Footwork

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Facsimile
Gran simulacro plate 5 figure.jpg
An illustration of the proportions of the lunge

Pace

Pace is the distance between your feet in a guard.

Capo Ferro defines several kinds of pace:

  • ordinary pace - one foot-length less than the extraordinary pace. Used when resting in guard.
  • just pace
  • extraordinary pace - properly, the length of the sword. [citation needed]

Gran Simulacro plate 5 gives an illustration of the proportions of the body in a lunge, showing the extraordinary and indicating the ordinary pace.

To alter the pace is to increase or decrease it (make it wider or narrower, repectively). The increase or decrease is usually in terms of the length of the foot.

Advance

A step which moves the body forward without crossing the legs. The advance is performed by increasing the pace with the front foot, and then decreasing the pace with the back foot.

Different masters recommend different methods of foot placement. Capo Ferro states that the front foot should be placed flat on the ground, and the back foot should follow afterwards. Classical fencers place the right heel first, and while lowering the right toe, recover the back foot.

Retreat

A step which moves the body backwards without crossing the legs. As with the advance, the pace is first increased, but now by moving the back foot back; the front foot follows, decreasing the pace again.

Pass

A long step (sometimes gran passo in Italian) in which the body moves in whatever direction by bringing one leg past the other.

Girata

A step or motion of the body which turns the body in one direction or another. The girata is performed by pivoting on the ball of (usually) the right foot, and sometimes by passing the left leg behind the right.

Triangle step

A movement of the feet and body intended to move around an opponent, while keeping him directly in front. It is so-called because the feet are placed on the corners of a long right or scalene triangle.

For example, a triangle step to the right usually starts with the left foot forward:

  1. Pass the right foot forward and to the right.
  2. Turn the body slightly to the left, bringing the left foot around behind a short distance.

Appel

(French) A stomp of the forward foot.

Balestra

A quick forward motion using a hop with both feet simultaneously.

Fleche

(French; lit. "arrow") An extremely long pass in which the left leg is thrown forward, and its momentum carries the body along.

See also