All posts by gregm

We Have Two New Armizare Free Scholars!

The Guild’s newest Free Scholars: Nicole Allen and Jacques Marcotte.

Neither rain, nor sleet, nor snow (lots and lots and lots of snow) could stop this past weekend’s Free Scholar Prize Play!

As discussed elsewhere, the Guild uses a ranking system traceable to the fencing schools of the late 15th and 16th centuries. In the English tradition the grade of free scholar denoted a senior student who had grasped enough of the basics to move on to more advanced training. An analogy can be found in the modern academic system, with a scholar being equivalent to an undergraduate, and a free scholar similar to a graduate student. (Those familiar with modern Asian arts might it similar to a 1st degree black-belt: a recognition of embodying the fundamentals of the art, being able to apply it across the system, and therefore having the tools to take a truly deep dive onto the path to mastery.)

Nicole Allen and Jacques Marcotte are two long-time Guild members. Nicole joined the CSG only a few months after its founding in January 1999, played her Armizare Scholar’s Prize in 2001 and is part of the first group of students to become double scholars (Armizare and Renaissance Swordplay). Jacques joined several years later, and has been an assistant instructor for many years, teaching the Saturday morning Taste of the Knightly Arts class since time immemorial (or 2009). Consequently, they are vibrant, integral parts of the CSG family, and this made their at testing for Free Scholar all the more a cause of celebration.

PREPARATION, or, IT’S MORE THAN JUST FIGHTING

By Guild custom, students must spend at least three years at the Scholar rank before progressing to Free Scholar, although in practice it has taken twice that time or longer. In part, this is because, prior to opening of Forteza Fitness, and with it, the implementation of multiple training days, it was impossible for students to get in enough training time “on the mat”. Additionally, the Scholar curriculum is extensive, comprised of the entirety of Fiore dei Liberi’s dagger curriculum for use out of armour, longsword at wide play, elements of longsword and close play, arming sword and spear. Each of these components has its own written, skills and sparring exams, and students must pass all of them, a number of reading assignments, and complete a scholar project before being allowed to take their comprehensive written and skills exams.

Nicole’s project involves an annotated copy of the Getty Manuscript, designed to show visual interconnectedness of the sword and dagger, interwoven with student’s training notes. Whereas her project involves assisting the student, Jacques turned his attention to the teacher, creating a teaching guide of tips, traps and suggestions for new instructors teaching the introductory longsword course, as a companion to the  curriculum outline. (Both projects are in final revision, after which they will be made available to Guild members.)

THE PRIZE, or, NOW WE FIGHT!

One of the most important steps in the progression from the grade of scholar to master is the concept of prize playing.  Having passed all internal examinations,  the student to submit a challenge for a public prize playing (free fencing exhibition), for the grade being tested for. The Prize is fought in two parts:

  1. Three, four-minute rounds with each of three weapons: longsword, arming sword and spear.
  2. The Ordeal, in which the prizor holds the field against all Guild Scholars who wish to challenge them to three blows with the sword.

At the CSG we have always invited one or more outside challengers to help test the prizors’ skill at arms. This past weekend, we were joined by Mr James Reilly, chief instructor of the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association’s Kenosha branch, and Mr. Christian Cameron of Hoplologia in Toronto, Ontario. Joining CSG Free Scholars Davis Vader and Erin Fitzgerald, together they provided the timed rounds of the Prize.

We are still processing and uploading video, but we have pulled a few sample fights to share right away:

Spear: Nicole vs. Erin

Spear: Jacques vs. Davis

Spear: Nicole vs. James

Sword in One Hand: Jacques and Davis

Longsword: Jacques and James

Longsword: Nicole and Erin

Longsword: Jacques and Christian

SWEARING THE OATH

Swearing the Free Scholar’s Oath after receiving the Gold Garter, the grade’s symbol of rank.

Ceremony and ritual was a large part of medieval and Renaissance life, and although our Guild is a modern one, we seek to connect to the spirit of those who have gone before through both the Prize and the ceremony by which our Scholars, Free Scholars and Provost are invested in their rank. The investiture ceremony involves a lesson on the symbolism of Fiore’s four animals, a charge with new responsibilities and duties, the bestowing of gold garters, and finally, a swearing of the Free Scholar’s Oath, adapted for modern use from those of the old London Company of Maisters.

