Swordplay from the Ground: Crossing the Sword in Front and Behind
For the Green Spur there are only two ways you need to worry about encountering your opponent’s sword: from in front, and from behind.
Crossing in Front
This is most direct and natural way of preventing your opponent from striking you. As she delivers her cut, you move your sword to block, or parry it. For an effective parry the forte of your sword (‘strong’ half of the blade from the middle down to your hilt) should encounter the debole of hers (‘weak’ half of the blade, from mid-point to tip).
Meeting the sword from behind requires a bit more nerve and timing. The aim is to redirect your opponent’s sword away from you, altering its path by striking it from behind as it travels through its arc. Because you are using your opponent’s momentum rather than stopping it, you don’t need the forte of your sword. Debole-on-debole will keep you safer by allowing you to be farther away from your opponent, and will in fact deflect the sword better.
You will not have to demonstrate these crossings against all eight cuts. The abilty to meet in front and behind the sword from squalembratti (cuts to the shoulder) and an understanding of the difference is sufficient.
There is a ‘sweet spot’ in the middle of your blade (mezza-spada) which will produce the most rebound during parries and, if you’re using a steel sword, the clearest ring. While it’s nice to hear and feel, your goal at this level is not to hit the sweet spot every time, but to make sure your parries and deflections are achieved with the appropriate part of the sword.
next week: the three turnings of the sword