I am the sword
I am the sword, deadly against every weapon. Neither spear nor pollaxe nor dagger is worthy against me. Long or short I can do, and I can hold and come to the narrow play. And I come to sword disarms and to grappling. My art is breaks and binds. I know well how to cover and to always wound those I want to finish. Any who come against me will languish. I am royal and I maintain justice, advance the good, and destroy evil. To those who learn my crossings, I will grant fame in armed combat.
The sword is the all round weapon capable of performing at both wide and narrow play, as well as in grappling. It can match the range of any other weapon from dagger to spear.
Furthermore, the sword carries a weight of mythology about it that other weapons lack. History abounds with legendary swords, while there is a notable lack of other weapons being afforded such status. The sword is not only effective, but memorably so.
Lines of attack
We are the fendente (Downward blows). And in the art we cut skillfully from the teeth down to the knees. And all of the lower guards, we can go from one to the other without trouble. And we break the guards with intelligence, and with our blows we make our mark in blood. We fendente are not slow to wound, and we return to guard again and again.
This very graphic description of the fendente refers to the great power these cuts can deliver. Small wonder that their path is marked by the blood of their enemies. The speed and strength of fendente also makes them well suited for sweeping aside enemy weapons. When making the fendente, rather than allowing the cut to continue until it runs out of momentum, keep it under control and stop it at a given posta. You should be able to stop at any of the lower guards.
We are the colpi sottani (Under strikes), and we go from the knees to the middle of the forehead in the same path that are made by the downward cuts. And the way that we enter is the path we return on, unless we remain in Posta Longa (Long Guard).
As noted, sottani run on the same line as fendente, but going in the opposite direction. They can beat aside enemy weapons, as well as deliver strikes under the arms and rising up into the head. They typically return to the guard they came from.
We are the colpi mezani (Middle blows), so called because we go through the middle of the downward blows and the under blows. And we strike with the true edge from the right side, and from the left side with the false edge. And our path is between the knee and the head.
The mezani cut horizontally striking usually at the neck or into the lower torso. Interestingly, when striking from the left, Fiore advocates leading with the back of the blade.
We are the thrusts, both cruel and deadly. And our path is in the middle of the body between the groin and the forehead. And we thrusts can be made in five ways, which are two high, one on one side and the other from the other side. And two from underneath, similarly one from one side and the other from the other side. And one in the middle that can be made from Posta Mezza Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Gate), Posta Longa (Long guard), or Posta Breve (Short guard).
The serious nature of penetrating wounds make thrusts more dangerous than the dramatic looking cuts. When using a sword, thrusts can be delivered from above, similar to the fendente and roverso strikes of the dagger. They can also be delivered up into the armpit, a notoriously difficult place to protect with armour. Throughout the text, Fiors goes to lengths to explain that thrusts made along the centreline are delivered with the hands held lower than the point.