Much of the modern world has lost the sense of ritual and its purpose: to initiate. At its heart, the Prize is an ordeal: both in preparing for the exams, and then facing your peers (or those whom you wished to be acknowledged as a peer) and your fears in front of friends and loved ones. It’s an ordeal that also brings student and teacher, prizor and challenger, together in a unique bond that is revealed to be both ordeal and celebration; a symbolic reflection of how we travel the road to mastery of both the art and ourselves alone, yet succeed through the presence and support of our community.

Speaking of that community we are all extremely proud of Jacques and Nicole both for the hard work training, testing and fighting, but also for the long years of service and support they have shown their Guild family, marrying the chivalric virtue of prowess with that of largesse. A hearty and heart-felt congratulations to them both!

Announcing a Play of the Prize for the Grades of Provost and Free-Scholar

We are pleased to announce there will be a playing of the prize for the grade of Laureato d’Armizare (Free Scholar of the Art of Arms) and Rettore d’Armizare (Provost), this upcoming Saturday (February 10, 2018), at the Sala d’Arme Forteza, in Chicago.

This will mark a huge occasion for the Chicago Swordplay Guild as this will also mark the creation of both our first Armizare Provost, and the first to be created under the auspices and procedures set out by the International Armizare Society. The candidate, Jesse Kulla, has also been with us since virtually the beginning, and over the years has developed quite a reputation in the local, regional and national HEMA community. (We will be posting a full overview of the process, with video from the various examinations and Prize, in the next week or so.)

In addition, the day marks our third Armizare Free Scholar Prize since the Guild’s inception, the candidates are long-time Guilders. Nicole Allen of Revival Clothing and Historica fame, has been with the Guild since shortly after its founding in 1999, and Jacques Marcotte has been one of our Taster Class instructors for nearly a decade.


Please join us in wishing Jesse, Nicole and Jacques the best of luck in the upcoming ordeal!

MidWinter Armizare 2018 After Action Review

CSG’s Ben Horwitz (Black) and Keith Stratten (Blue) trade blows at last weekend’s MidWinter Armizare Open – Photo courtesy Kevin Thomas

MidWinter Armizare II — This Time with Daggers, our annual contribution to the Midwest Historic Fencing League’s competition circuit is over, and I have to thank everyone involved.

Last year’s event was fun, but a bit chaotic with some snafus. Our principle goals this year were to: 1) streamline the process and 2) Improve judging. I am confident we achieved both of those, although as we all know, improving judging is a perpetual process.

Rationale

There can be only one! CSG’s Robert Salud (Green) delivers a passata sotto to Guildbrother Thayne Alexander in the One-Handed Sword Tournament.

Tournaments are not a big part of what we do at the CSG, far less than many HEMA schools, but I *do* think that developing martial artists need a chance to test themselves against people from outside their school, outside their art. I *don’t* think tournament fighting is any more “real” or reflective of “combat” than any other fencing, in fact some ways less so. (People wear a lot of safety gear and their adrenal reflex is to be more *aggressive*, rather than more *cautious* as you immediately become when faced with sharp weapons.) But it provides a way to learn to manage adrenaline, resist temptation to play the rules, face other styles, and to learn how to use art to defeat “il uomo bestiale” the so-called “untutored fencer” of whom many fencing masters warn.

Put another way, martial artists love to complain about bad sports fighting, and for good reason — combat sports really do often encourage certain gimmicks or actions that are best suited for a ring.

Here’s an example. CSG’s Ben Horwitz fought his first tournament this past weekend, and was able to win his pool fairly easily against some very good combatants. I am SUPER PROUD of him. But although he wins the below fight fairly definitively in score, it wasn’t his  best match martially.

Note the move that Ben pulls off at time-stamp 1:55. He manages to duck under Keith’s defense and take a lowline cut. But Keith’s sword is hovering over his head. Sword’s aren’t disintegration rays: unless the man’s arms or head fall off, there is no guarrantee that ANY blow is immediately disabling. Here, the hit scores, and the fight stops. In a real fight, there’s a very good chance that Keith gets his legs slashed and spends time learning to walk with a limp (if infection doesn’t kill him), but first cuts Ben’s head clean off.)

