Embellishments are "non-threatening" attacks, made for show. They often involve attacking while moving backwards, or making excessive noise with the sword, shield, and dagger. They are the 16th-century-equivalent of spiking the football in the end zone or growling and waving one's arms around. They can even be thought of (or used) as a flourish in a salute.
Embellishments in Marozzo's assalti
In the first part of his first assalto with sword and buckler, Achille Marozzo describes the following embellishment:
- Throw a fendente against the inside rim of the buckler, passing the right foot back, ending in coda lunga e distesa.
- Pass the right foot forward and beat the buckler with the false edge, ending in guardia di testa.
- Point the sword downward, beat the false edge with the buckler, and throw a montante, ending in guardia alta. Withdraw the right foot.
Later parts modify this basic pattern with stomps of the front foot, buckler punches at the air, and extra molinelli and stramazzoni thrown in a wheeling fashion over the head. Eventually Marozzo directs simply: "You may now embellish your play in any mode you want. That is with montare, cuts, and with touching of the brochiero." Whatever "mode" is adopted, the player must be sure to complete his embellishment in the guard in which the next part begins.