Fiore intermediate syllabus
Intermediate level students are expected to have assimilated enough of the system that they can find the material they are most interested in from the treatise. Intermediate training is about acquiring a firm grasp of the source, and understanding the process of developing working skills from them. To complete intermediate level training, and enter the advanced curriculum, the student should know the following.
This has several components, which are:
- Competitive drilling, where in a set drill, the players try to make their action work. If the drill has an attack and a parry, the attacker tries to beat the parry with speed or power, the defender has to deal with it or get hit.
- Degrees of Freedom, where choices are added at various stages ina set drill. A simple degree of freedom would perhaps allow the attacker to strike differently- say either mandritto fendente or a thrust. The defender has to deal with the unscripted changes.
- Pressure drilling, in which sufficient speed, power, fatigue and risk are employed to challenge the player to act well under pressure. The three man drill is a good example: defender in the middle, attackers take turns with no let-up or pause to attack the defender, who has to deal with it, turning to face each new attack as it comes.
- Freeplay, with limited degrees of freedom, e.g.: taking turns to attack.
- Memory drills: eg:
This drill works best with three fencers, an attacker, a defender and an observer. Switch roles after each phrase, to develop your ability to remember phrases from the inside and the outside.
• designate an attacker and a defender. • allow free choice of attack and defence, but no continuations (attacker can’t counter). • Attacker attacks as he likes, defender tries to defend. Notice who gets hit. • First one, then the other, describes in clear fencing language, in detail exactly what occurred. • Allow progressively more steps until fencers can easily recall at least 6 actions in a row.
- The Freeplay Cycle:
Set drill, to establish a specific action or principle- Degree of Freedom, to recognise the context for that action or principle- Competitive drilling, to establish the action under pressure- freeplay, to test the action or principle in a freer context. Freeplay should highlight an error, for which we have a corrective set drill, and so the cycle repeats. Select the drill, and repeat.
- Counter-remedies to the five things from 9 masters.
- Types of counter-remedy: avoiding the cover, intercepting the cover, trapping the cover, countering a specific lock, feinting.
Students should have a specific play in mind as an example of each type of counteremedy: e.g. 4th play first master is a specific counter to the ligadura mezana.
- Dagger defences against the sword, as set drills.
- The 13 crossings drill, which is the following plays of the sword, in order, from a static, specific crossing:
First master zogho largo: first and second plays
Second master zogho largo: second, third, fifth, seventh, eighth, ninth, eleventh, plays
Master of zogho stretto: second, third, eighth, twelfth plays.
This looks like:
1. Crossed at tips, line closed, strike other side
2. Crossed at tips, line open, strike same side
3. Crossed at middle, no threat, step offline and strike over arm
4. Crossed at middle, sword close, grab it and strike
5. Colpo di villano
6. Slip v. strike to leg
7. Crossed at tuta spada, points high: kick to nuts
8. Exchange of thrust
9. Break the thrust
10. Crossed in stretto, open line, grab hilt.
11. Crossed in stretto, closed line, pommel strike on other side
12. Crossed in stretto, go up the middle, wrap.
13. Crossed in stretto, opponent has parried so pressure to the side, grab blade.
These plays should be memorised, as part of the crossings drill, and as set drills (attacker, defender etc.) with their place in the treatise and their basic physical set-up.
In addition, the student should hold in memory the following set plays:
Master of the sword in one hand: first, second and eighth plays.
Second master of the zogho largo, 17th and 18th plays (punta falsa and its counter)
Master of the zogho stretto: eleventh play (cover from roverso side, grab pommel), 17th, 18th, 19th and 20th plays (as in the 17-20 drill from the basic syllabus)
Defence of the dagger against the sword, cut and thrust.
- All 70 plays of the longsword as they appear in the Getty MS:
Sword in one hand: Master + 11 plays Sword in two hands, zogho largo: 20 plays Sword in two hands, zogho stretto: 23 plays (16 plays sword in armour)
These need not be memorised, but with the book open the student should have no difficulty in accurately recreating both the scholar’s and player’s actions in each play, and where ambiguity exists, have at least two possible ways to enter the play.
The following may be trained for academic purposes without armour, but it must be understood that this part of the system can only be properly performed in harness.
Sword in armour, 16 plays
Six guards of the sword in armour: Breve la serpentina, vera croce, serpentina soprana, porta di ferro la mezana, sagitaria, croce bastarda.
The Six guards: tutta porta di ferro, mezana porta di ferro, fenestra destra, dente di zenghiaro, vera croce, fenestra la sinestra.
Cover from each side.
Counter remedy against each side.
The 6 guards: Posta breve la serpentina, posta di vera croce, posta di donna, porta di ferro la mezana, posta di coda longa, posta di fenestra (forward weighted, left side).
The 8 plays of the normal axe (no poison dust, no ropes).
Axe handling drill.