Fiore de'i Liberi, a renowned fencing master from the 14th century, developed a comprehensive martial art system known as Fior di Battaglia (Flower of Battle). His teachings encompassed a wide range of armed and unarmed combat techniques, which have become influential in historical European martial arts (HEMA). One of the most important aspects of Fiore's system is his distinct guards or posta, which serve as the foundation for executing techniques and maintaining a strong defense. In this article, we will explore the value and effectiveness of one of Fiore's most famous guards, the Posta di Donna (Woman's Guard).
The Posta di Donna: Elegance and Power
Posta di Donna, translated as the Woman's Guard or Lady's Guard, is a versatile and deceptive guard that offers both offensive and defensive capabilities. It is characterized by holding the sword with the point angled slightly upwards and the pommel close to the body. The sword is typically held on the dominant side, with the blade resting over the shoulder, creating a relaxed yet powerful position.
Efficiency in Attack and Defense
One of the key advantages of Posta di Donna is its ability to launch powerful and quick strikes from a seemingly relaxed position. The guard's deceptive nature allows the fencer to swiftly move from a defensive stance to launching a powerful attack in a matter of moments. Moreover, the position of the sword allows for a wide range of cutting and thrusting techniques that can be executed with minimal telegraphing.
Posta di Donna also provides excellent defensive capabilities. With the sword positioned over the shoulder, a fencer can easily defend against incoming strikes by using the strong part of the blade to parry or deflect attacks. Additionally, the guard's positioning makes it easier for the fencer to control the centerline, limiting the opponent's options and forcing them to react to the fencer's movements.
Adaptable to Various Weapons
The Posta di Donna is not limited to longsword techniques; it can be effectively employed with various weapons, such as the spear, poleaxe, and even one-handed swords. This adaptability showcases the versatility and practicality of the guard, allowing practitioners to seamlessly transition between weapons while maintaining the core principles of Fiore's teachings.
The Posta di Donna is a testament to Fiore dei Liberi's ingenuity and understanding of martial arts principles. It offers a perfect blend of elegance, power, and adaptability, making it an essential part of any practitioner's repertoire. By mastering the Posta di Donna and other guards in Fiore's system, students of historical European martial arts can gain a deeper appreciation for the art and unlock the full potential of their techniques, both in practice and in combat.