Different groups take these issues into account in different ways. In developing the MidWinter rules (based on those we have used at various events in the past, such as Viva L’Italia and the Western Martial Arts Workshop) I chose to use the following assumptions:

  1. Real combat is ugly;
  2. You can’t legislate pretty fencing, but you can design rules the courage good tactics;
  3. Good tactics will lead to prettier fencing anyway;
  4. Six hundred years of European fencing masters say the goal is to hit without being hit, so any rule-set should reward never losing a pass, and punish double-hits ruthlessly.
  5. If the rules take more than one sheet of paper to write out, there are too many of them!

The Rules

Combatants will be divided into  pools, fought under the below conditions, with an award to the overall victor.

Tournament One: Single-Handed Sword
Due to the diversity of single-handed sword styles (and scarcity of focused exponents of the same) , this will be a mixed-weapon tournament with the following, permissible weapons:

  • Medieval arming-sword;
  • Messer;
  • Side-sword;
  • Rapier (max blade length 45″);

Note: Sabers, backswords, broadswords, smallswords, etc are not permitted. (We love them, too, but we’re keeping this to fencing styles c. 1600 and earlier.)

Tournament Two: Longsword
Longsword’s have a maximum length of 130 cm, minimum weight of 1450 g.

The Winter King
As a culmination of the event, the victors of the two tournaments shall fight a mixed-weapons bout using the previously denoted scoring conventions, with the victor to be declared the winner of the overall tournament

Nic Cabrera lands a decisive thrust, although the Judges look oddly unimpressed…. – Photo courtesy Kevin Thomas

 CONVENTIONS OF COMBAT
With the Sword

  • Each bout is fought to a total of five landed blows;
  • The entire body is a target;
  • For our purposes a “blow” constitutes any “fight-ending action”:
    • a solid cut with the edge, thrust, disarm or throw;
    • a pommel strike to the center of the face;
    • a thrust to the center-of-mass with the dagger.
  • Incidental blows, light touches, flicks or hits rather than cuts, punches and open-handed strikes that do not end in a throw or lock, etc will not be scored.

With the Dagger
Combatant may carry a dagger on their belt in the longsword tournament, and switch to its use as they see fit.

  • Daggers may only strike with the point.
  • If a dagger hit is scored, combatants may, after the halt, switch back to their sword.

Grappling

Jesse Kulla takes his hapless victim for the “big ride”. Photo courtesy Kevin Thomas
  • Grapples that end in a throw with party dominant will score a point.
  • Grapples lasting more than 5 seconds or deemed to be dangerous will be halted by the judges;
  • Grapples that go to the ground with no one dominant will be halted.

SCORING
Once a fight is concluded, the combatants will report their scores to the list-table. Fights are scored as follows:

  • Overall Victor receives 2 pts;
  • If the Victor was not struck he or she receives 1 pt additional;
  • The person who scored the first blow receives 1 pt;
  • If there were any double hits during the match, both parties lose 1 pt.
  • Therefore, in any match a combatant could score between 4 and -1 points.

These rules are not meant to be “realistic”, simply to prioritize drawing first blood and avoiding being hit and, most especially double-hits. No matter how many double hits, for the sake of simplicity, only 1 pt is lost. However, additional double hits are not refought, so if you rack up too many double-hits, the victory in that match is going to go with who scored the first blow, and your overall score is going to go down!

ADVANCEMENT
There are two ways to advance to the final round of four combatants – by Score or by Accolade.

Score
After the Pool Round ends, total scores for each will be totaled, and the combatant with the highest score from each pool will move to the finals. (If two or person tie, then the person with the highest total of first blood scores will advance. If there is still a tie, the combatant with the most “never hit” scores will advance.)

Accolade
The list will be “balanced” to an even number by adding a combatant chosen by the other combatants. If the list is already balanced, the Advancement by Acclaim will not be needed.  (This wasn’t needed this year)

FINAL ROUND
Once the Finalist are assembled, they shall fight with the prior scoring conventions in a simple single elimination tree. (NB: In the event of a small final list (four or less), the finals may be fought as a pool at the judge’s discretion.

