Taking a Turn

Swordplay from the Ground: Turns of the Body

Last week’s post on the Mounted Combat Green Spur Curriculum covered moving forward, back and side to side.  This week we’re adding turns to menu.

 Demonstrate the three turns of the body.

Volta‘ is the Italian word for ‘turn’.  (Dressage riders will recognize it from ‘volte’, which is a small circle). The three types of turn are the volta stabile, or ‘stable turn’ the mezza volta, or ‘half turn’ and the tutta volta or ‘full turn’.


1. Volta Stabile.  Pivot on the balls of your feet, changing the orientation of your body without changing the placement of your feet.  The direction of the hips can change by anywhere from 60 – 120 degrees.  Any turn larger than that will put you off balance.

2. Mezza Volta.  Pass forward or backward, changing the orientation of the hips by up to 90 degrees.  The legs should move straight forward to their new position without swinging out.  Where a simple passata, or passing step, moves in a straight line with the hips forward, a series of mezze volte will take you in a zig zag path, facing left and right as you go.

3. Tutta Volta. This is a diagonal step across the line of the body, followed by a volta stabile, resulting in a turn of 180 degrees. There are four ways to step into the tutta volta:

a. Pass the back foot forward.
b. Pass the front foot back.
c. Step across the body with the front foot.
d. Step across and behind the body with the back foot.

In all turns remember to keep your knees bent, your footfalls soft and your head at the same height.  Turns should feel like a smooth and integral part of your already established stance and movement

Turns by themselves make great exercises.  Practise moving through all three turns smoothly.  When you feel you need to increase the challenge you can add in the abrazare poste (unarmed guards) found in the Abrazare section of Duello TV, or practise moving through your sword guards as you turn.


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