We are six masters who know combat well, and every one of us knows how to do that art well. And hand held weapons we care very little about. Of cuts and thrusts we defend ourselves against all who come against us. I am Posta Breve la Serpentina (Short Serpent Guard) and I put myself as better than the others. Those I give a thrust to will be well decorated by my mark.
Holding the sword in this manner practically transforms it into a very heavy dagger, or a very short spear. It is a slightly lighter version of its counterpart with the pollaxe. This posta is primarily for delivering thrusts down the centreline, similar to the players attacking the Eighth and Ninth Masters of dagger. It can also sweep defensively across the body, strike with the pommel or use the point to hook around the neck for a throw. For these techniques to be effective, this Posta must be used at very close range.
This posta cannot effectively be made on the left side of the body. Making a pass from here will leave you in Posta Vera Crose.
The Posta de Vera Croce (Guard of the True Cross) is the counter I want to do to you. Your thrust cannot get through to me. I will cover you in the pass that I do, and with a thrust I will injure you without fail. You and the other guards do not do much to me. I know so well the art of combat that I cannot fail the crossing, for in passing and in crossing and in wounding, this is the art that does not fail.
This is a rear weighted stance with the point of the sword facing away from the opponent. The sword handle is held low, while the point is high. The hand controlling the point is held with the palm up.
Posta Vera Croce is a sinistral stance and can only effectively be recreated on the right side of the body if you are left handed. A mezza volta will leave you in Posta Breve la Serpentina, which, although it shares similarities, has its own particular strengths.
Posta Vera Crose makes use of a common theme throughout armizare in that it can sweep across the body and then immediately counter. By half swording with this grip, the sword in many ways acts as a short spear, and indeed, both the Spear and Pollaxe sections contain a Posta Vera Crose. In all examples of this posta, an effective thrust with the point must be preceded by a pass and cover.
By heavily bracing the sword, this posta can very strongly beat aside attacks, and then deliver a powerful thrust through the opening it has created. The mechanics of half swording mean that it cuts very poorly, and has a fairly short striking range.
This posta can go on the offensive by using a pass to open a hole in the opponents defence and then driving the point through it. Alternatively, you can use the pommel to strike directly to the face (Armour – 8th scholar) or use it to hook around the opponents neck and throw them backwards (Grappling – 7th scholar/ Armour – 9th scholar).
I am Serpentino lo Soprano (High Serpent) and well armoured. I give great underhand thrusts that rise up and return low. A strong thrust I will throw at you with a pass. This is my art that I know well to do. Of cuts I do not care so much in this art. For the most part, I give great thrusts.
Serpentino lo Soprano threatens the opponent with the point. Should the opportunity arise, you can always lunge straight forward from here. The foreshortening will help deliver a short jab into your opponents face if you are close enough. The reach will be restricted.
It is also possible to step through with the right foot and strike or hook with the pommel.
Primarily though, as clearly stated, this posta delivers great thrusts. Adjust your right foot to give you the appropriate distance and angle to your target. Pass the front foot offline to open your hips up. Swing your arms down in an arc. When your right elbow passes your hip, lock it to the hip, and use the hip rotation to drive the attack forward. This will deliver your point anywhere you choose down the midline with a tremendous amount of momentum.
It is, of course, a highly telegraphed attack. You will typically best utilise this as a finishing technique when you have caught your opponent off balance or from an unexpected angle. As Fiore points out, you will not be able to deliver effective cuts from this posta.
Porta di Ferro Mezana (Middle Iron Gate Guard) I am called, because in armour and without I make strong thrusts, and I pass off the line with my left foot and put a thrust in your face. Or, with the point and edge between your arms, I enter in such a way that I put you in the middle bind as previously drawn and described.
Outside of its appearance here, Posta Porta di Ferro Mezana is also used in easily transferable explanations in the Sword in two hands and Pollaxe sections. In all cases the thrust is emphasised.
In the Sword in two hands description, Fiore tells us that this posta works best with a long sword. This is a reference to the explanations from the One is like the other section. He tells us that any posta can be countered by adopting the same posta in opposition, but where the point is on the centreline, as it is here, the longer sword will have the advantage due to its extra reach.
From a relaxed stance, keep the elbows relaxed but tightly bound to the hips. Drop the blade straight down the centreline, with the point hovering just above the ground.
An invitingly open stance, from here you can flick your sword point up, allowing a recklessly advancing opponent to run onto it. Alternatively, you can go on the offensive, stepping through with the left foot as you thrust, covering a lot of distance and attacking an opponent who would have felt themselves to be out of range.
Use a roverso sottano cut to beat your opponents weapon up and to the right. You can then return along the same line with a cut to the head. The Pollaxe section, with more of a view towards dealing with an armoured opponent recommends having made the beat, you grab the blade in the middle with your left hand and stab into the face.
Another interesting option is provided here with the suggestion that you can thrust in the gap between someones arm and body. This uses your sword something like an oversized guiding rod to position you for a bind. This surprising choice would be more likely used against an armoured opponent or in a friendly bout, where you would be either less able or willing to injure your opponent with cuts and thrusts.
Posta Sagittaria (Archers Guard) is the name I am called by. I give great thrusts while passing off the line. And if I come against the blow or edge, I make a good cover and immediately strike with my counter. This is my art in which I do not vary.
Like the majority of the sword in armour posta, you are holding your weapon with a half sword grip. Hold your left hand against your chest and your right extended behind you. This loads your sword for a ‘great thrust.’ The mechanics of the grip favour a narrow stance. You are edge on to your opponent. This is a long range stance taken at wide play.
Step your front foot offline to open up your hips. Target the point with your left hand and then release it as the right hand delivers a single handed thrust. This thrust will cover a great distance. Even more so if you step through with your right foot while making it. The name ‘Archers guard’ gives an indication of this positions potential to strike from well out of range. In the moment of pain and confusion your opponent will experience by such an unexpected delivery, you can safely close to narrow play to complete your attack.
I am Posta di Croce Bastarda (Bastard Cross Guard) related to Posta di Vera Croce. What it can do, I want to do. I make a good cover, and thrusts and cuts. Habitually, I always dodge the blows by stepping off the line. And my blows are my greatest asset.
As the master clearly points out, Posta di Croce Bastarda and Posta di Vera Croce are variants of each other. Although shown here as a foward weighted stance, it is equally effective when rear weighted.
The main difference between these two guards is the placement of the left hand. Posta Croce Bastarda holds the hand palm down which naturally rests at the left hip, lowering the point of the sword.
By passing off line with the front foot and then sweeping the blade across the body as you step through with the back foot, this posta makes a very strong cover. Having made the cover, you can move on to any of the plays in armour. Fiore uses Posta Croce Bastarda to demonstrate the master play of sword in armour.