The Results

Photo courtesy Kevin Thomas

The tournament victors were:

Thomas Niebor — MidWinter King and 1 H Sword

Jesse Kulla — Longsword

Video of the final can be seen here:

https://www.facebook.com/msgellar/videos/10156148388732392/

Although there is no formal prize for second or third place at this event (the guy who comes in #2 in a swordfight is usually called “a corpse” not a silver medalist), the top three competitors in the tournaments were all excellent, and the #2’s could easily have been 1st place. So I would like to congratulate:

Longsword
2nd Place – Adam Franti (with some of the cleanest fencing of the day in both events)
3rd Place – Cameron Metcalf (with the second highest average score of the entire tournament)

One-Handed Sword
2nd Place – Scott Scooter Jeffers (with the HIGHEST average score of the tournament)
3rd Place – Robert Salud

After Sam Street of the Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association pitched a shut-out, winning all three events last year, this year’s tournament was dominated by Guild members and swordsmen from the Michigan diaspora, holding seven of the final eight spots between them in 1H sword and six in longsword. (Sam had to go and mess up the clean sweep!) The pool victors were:

One-Handed Sword Final 8

  1. Lars Olesen (Minnesota)
  2. Scott Jeffers (CSG)
  3. Robbie Salud (CSG)
  4. Nic Cabrera (CSG)
  5. Thayne Alexander (CSG)
  6. Zeke Talmage (Tri-Blade Fencing Academy)
  7. Sam Brian (??? — I just realized I know Sam, but not where he is from!)
  8. Thomas Niebor (Michigan)

Longsword Final 8

  1. Jesse Kulla (CSG)
  2. Ben Horowitz (CSG)
  3. Adam Franti (Lansing Longsword Guild)
  4. Cameron Metcalf (LLG)
  5. Thayne Alexander (CSG)
  6. Sam Street (WHFA)
  7. Thomas Niebor (Michigan)
  8. Lars Oleson (Minnesota)

Analysis

The fencing on a whole was like all fencing: some amazingly good, some…er….and a lot of bouts that combined moments of brilliance with moments of adrenal reflexes or choking under pressure. That’s how these things go, so let’s focus on the good!

1. Fencers all had a good spirit of friendship and conviviality combined with good sportsmanship. People routinely declined points or called hits when the judges missed something, or if they just felt their hit was ugly or sloppy. This even happened twice in the longsword *finals.* In a perfect world, a judge would never miss anything, but we live in the real world, and I think the one good thing about any errors was that it gave the combatants to show their own character. The following, IMO, shows this in an exemplary fashion:

CSG’s Jesse Kulla and Adam Franti of Lansing Longsword Guild fought a real nice bout for the longsword final. Although their being tired after 6 hrs of fighting meant that there were several double hits, it wasn’t because of stupid choices, it was because of either slowed reflexes, or failing to close a line sufficiently to prevent a counterattack. The best part, however, is that these two gentlemen showed why, IMO, a combatant should always get to call a blow to his own detriment. Our judges blow an early call that would give Jesse the victory. I was pretty sure it was a double hit, but my judges were all in agreement, so I was reticent to second guess them.  But Jesse and Adam thought it was a double hit too, and Jesse declined the victory. Next pass, similar issue but reversed roles and before I could make the call, Adam declined the point, and we tried it a third time.  Yes, each man gave up his chance to end the fight there and claim victory — those are the character tests competition can give, far more than they test “if you can bring the heat” (whatever the hell that even means in a pretend fight).


(Video courtesy Zeke Talmage)

Here is the fight from a second angle, which also shows what an “adventure” judging can be:

https://www.facebook.com/msgellar/videos/10156148178347392/

2. Although Scott Jeffers and Robert Salud are both CSG members, I think I can say with (minimal) bias that their sidesword bout was one of the most dynamic, prettiest and historically correct of the day. But you be the judge:

(Video Courtesy Zeke Talmage)

3. I always enjoy seeing my friends Adam Franti, Keith Stratten, Josias Arcadia and Zeke Talmage fence. I was super happy to be directing their pools, and in longsword to have almost all of them all in the same pool, with my student Benjamin Horwitz, who did some of his best fencing (after I informed him I had registered him for the tournament, whether he liked it or not). I really enjoyed their pool and the fencing they displayed.

4. Additional kudos to Adam and Keith, who brought proper steel dussacks (Keith’s was barely bigger than a bowie knife) to the 1 H tournament and used them to great affect and with great form, despite knowing they were giving themselves a huge disadvantage against some of the very long, very thin bladed rapiers a few combatants were carrying.

(Video Courtesy Lansing Longsword Guild)

5. Lars Olson was a fantastic in the 1 H sword list, and it was great finding out their is an armizare practitioner, not affiliated with the CSG/Milwaukee in the Midwest.

