Like the Mastery program, we have five ranks within the Cavaliere program, denoted by Spurs: Green, Blue, Red, Silver and Gold. To acquire each rank you need to be a triple threat, demonstrating your skill in Horsemanship, Riding and Mounted Combat.
To advance to the Green Spur you will need to be assessed in three areas: Swordplay Skills from the Ground, Swordplay Knowledge, and Mounted Combat Knowledge.
Swordplay Skills from the Ground
Before we let you get on our horses and swing swords around we want to make sure you can use them competently from the ground. Historically, a mounted knight also needed to know how to fight from the ground since being unhorsed in battle was extremely common. For these reasons much of the Mounted Combat Workshop time is spent working on swordplay on foot. To sign off this section you will need to demonstrate:
· Proper stance and posture
· Methods of movement: advance, retreat, sideways step, passing step, triangle step, pivot step
· The three turns of the body: volta stabile, mezza volta, tutta volta
· The eight cuts of the sword true and false
· Cutting from the wrist, elbow, and shoulder
· The three thrusts of the sword
· Proper cutting mechanics and timing
· Crossing the sword in front and behind
· The three turnings of the sword: volta stabile, mezza volta, tutta volta
For this section you will need to show a basic knowledge of weapon terminology and function, beyond which end to point at the enemy. We will ask you to describe:
· The anatomy of the cut and thrust sword
· Two different types of cavalry sword
· Three alternate types of mounted weapons
Mounted Swordplay Knowledge
This section is a bit more theoretical, and requires a basic understanding of the anatomy and gaits of the horse, the physics of delivering blows, and mechanics of a good seat. You will need to describe:
· The mechanics and timing of throwing a sword blow from horseback
· Which sword blows can and should be thrown from horseback to a mounted rider and a fighter on the ground
· The mechanics required to keep your seat when striking from horseback.
Next week I’ll begin to delve into the specifics of each requirement, starting with stance and posture.