This week, I trained and sparred as an acolyte of Vadi. Not the easiest thing to do, seeing as the rest of my club are all doing Fiore. However, I think I managed to make it work. By which I mean I managed to test out some of the basics of my interpretation. Not that my interpretation was particularly effective. This is a relatively short post discussing what I tried and my first impressions.
What I tried
My understanding and interpretation of Vadi is still in its formative stages so there wasn’t a great deal I could do. We were training basic jiocco largo techniques from Fiore using a range of different cuts. In terms of how I decided what to test, the thought process was essentially “OK this is the exercise… what do I remember from Vadi that relates to this…” As such it was a bit of a random selection of principles that I’m sure I got some aspects wrong.
The first and simplest thing I did was to switch to doing the same drills, but using the guards from Vadi over Fiore’s. This was relatively straight forward, although the guards where Vadi holds the sword over the lead leg were a little confusing sometimes as it changes the need to step, and also the distance we ended up in. I feel this confusion might be an advantage against an unfamiliar opponent.
Next I tried two pieces of advice from Vadi in training the drills:
- When at the cross, attack with the false edge to create an opening
- Backhand middle and low cuts use the false edge
The text for reference, for point 1:
And if the companion strikes and you all of a sudden
Parry, making then to the head
A blow with the false edge
And as he lifts it, strike a good roverso
And for point 2:
The forehand blows go on one side,
The backhands attack from the other.
The true edge falls on the forehand side,
And note well this truth
The backhand and false edge go together.
(he says elsewhere this doesn’t apply to fendente)
Finally, in sparring I took his advice in sparring to try a range of attacks (which to be fair I do anyway, but I did it a bit more so).
I don’t want your blows to be solely roverso,
Nor just fendente, but between one and the other,
If between is the common one.
The false edge cut when in a bind worked well from parrying a forehand fendente. However when we switched to roverso, I couldn’t make it work. I’m going to re-read some of Vadi’s advice on footwork as this may be the issue.
Many of the false edge cuts I performed felt awkward, but I expected this to. Part of this is getting used to it, but also I was trying out several different interpretations of this piece of advice. Pairing false edge with riverso cuts is one of the pieces of advice Vadi gives that sounds straightforward and turns out it isn’t. I intend to dedicate a whole post to this issue, but in summary here’s a quandary for you: if I’m in a left side guard, which side is my backhand (riverso)? Or if I’m in one of Vadi’s guards with sword and lead leg on the same side? I don’t yet have an answer to this.
Once in a bind, the advice to throw lots of attacks was effective. However, as the first attack it resulted in a lot of doubles. There is some textual evidence to suggest the opening move should be a fendente, and this advice applies specifically to working at the bind. However, I will first go back and see what he says on the other cuts and see if I’m doing them wrong before I use that as a working theory, as this could just be unfamiliarity with some of the false edge cuts and his guards.
My wrists hurt. Vadi has a lot of crossed wrist guards, and the emphasis on holding the pommel with your left hand gives you a powerful uncrossing action. But yeah, they hurt. Actually my whole left arm feels like it got a lot more of a workout than normal. Again might be interpretation issues.
None yet. It’s far too early to draw any conclusions from this, as any issues with my fighting could be due to interpretation, and many successes could be down to surprise of a new move more than anything else. Although I must say I do like the false edge cut from the bind.
One thing of note: for those that read my previous post on Vadi’s prefferred sword, I speculated there that the Rawlings sword would be better for Vadi if you used the extended pommel on a longsword blade. I can confirm that I tested this yesterday, and it was indeed an improvement.