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Forum Index > Off-topic Talk > New essay and translation of Figueyredo's montante available Reply to topic
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Tim Rivera





Joined: 22 Mar 2010

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PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2012 7:37 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
While we're at it, I have two questions about the montante and its techniques in general. The first is about the initial position with the sword resting in a guard. We don't really have any sources with a clear explanation or illustration of what the guards look like, do we? The video interpretations I've seen so far tend to favour lower guards like the tail guard, which (I think) can be rationalised by positing that the weight of the montante at rest would be more easily borne in such low positions, but I can't help wondering if any Iberian texts also describe higher guards (perhaps the equivalents of the Vom Tag and the higher Hengen) that might be worth inserting into our interpretations.


The montante doesn't really have guards - positions from which the rules are started are described, but that's just a starting point in a cycle of continuous motion. The notable exceptions are the postures in Figueiredo's rule 14 against polearms and thrown weapons (where you wait for the attack), possibly the right angle posture in rule 1 where he explicitly tells you to stop, and the nails-up and nails-down postures from Godinho's rule 1 about montante-on-montante action. The idea is that you are continually in motion and attacking, and the exception is against a single opponent with the same or longer reach, or a thrown weapon.

The montante is a completely different animal from the longsword - like the difference between an elephant and an elephant seal. They weren't used in the same context, so the training is very different, and looking for equivalencies will frustrate you.

Tim
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Emil Andersson




Location: Sweden
Joined: 17 Oct 2010

Posts: 136

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2012 9:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:

The second is about the "Fly-swatter." Is it the ascending figure-eight Emil does several times during the large measure/Zufechten segments (is there a Spanish/Portuguese name for it?) in this sparring video? It may be a bit redundant in these bouts but the sequence seems to be a good way to intimidate an opponent into staying outside the reach of the montante while the montante-wielder is thinking up a new plan of attack.



I got the general idea of that from the 6th simple rule, actually. It mentions a deflecting motion with the false edge of the sword, and the sword then coming about for a stroke. The rule specifies a deflection from the left and then a strike from the right, but I feel it is easier to keep the sword's momentum if you bring it around to strike from the left again.

Anyway, I think it's great that you've been working on some of the rules as well. I'm really itching to get back into it, but our group's been having a lot of trouble with obtaining a place to practice in. I won't be doing much with the rules before we've found a new home, so to speak. On the plus side, I've been strength training regularly and vigorously for the past few months and made it into a routine, so I'll be able to handle the montante and other large swords more easily when I dive back in. Happy
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Steve Hick




Location: United States
Joined: 28 May 2009

Posts: 46

PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2012 12:22 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
There were just the two of us this time and neither of us felt confident enough to shoot the interpretation of Rule XII Simple yet, so we settled for the revised version of Rule IV Composed instead:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSnLedHLBXs

Still awkward (and not yet as fluid as the other version with the extra step), but we hope it looks a little bit closer to the intent of the original texts. We might yet make a third version where all the cuts are descending, which makes the initial movement of the rule more natural--just two big whirls around the head-- but may slightly complicate the recovery to the next segment after the final revez.)




The way we have taught it is as follows - the initial talho, in the first place is from behind and is a rising blow all the way through the target and ends point directly foreward or slightly up - no step. You can either return it to the chamber or do a small ellipse in the high line and then the next talho is a descending talho - with a step with the right foot, either from from behind or from the end of the small circle, this continues through the target completely to the low line and then circles around from low to high and becomes a descending revez that goes all the way to the low line with a step of the left. We actually turn it back to "from behind" and then raise it from high to low line as if we were going to do another descending talho, but as it reaches above the arm then hold it at that level and begin your turn to the rear by first resetting the right foot in a circular movement to what was your left rear around the pivot of your left foot, turning the head to lead go with the move, as the body completes its turn thrust and step with your left foot in a circular movement around the pivot of your right foot to make a thrust. You then make a circle to your right side low and begin again with the second talho.

There are what you might term postures, and some are described but not named, but the montante more about the movement and not about the holding in place. There likely were named postures, there is some inkling of this in descriptions of the 15th century works in Pacheco.

The interpretation for the thrust and turn is derived from plays of Godinho of the montante. The arming can be done anywhere from the height of the upper arm, just above the elbow to beside the head - this height is given by de Viedma in a somewhat similar play that has no thrust, the point my feint a thrust but turns immediately into a talho by what could be termed a false edge revez to the low line to then begin the high to low talho.

All this latter stuff -- interpretations and other authors plays and the why's and wherefor's of the interpretations if we ever finish the "Full Montante" -- in the works.

