Fiore dei Liberi: Flos Duellatorum

Sword Techniques in Armour

(60) Couerta de lo magistro ese questa punta (Master's cover to a thrust)

"Per questa couerta crederia çaschun guastar,
Segondo che uoy uederiti far li scholar."
"De la couerta de lo magistro ese questa punta,
E li altri zoghi dredo che asay ben monta."
"I believe for this matter this cover will lay waste,
Because in a second, you will learn what makes a scholler."
"Along with the cover of the master is this thrust,
And for someone else's play then a good rising strike."

Interpretation/Notes: The interpretation of the left pair of verses contains text which were impossible to translation, such as çaschun and therefore, the translation confidence is somewhat low for the first line. The second term that proved difficult was uederiti with no known roots found to "reverse engineer" this particular word. However, the verse does appear to instruct the student on the value of such a guard position, possibly beginning with the guard of the true cross and parrying the inbound strike by cross blades with the left hand on the blade with right on the grip. A very powerful parry which will nullify any strike fendente. The crossing-parry is simply a pre-amble to the next phase of the counter which is illustrated in the illustration on the right. As Liberi says in the previous verse, the student will learn what it takes to be a scholler by converting the cross-parry into a thrust as illustrated on the right should the attacker attempt to counter the crossing-parry with another play. Click on the image on the right to view a larger image of the plate.

Practical Application: The defender in order to deploy the crossing-parry would begin with the posta di vera croce or guard of the true cross, despite the opponent grip's clearly indicating that a strike is inevitable. The shortened-sword grip of the defender permits extremely quick movement to parry the inbound strike concurrently while taking a passing step forward with the left foot. This closes the distance between the combatants and the resulting sword position adequately provides the necessary cover. Continuing with this maneuvre, by rotating the shortened-sword so that the point is now oriented towards the opponent as illustrated in the illustration on the right, is concurrently deployed by the defender forcing down the attacker's sword as his sword is "wrapped" onto the attacker's blade. This ensures that a counter is less likely as the original attacker must contend with both his weapon being forced down and the inevitable thrust to the throat or face. A very popular maneuvre in our own engagements.

Reference Hyper-links
Reference Page
Hans Talhoffer 1467 From the high guard drop forward into the ready point

Translation and interpretation by David Cvet. For queries on Liberi's 1410 treatise (Pisani-Dossi version), contact or
Copyright © 2001 Academy of European Medieval Martial Arts (AEMMA)
Released: December 2, 1999
Last modified: July 20, 2002