Of course, as I directed just over a third of the fights, I also missed seeing a bunch of them. I really wanted to see the Sam Street (who won all three events last year), Jesse Kulla rematch, but it was not to be. In fact, I never got to see any of Sam’s fights, and only saw Jesse fight in the finals. Ah well, it’s not about me.

Acknowledgments

Finally, I would like to call out and thank our team:

Kaethe Doherty who wrangled the pools, created the trees and basically did all of the ugly back-end stuff before the event, and then made changes on the fly at the speed of light as we added and dropped people. Their work made the day run far more smoothly than last year. You are a rock-star.

James Reilly, John O’Meara and Rob Rotherfoord directed, and James is functionally my chief lieutenant for the day of the event.

Alex Moe and Joseph Doherty were score-keepers, and were fantastic at it, Alex not least because we drafted him on Saturday morning.

Libby Beyreis, Robine Asamar, Heather Hilchey, Nic James Cabrera, Victor Allen Bayona, Rebecca Smith Cruz, Summer Sparacin, Alexander Shekleton, Andrew Morris, Robert Salud, Ben Horwitz and Jesse Kulla who all judged, a couple of them after being pressed into service.

Alisha Workman, Jess Johnson and Dante Guinazzo who were the event “gophers”. That might not sound like an illustrious job, but GOD it helped having them!

Thanks to Nicole Allen who donated one of her products from SwordGeek Boutique (which launches as an Indiegogo Thursday, but you can get a sneak peak now) as a tournament prize.

Finally, every combatant I didn’t mention — everyone who attends and does so with a good spirit and gives their utmost makes the event.

We’ll do some after action review, continue spending time each CSG FightNight training judges, and hopefully be better in 2019!

L’Arte delle Armi: A Bolognese University of Arms for the Complete Renaissance Swordsman

(Or,   A Night at the Opera Nova)

September 21 – 23, 2018

The Chicago Swordplay Guild and the DeKoven Foundation present an event celebrating one of the great fencing traditions of Renaissance Italy!

Located at the picturesque DeKoven Center, home to the Western Martial Arts Workshop, the conference is a retreat with attendance limited to the 70 students that DeKoven can host. Your registration fee  includes ALL classes, meals and lodging onsite at the beautiful DeKoeven campus.

This is a unique event and a unique opportunity to train in a private environment with some of the finest modern teachers of the Art of Defense. Act now, because attendance is limited to the 70 folks we can house on site, paces will go fast. We look forward to crossing swords with you!

Instructors:

We are pleased to bring an international cast of renowned instructors including:

  • Devon Boorman, Academie Duello (Canada)
  • Roberto Gotti, Guardia di Croce (Italy)
  • Ken Harding, St. Louis School of Arms
  • Greg Mele, Chicago Swordplay Guild (USA)
  • Robert Rutherfoord, Chicago Swordplay Guild (USA)
  • Christian Cameron, Hoplologia (Canada)

Classes will include spada solo (sword alone), spada e brocchiero (sword & buckler), spada e rotella (sword & shield), spada a due mani (two-handed sword), prese contra daga (dagger defenses), polearms and more!

Key-Note Address:

Italian Arms & Armour of il Cinquacento (XVIth Century), by Dr. Jonathon Tavares of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Contests-at-Arms

A Contest-of-Arms with Sword, Rapier and their trusted companions: the Buckler and Dagger, derived in part from the competition outline by Antonio Manciolino (1531).

More details forthcoming!

Accommodations:

(Details for getting to Racine can be found on the WMAW website)

Location:
The DeKoven Center
600 21st Street
Racine, WI 53403

On campus; double and triple rooms. You will be able to request the roommate of your choice when you register, and we will make every effort to accommodate you. Lodging is from Thurs to Sat.

Nine hot meals.

Costs:

All-Inclusive price: $ 470.00

No cancellation refunds after August 1st, 2018

Registration Form:

Download this fillable PDF form, save it, and then e-mail it to the registrar at wmaw.registrar@gmail.com

Reg form Arte delle Armi

Contact Info:

MidWinter Armizare II — This Time with Daggers!

Let it Be Known to All that Profess the Study of Arms, that the Chicago Swordplay Guild does Challenge All Men and Women of Good Character and Keep Blade to Inaugurate the New Year in a Competition of Arms

WHAT
In conjunction with the Midwest Historical Fencing League and Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts the Midwinter Armizare Open is a public display of skill with one and two-handed swords in a relatively rules-light format meant to emphasize the tactical priorities of fighting with sharp weapons in lethal combat.

