Primo Assalto

This is the first training sequence – an Assalto – created by Antonio Manciolino and published in his 1531 Opera nova specifically designed for use with a blunt training sword (spada da gioco) and a small buckler (brocchiero). By following these steps translated and punctuated into easier, digestible parts you can learn to perform the sequence yourself.

Please understand that this represents my current interpretation of the sequence, and if you wish to familiarize yourself with the original text you can do so by downloading a facsimile or ordering an English translation.

Notice that the Andare and Ritornare are to be performed on your own, as well as the Abbellimento, but the Giochi are in fact pair exercises though here displayed solo. The Abbellimento is repeated after each Gioco. At the bottom of this page is a glossary of the technical terms used. Read more about the Primo Assaltoin the blog.

  1. Stand gracefully
  2. Pass with right across to your right, giving a *falso *to the boss, putting sword in GUARDIA ALTA and buckler towards the face like a mirror
  3. **Pass with left **retouching the buckler going to GUARDIA DI TESTA and buckler dropping along the left thigh
  4. Pass with right lifting the sword into GUARDIA ALTA
  5. Passing****with left do a montante accompanied by a <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandrittosopra braccio
  6. Go with the sword into GUARDIA DI TESTA
  7. Pass with right touching with a falso the boss and do a montante into GUARDIA ALTA

Embellish the play

  1. Pass with right backwards behind left cutting the rim with a fendente after which the sword will fall and immediately come up again from behind to GUARDIA ALTAdrawing the left foot near the right
  2. Retouch the buckler
  3. Pass long with left putting the sword into GUARDIA DI TESTA
  4. Pass with right beating the boss with a falso
  5. Do a montante into GUARDIA ALTAdrawing the right foot near the left, buckler well guarding the head
  1. Pass long with right, striking <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandrittosopra braccio
    to the face and strike a riverso into CODA LUNGA STRETTA, buckler well protecting the head
  2. Immediately return with montante into GUARDIA ALTA, drawing right foot near left
  3. Pass with right striking <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandritto
    into GUARDIA DI FACCIA
  4. ****Pass with left towards his right, striking a tramazzone into CINGHIARA PORTA DI FERRO, buckler against the head
  5. Pass long with right doing a *crosswise falso *to his face, sword continuing into GUARDIA ALTA
  6. Strike the head or face with a <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandrittosopra braccio
    , drawing the right foot near the left
  7. Pass long with right throwing the fist high and striking a <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandrittosotto braccio
    to the face
  8. Draw the right foot near the left, using the buckler well
  9. Pass with the right, strike a falso into GUARDIA DI FACCIA accomppanied by two tramazzoni, the last of which ending into PORTA DI FERRO STRETTA
  10. Draw right foot near the left and do a montante into GUARDIA ALTA

Embellish the play

  1. Pass with right, strike <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandrittosopra braccio
    and draw right near the left
  2. Return the right forwards doing two riversi, one to the face and the other to the thigh, letting go an overhand thrust that goes over the arm and draw the right foot near the left
  3. Pass with left pushing a punta riversa to the face
  4. Pass long****with right striking an upwards riverso, immediately turn a falso to the left temple followed by a pushed riverso to the right side of the face
  5. Pass long****with right backwards behind the left striking a <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandritto
    into GUARDIA DI FACCIA
  6. Perform a half-turn of the hand into CODA LUNGA ALTA with the buckler well defending the head
  7. Draw the left near the right followed by a pass with right pushing a thrust to the face accomppanied by a riverso to the thigh, into CODA LUNGA STRETTA
  8. Pass with left forwards pushing a thrust to face
  9. Pass with right forwards turning a tramazzone to the head, into PORTA DI FERRO STRETTA buckler well defending the head
  10. Do a montante into GUARDIA ALTA and draw the right foot near the left

Embellish the play

  1. Strike <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandritto
    while passing with the right, after which draw the right foot near the left
  2. Pass with right giving a stoccata riversa to the face
  3. Passing immediately with left towards his right, turn a tramazzone to the face
  4. Pass with right, turning another tramazzone to the face followed by a thrust in GUARDIA DI FACCIA accomppanied by the buckler.
  5. Turn a third tramazzone ending into PORTA DI FERRO STRETTA
  6. Do a montante into GUARDIA ALTAdrawing the right foot near the left

