The Practical Saviolo - Glossary of Terms

By Stephen Hand

The following glossary of technical terms include those used by Saviolo and some other contemporary terms considered useful in describing Saviolo’s actions. In many cases more detailed descriptions are to be found in the body of the text. In all cases the meaning of the term is that used by Saviolo. In some cases this is at variance with other 16th and 17th century rapier fencing manuals.

Cavatione A circular disengage under the opponent’s blade.
Stoccata A rising or straight attack under the opponent’s rapier.
Imbroccata A downward thrust over the opponent’s rapier. In preparation for an Imbroccata the arm is held vertically with the palm to the right and the rapier angled down at the opponent’s face.
Foyne An English term used by Saviolo as synonymous with Imbroccata.
Punta Riversa An angulated attack to the opponents right, normally delivered from a position similar to modern Quarte.
Mandritta a forehand cut, i.e. from right to left (assuming a right-handed fencer).
Riverso A backhand cut, i.e. from left to right.
Fendente A vertical cut straight down.
Squalambrato A cut angled downward at 45 degrees.
Tondo A horizontal cut.
Montante a rising cut with the true edge, either angled or straight up (usage differs slightly from manual to manual)
Stramazone a slicing cut with the tip of the rapier
Low Ward Saviolo uses two variants of the Low ward, neither of which he names. The first one described I have christened the Extended Low Ward. The fencers’ hold the sword arm almost straight angled forwards at around 45 degrees, palm to the left with their points directed at their opponent’s face. In the second variant of the Low Ward the arm is almost straight, hand by the right leg with the point directed at the opponent’s face.
High Ward The sword arm is held vertically upward with the palm to the right and the rapier point directed down at the opponent’s face. The High Ward is not used by Saviolo on any occasion as an initial ward.
Open Ward The sword arm is held vertically upward with the palm to the left and the rapier either held vertically upwards or angled slightly back. The Open ward is not used by Saviolo on any occasion as an initial ward.
Punta Riversa Ward The sword arm is held across the body with the palm upwards
Incartata A step forward and to the right with the left foot so that the heel ends up pointing at the target.
Half-incartata A step to the right with the left foot to remove the body from the line of attack. It can also refer to a step forward and to the right with the left foot, made immediately after a fencer has lunged. In this way the fencer can recover forwards while simultaneously voiding his body away from the expected counterthrust.
Prima Another name for the High Ward. Prima also refers to the hand position adopted in the High Ward (knuckles up, palm to the right) and it is in that sense that the word will be used in this series of articles.
Seconda Another name for the Broad Ward as used by many masters but not mentioned by Saviolo. Seconda also refers to the hand position adopted in the Broad Ward (knuckles to the right, palm down) and it is in that sense that the word will be used in this series of articles.
Terza Another name for the Low Ward. Terza also refers to the hand position adopted in the Low Ward (knuckles down, palm to the left) and it is in that sense that the word will be used in this series of articles.
Quarta Another name for the Punta Riversa Ward. Quarta also refers to the hand position adopted in the Punta Riversa Ward (knuckles to the left, palm up) and it is in that sense that the word will be used in this series of articles.
Single Time A defence made simultaneously with a counterattack.
Double Time A defence followed by a counterattack.

 

 

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