Video Lessons: Rapier Offhand Use, Sidesword Guards & Progression, Longsword Guards, Binds & Pressure

If you have been hungering for more longsword work, this week will definitely satisfy you.  We’ve caught up on our videos for our longsword month on Giocco Stretto with lesson 3 focusing on the pressure between the swords and lesson 4 on dynamically responding to the bind. Red Cords (level 3) in our mastery classes are also moving to longsword fundamentals of longsword guards. Green Cords (level 1) are focusing on the use of their offhand with the rapier, and Blue Cords are again picking up the sidesword and buckler where we are working the guards of the sword in one hand. If you’re into cutting, this is going to be a good month for you.

Longsword Focus

When you’ve crossed swords with your opponent, one of the most important aspects of the crossing is the amount of pressure you feel in it.  This class focuses on reading this pressure and then using the information — the feeling — to respond appropriately and take advantage of your opponent’s position.

Longsword Giocco Stretto 3: Pressures

Sword crossings can happen in a number of ways, whether through a point on-line approach or when two swords meet in an attack and defence. Regardless of how they come together its important to be able to respond to varying levels of pressure instantaneously in order to maintain the initiative. The exercises in this class will help you develop this ability.

Longsword Giocco Stretto 4: Binds

Green Cord (Level 1)

This week as we enter into the topic of rapier and offhand, we’ll be focusing on the fundamental position off the offhand to defend on its own as well as to accompany the defence of the rapier itself. At Academie Duello our approach is to always unify the defence between the sword and the offhand having both guard the same line at the same time, the sword high and offhand low, or vice versa.

Offhand 1: Open PositionsOffhand 2: Closed Positions

Blue Cord (Level 2)

This month we are exploring the various guards of the sidesword. This week we start our journey with Marozzo’s progression — a series of guards shown in his 1535 book which we practice as a cutting and position exercise. Following this progression we are exploring guards where the swords point is down or held behind you.

Sidesword Guards: ProgressionSidesword Guards 1: Larga Guards

Sidesword Guards 2: Coda Longa DistesaSidesword Guards 3: Sotto Braccio

Red Cord (Level 3)

This month we will be working through all of the various poste of the longsword looking at both how to employ their most direct actions and how to best approach and defeat them. This week we begin with Posta di Dona (Woman’s Guard) and Posta Finestra (the Window Guard).

Longsword Guards 1: Posta di DonaLongsword Guards 1-2: Countering Posta di Dona

Longsword Guards 2: Posta FinestraLongsword Guards 2-2: Countering Posta Finestra


devonboorman Devon Boorman is the Co-Founder and Director of Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, which has been active in Vancouver, Canada since 2004. Devon’s expertise centres on the Italian swordplay tradition including the arts of the Renaissance Italian rapier, sidesword, and longsword, as well as knife and unarmed techniques.
Read more from Devon Boorman.