Embellish the play

  1. Perform a strait of the half-sword, that is: pass long with right striking *<span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandrittosotto braccio*drawing the right near the left
  2. Return long with right doing a crosswise falso into GUARDIA DI FACCIA
  3. Passing with left perform a half-turn of the fist accomppanied with a thrust towards the face
  4. Pass with right towards his leftfeinting a <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandritto
    to his left side
  5. Pass backwards with right pushing a riverso to his right temple
  6. Pass backwards with left striking him with a half <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandritto
    into GUARDIA DI FACCIA
  7. Draw right near the left settling into GUARDIA ALTA

Embellish the play

  1. Pass with right backwards behind left cutting <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandrittosotto braccio
  2. Pass with left backwards doing a montante to your left side lifting the sword into GUARDIA ALTA
  3. Do a montante to your right side returning the sword into GUARDIA ALTA and draw the right foot near the left
  4. Strike a <span class="glossaryLink cmtt_Strikes" data-tooltip="
    Mandritto
    Literally "right hand". Refers to strikes that originate from the right (sword-hand) side of the fencer. Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandrittosotto braccio
     passing backwards with right
  5. Execute a half-turn of the body towards your right side, in which the sword exits from under the arm turning once over the head and ending in GUARDIA ALICORNO
  6. Pass backwards long with left thrusting from below and lifting up into GUARDIA ALTA, drawing the right foot near the left

 

Glossary of Guard Positions

All instructions assume a right-handed fencer. Position of buckler can vary, but is by default extended toward the opponent.

Cinghiara Porta di Ferro
Swordhand to the inside, left foot forward. Presumed to be *stretta*, with point in line.
Coda Lunga Alta
Swordhand to the outside, left foot forward. With the point in line.
Coda Lunga Stretta
Swordhand to the outside, right foot forward. With the point in line.
Guardia Alicorno
Swordhand high above the head, with the point sloping forwards and down. Either foot forward.
Guardia Alta
Swordhand high above the head, with point upwards or slightly back. Either foot forward or feet close together.
Guardia di Faccia
Swordhand extended in front of face, with blade level to the ground and hand turned so that fingernails point up. Either foot forward.
Guardia di Testa
Swordhand high and to the outside, with point upwards and forwards so that head is covered from strikes. Either foot forward.
Porta di Ferro Stretta
Swordhand to the inside, right foot forward. With the point in line.
## Glossary of Actions
Crosswise Falso
A false *falso* done horizontally or across the target.
Falso
A false edge rising cut.
Feint
An action designed to provoke the opponent to parry, thus uncovering another target.
Fendente
A downwards strike with the true edge.
Half Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">Mandritto
A *Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">mandritto* struck so that the point does not travel past the center, but remains extended towards the opponent.
Half-Turn Of The Body
A turn of the body (hips and torso) that may or may not involve a step.
Half-Turn Of The Fist
*Mezza volta di pugno*. A turn of the forearm from one side to another (for example from *coda longa* to *porta di ferro*. Likely analogous to *half-turn of the hand*.
Half-Turn Of The Hand
*Mezza volta di mano*. See *half-turn of the fist*.
Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">MandrittoSopra Braccio
A descending, diagonal strike with the true edge, traveling right to left and going above the extended buckler arm. It is likely that the term either refers to or takes its name from the guard *guardia sopra il braccio* where the sword is held over the buckler arm with the point backwards.
Mandritto is a roof term for these cuts, but on its own it refers typically to a downwards diagonal cut from the right with the true edge, a mandritto sgualembrato.">MandrittoSotto Braccio
A descending, diagonal strike with the true edge, traveling right to left and going below the extended buckler arm. It is likely that the term either refers to or takes its name from the guard *guardia sotto il braccio* where the sword is held under the buckler arm with the point backwards.
Montante
A false edge rising cut delivered directly upwards, whereas the *falsi* travel typically on a diagonal path.
Overhand Thrust
A descending thrust delivered from *guardia alicorno*, often referred to as an *imbroccata*.
Punta Riversa
A thrust done with the hand supinated, delivered typically in a slight angle and on the left side in the position of *porta di ferro* or *guardia di faccia*.
Pushed Riverso
A strike travleing from left to right that is delivered in the manner of a push rather than a drawing motion.
Retouch
An action where the buckler is touched with the sword. Though not described in detail I interpret this action so that the buckler is beat with the pommel of the sword rather than the blade.
Riverso
Any strike traveling from left to right.
Stoccata Riversa
See *punta riversa*.
Thrust
An attack with the point of the sword.
Tramazzone
A downwards strike delivered with a wheeling motion of the wrist.
Upwards Riverso
A rising strike with the true edge delivered from left to right. At its fullest, it is an action starting from *guardia sotto il braccio* and ending in *guardia d’alicorno*.