Historic Martial Arts Research

The Mechanical Advantage of Fabris

Key Concepts:

Blade Division:

Weak (third and fourth parts)

Strong (first and second parts)

Hilt (best defense)


True Edge (strong side)

False Edge (weak side)

Flat (serves no purpose)


                        First (natural angle downward)

                        Second (natural angle inside)

                        Third (natural angle upward)

                        Fourth (natural angle outside)






                        In Line, Out of Line

                        In Presence, Out of Presence


Tempo (all mutations) – moment of motion between two stillnesses, or vice versa


            Double (parry-riposte)

            Countertime (feet > hand)


            Narrow (lean and wound)

            Wide (lunge and wound)

            “A blade is strongest on the side to which it points.”

Angled properly, an opponent’s parry will slide toward the hilt and be less effective. The side that the blade is pointing will also be weaker on defense unless a counterposture is properly formed.

            Finding the Sword:

Crossing blades at a point that is closer to your strong than to his and forming a strong angle, but not so far that you may be easily deceived by cavazione. Blades do not make contact.

Present the true edge of your blade on the side to which it points to the opponent’s (false) edge.

A lunge places the hilt where the fourth part of the blade was on the opponent’s sword.


Placing your guard in such a way as to shut the opponent’s point out of line.


A specific guard used to oppose a specific guard.

            A Guard Well Formed:

·        Presents the true edge toward the opponent’s blade.

·        Angles the sword so that it points toward the opponent’s blade.

·        Places the hilt directly in the path of the opponent’s point.

·        Keeps your sword in presence.

·        Presents the smallest target possible.

Last updated: October, 2005

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