|© 1994, 2000 Richard J. Orli - Credits
||Di Grasse - His true Art
The First Part - The Basics
See BASICS for video clips of footwork.
In distance (within measure) means that you can hit with one movement, lunge or pass; about 10 feet or so.
Increase of Pace or Lunge - forceful advance, relying on extension of the rear leg to drive the body forward. In di Grasse's practice, this usually included dragging the hind leg forward somewhat.
Half-pace or Fencing step (the front foot
moves forward, followed by the rear foot the same distance)
Encroach or Thwart - Slope-pace forward
Circular-pace or Slip or Quarte - changing your
orientation from the original line to a new line by moving a foot (typically the hind
foot) in a semi-circle.
Lunge, or pass-lunge. di Grasse uses the term
"increase the pace." The idea is to drive forward by dynamically pushing with
the rear leg. In contrast, a walking pace relies on gravity to "fall" forward at
each step. Stretch out far and low in the attack. Finish in many cases by dragging up the
rear foot somewhat, as in a modern lunge-recover-forward.
Traverse Sideways movement. (90 degree angle)
Imbrocatta -An angled attack.
III. Of Footwork
footwork is the font from which springs all offense and defense. The body likewise should
be firm and stable - right shoulder turned towards the enemy.
In footwork as well, by orderly, discreet, and controlled motions, you
will win. Proper size steps depends on the individual's stature and frame, but each step
can only be straight or circular.
The right leg is the strength of the right hand, and the left leg is the strength of
the left hand. So, the right hand attack should be accompanied by the right leg. Take care
that the foot and arm move together. Above all, do not skip or leap, but keep one foot
always firm and steadfast.
Figure 3. Footwork Explanations
To lunge left, leading with your left foot (pass first if your left foot is in the
rear) make a powerful and fast lunge toward (or just outside of) the back of your
adversary. Optionally finish by pulling up the hind (right) foot to a guarded ward stance.
Di Grasse uses the phrase, "increase of the left foot".
To lunge right, leading with your right foot (pass first if your right foot in the
rear) make a powerful and fast lunge toward (or just outside of) the breast of your
adversary. Optionally finish by pulling up the hind (left) foot to an on guard stance. Di
Grasse uses the phrase, "increase of the right foot"
To lunge slope left, instead of lunging toward the back, your leading left foot should
land on a mark about 45 degrees to your left. When lunging left, If your rapier is in your
high hand, a thrust will usually be delivered as a reverse. A reverse blow is any
that comes from your left side, often with the wrist bent to angle the sword past the
Right shoulder to the front, left hand forward, the breast slightly turned away. Two-weapon methods discussed below require a more square stance.
The right foot leads, similar to a modern guard position, The left hand is in front of the breast, and the body is slightly bent forward with greater weight on the rear leg.
Think of two purposes for motion:
Set-up - out of distance;
Attack or escape - in distance.
Modern research is not definitive about the 'half-pace.' If I took the explanation and illustration to mean that the ending position would be a 'tennis stance' chest square toward the opponent, both feet parallel and equidistant from the opponent, that would be exceptionally acquired - suitable for lateral movement, but unsuitable for attack or retreat.
A possible interpretation is that the half-pace is intended to move into the 'tennis stance' as a momentary phase in a continuous movement, such that the forward momentum is preserved, allowing the attacker to spring a-thwart immediately either right or left.
Perhaps a more likely explanation is that the half-pace moves from the fairly square 'boxer stance' left leading, to the 'boxer stance' right leading.