WHERE & WHEN
Date : Saturday, 27 Jan 2018
Location: Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts, 4437 N. Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Schedule:
10:30 – Sign In
11:00 – Introduction: Rules and Demo
11:30 – Sword in One Hand
1:00 – Break
1:30 – Longsword
5:00 – Awards
5:30 – After Event Party

HOW: Tournament Rules and Equipment Requirements can be found at Midwinter Armizare Open 2018

JOINING: Registration is $50. Register online through the Forteza website.

On Playing the Prize

This past weekend, the Guild held a scholar’s prize in both longsword and rapier. We are pleased to admit Andrew White, Vlad Hintaut and Robert Salud as new Scholars. You can see their bouts here.

(Video courtesy of Evan Laney)

A right of passage in the Guild, we are often asked what a Prize is and how it works. Free Scholar, Jesse Kulla provides a great, insider’s look at how the CSG uses Prize-Playing.

http://redwolfswordsmanship.blogspot.com/2016/10/playing-prize-leveling-up-at-chicago.html

 

 

Midwinter Armizare Open — A Tournament of Arms!

Let it Be Known to All that Profess the Study of Arms, that the Chicago Swordplay Guild does Challenge All Men and Women of Good Character and Keep Blade to Inaugurate the New Year in a Competition of Arms

WHAT
In conjunction with the Midwest Historical Fencing League and Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts the Midwinter Armizare Open is a public display of skill with one and two-handed swords in a relatively rules-light format meant to emphasize the tactical priorities of fighting with sharp weapons in lethal combat.

WHERE & WHEN
Date : Saturday, 21 Jan 2017
Location: Forteza Fitness & Martial Arts, 4437 N. Ravenswood Ave, Chicago, IL 60640
Schedule:
11:30 – Sign In
12:00 – Introduction: Rules and Demo
12:30 – Sword in One Hand
1:45 – Break
2:00 – Longsword
5:30 – Awards
6:30 – After Event Party

HOW: Tournament Rules and Equipment Requirements can be found midwinter-steel.

JOINING: Registration is $50. Register online through the Forteza website.

Using Viggiani’s Perfect Schermo as a Bolongese Fencing Primer

[Ed: This article is an addendum, particularly in video, of an earlier post: The Perfect and Imperfect Schermi of Angelo Viggiani . Readers familiar with that article might want to jump right to the below video, aka, the “good stuff”. Of particular interest, note the footwork. Renaissance fencing footwork, particularly prior to the lunge, is conservative in its steps, with the body weight carried over the balls of the feet. This does not mean the fencers are walking around on their toes, but it does mean that the foot moves in a flatter fashion, rather than striking out onto the point of the heel, as is seen in modern fencing, and a fair bit of HEMA reconstruction. ]

Angelo Viggian’s provides and short and succinct analysis of fencing in Book Three of his Lo Schermo of 1575 (full disclosure, Book Three is short and succinct, the philosophical discussions of Book One and Two are long, rambling and frankly, rather turgid), reducing the older, Bolognese system of guards to the seven principle  guards necessary to use a cut-and-thrust sword alone, introducing a new, “rational” naming system for the guards, and expounding on a “perfect” system of a single, universal parry and response that can be taught in 30 minutes of instruction.

Written as a dialogue between the fencing master, Rodomonte, and his student, il Conte, Viggiani recommends that the swordsman provoke an attack while he is in the Guardia Defensiva Stretta  (Bolognese Porta di Ferro e Stretta) and parry with a true edge, tondo riverso, finishing in Guardia Alta Offensive Perfetta (Bolognese Guardia d’Alicorno), from where he immediately launches an imbroccata with a deep acrescimento of the front foot, finishing back in the original starting guard:

RODOMONTE: It behooves you (to deliver your enemy some desired blow) that (being in that guardia stretta, difensiva with your right foot forward) you turn the point of your sword toward your left side, diagonally, so that the point faces that same side, and the pommel is on your right, as if you wanted to lay hand to the sword, and from here uniting  all the strength of your body together, do the same rovescio tondo with those same turns of the hand and the feet of which I have told you, and in the same manner; but pay heed that in this delivering of the rovescio, the swords meet each other true edge to true edge,but that the forte of your sword will have met the debole of mine, whereby mine could be easily broken by virtue of the disadvantage of such a meeting, and also because of the
fall of the cut; and you will also be more secure, being shielded by the forte of your sword.
CONTE: How should I avenge myself of the insult?
RODOMONTE: While my mandritto is beat aside by your rovescio tondo, it will go by your right side; lift up your sword hand somewhat, and turn the true edge toward the sky, and make  the point of the sword drop somewhat, and move yourself toward me with your right foot forward with a big step, and then immediately drop your left arm, and make your right shoulder throw your right arm forward, declining toward me from high to low, with that punta sopramano offensiva, accompanying it in all of the said manners; and if I do  not give you a response with some blow, do not halt there, but lift your sword, and going with it a span forward of your right knee, you will fix yourself in guardia stretta offensiva, perfetta; this is a perfect offense, which you must do following the insult  received from me, and following your defense. But if I turned to some other blow in order to offend you, then you, with the same rovescio tondo, will always be able to beat back my sword toward your right side, and return to offend me in the chest with the same punta sopramano, offensiva, perfetta; and thus after you defend yourself, you will always be able to offend me again in the chest with the punta sopramano perfetta; therefore it is the most perfect and secure blow that can be found, and to express it succinctly, this is called “Great blow”, because it is necessary to make a conjoining and a union of all the strength of the body, of the wits, of the senses, and of the art; and accompanying the  said blow, reveals one to be endowed with knowledge, with heart, and with temperance.
Watch, I pray you, how I do it.
CONTE: I am watching, and with great happiness.

(Book Three, 118 – 119)

Put into practice, this is what we get:

To be clear, while he is far more detailed in his discussion of the body mechanics and tactical theory behind his perfect defense, the idea of a “universal parry” was not new to Viggiani — it appears as early as Fiore dei Liberi in 1409, was the basis for Antonio Manciolino’s sword alone lessons in 1531, and was espoused by his contemporary, Giovanni Dall”Aggochie. However, what is interesting,about this “Perfect Fencing” is that, unlike those other masters, Viggiani also intended this simple flow between two guards to be used for offense as well:

I would like you to step, vaulting at him diagonally, and wearying him continuously, now with a mezo mandritto, and now with a mezo rovescio, and often with a variety of feints, taking heed nonetheless always to keep your body away from the point of his sword, because he could easily give you the time and the occasion to seize the advantage of placing yourself in guard.

(Book III, 46)

From your perspective, then, when you are stepping, approaching the enemy, and go closing the step, then you have much advantage; for as much closer as you are with your feet, you will have that much more force in your blows, and in your self defense, and otherwise accordingly will you be able to close with your enemy in less time.

53:  All the answer to this question is reduced to you being in advantage, and the enemy in disadvantage, because if you go in tempo, such that you are in disadvantage of  the sword, and your enemy is in advantage of guard, your going would undoubtedly be worse; but if it were the contrary, it would certainly be better.

(Book III, 52 and 53)

Once we put the mechanical advice together with the above tactical device, the Offensive “Schermo” looks like this.

Taken together, the reader is given a short set of basic set actions that can be used offensively or defensively. Combined with the master’s rather detailed description of the underlying body-mechanics encoded in moving from guard to guard and his thorough lessons on tempo and initiative (arguably the best of any fencing master prior to the 17th century) a student has a perfect primer in Bolognese fencing, one that can then serve as a launching point towards using the variant “universal defenses” found in the works of Antonio Manciolino and Giovanni Dall’Aggochie.

Further Research:

Readers interested in a further exploration of Viggiani’s “Perfect Schermo” and its context may also be interested in:

Lo Schermo, translated by Jherek Swanger

Viggiani-Oversize-Plates, courtesy of Steven Reich

The Perfect and Imperfect Schermi of Angelo Viggiani – Rob Rotherfoord

Using Angelo Viggiani’s Three Advantages to Understand Initiative in 16th-century Italian Swordplay – Rob Rotherfoord

Understanding Viggiani’s Lo Shcermo – Gregory Mele

The Truly Universal Parry – Gregory Mele

The Spada Solo of Antonio Manciolino – Gregory Mele and Rob Rotherfoord

The Complete Renaissance Swordsman – Manciolino’s Opera Nova  in a modern, English translation by Tom Leoni

Delle’Arte di Scrimia Libri Tre by Giovanni Dell’Aggochie – translation by Jherek Swanger