (Guardia di Faccia, Guardia d’Entrare, Guardia d’Alicorno) turning the long edge into the incoming attack
  • Cut downwards into the attack whether from the left or the right (Riverso or Mandritto) targeting either the blade or the hand
  • Cut upwards into long point targeting either the blade or the hand
  • Beat the attack upwards and away

Countering Attacks to the Legs

  • Slip back, sidestep or otherwise void the body from the danger area the incoming attack is targeting
  • Any kind of barring or hanging parry action which sweeps away the incoming attack

Countering the Thrust

Note: the response against a thrust is always a thrust. The default action is to parry the incoming attack and thrust.

  • Slip back, sidestep or otherwise void the body from the danger area the incoming attack is targeting
  • Thrust into long point (Guardia di Faccia, Guardia d’Entrare, Guardia d’Alicorno) turning the long edge into the incoming attack
  • Cut downwards into long point to the blade or the hand
  • Any kind of barring or hanging parry action which sweeps away the incoming attack