Steve

Steve Hick
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Emil Andersson




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2012 12:59 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Hick wrote:


All this latter stuff -- interpretations and other authors plays and the why's and wherefor's of the interpretations if we ever finish the "Full Montante" -- in the works.



I can't begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to that one. Please see it through to the end, for the sake of us all. Happy
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Steve Hick




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PostPosted: Tue 13 Nov, 2012 1:15 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Emil Andersson wrote:
Steve Hick wrote:


All this latter stuff -- interpretations and other authors plays and the why's and wherefor's of the interpretations if we ever finish the "Full Montante" -- in the works.



I can't begin to tell you how much I'm looking forward to that one. Please see it through to the end, for the sake of us all. Happy


Its not just me who is working this, it is the same unindicted co-conspirators as were involved in the last one or in the presentation on Iberian fencing history at WMAW - Charles Blair, Puck Curtis, Matt Galas, Eric Myers and Tim Rivera in addition to myself. Should likely include a couple of folks from AEEA in Spain too. And likely Tom Leoni for his Monte translation.
Steve

Steve Hick
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 24 May, 2013 12:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Steve Hick wrote:
The way we have taught it is as follows - the initial talho, in the first place is from behind and is a rising blow all the way through the target and ends point directly foreward or slightly up - no step. You can either return it to the chamber or do a small ellipse in the high line and then the next talho is a descending talho - with a step with the right foot, either from from behind or from the end of the small circle, this continues through the target completely to the low line and then circles around from low to high and becomes a descending revez that goes all the way to the low line with a step of the left. We actually turn it back to "from behind" and then raise it from high to low line as if we were going to do another descending talho, but as it reaches above the arm then hold it at that level and begin your turn to the rear by first resetting the right foot in a circular movement to what was your left rear around the pivot of your left foot, turning the head to lead go with the move, as the body completes its turn thrust and step with your left foot in a circular movement around the pivot of your right foot to make a thrust. You then make a circle to your right side low and begin again with the second talho.


So, to put it simply, your interpretation does include an extra step with the left foot before the turn and the thrust, but balances it with an additional revez? Quite interesting, and it came up in our discussions too, but none of us tried it and the idea sort of fell by the wayside.


Anyway, the montante bug has bitten for good, and recently one of the montante enthusiasts from my old group began practicing the rules with a 1.6m PVC pipe. Still not ideal, but he said that the pipe has rather more angular momentum than a practice longsword and led him to naturally perform larger, more circular cutting motions (as opposed to the tighter movements and staccato pace of Liechtenauer longsword work) as well as footwork that somehow began to resemble jogo do pau after a while. A round PVC pipe is not much good for practicing edge alignment, of course, but the results he reported makes me wonder if it could be a decent alternative for a beginner who could not afford the expense of an entirely new training sword (but has access to other swords that can be used to practice edge alignment despite being unable to simulate the montante's momentum).


Another subject we've been discussing rather intensively of late is Rule VI, the "battle of the montante." The most straightforward interpretation we could figure out was an upwards sweep with the false edge followed by a direct reversal of the blade's motion to strike down towards the opponent's knee, but this involves stopping the blade in mid-air at the end of the rising cut and the experience with the PVC pipe suggests that this might not be such a bright idea. An alternative we favour at the moment performs the initial "parrying" revez in a somewhat more windshield-wiper like fashion, or (rather more accurately) like the first half of a circular parry in fencing, followed by a slight circle on the right to bring the blade back and "scoop" up the opponent's knee with the false edge. In essence, this forms a very lopsided horizontal figure-eight with the larger lobe on the left and a much smaller lobe on the right, with false-edge cuts going both ways.

That's starting to sound confusing. Maybe I should pester somebody to make and upload a video of it so that I can gather some meaningful feedback here.
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Matthew P. Adams




Location: Cape Cod, MA
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PostPosted: Fri 24 May, 2013 12:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Lafayette C Curtis wrote:
Steve Hick wrote:
The way we have taught it is as follows - the initial talho, in the first place is from behind and is a rising blow all the way through the target and ends point directly foreward or slightly up - no step. You can either return it to the chamber or do a small ellipse in the high line and then the next talho is a descending talho - with a step with the right foot, either from from behind or from the end of the small circle, this continues through the target completely to the low line and then circles around from low to high and becomes a descending revez that goes all the way to the low line with a step of the left. We actually turn it back to "from behind" and then raise it from high to low line as if we were going to do another descending talho, but as it reaches above the arm then hold it at that level and begin your turn to the rear by first resetting the right foot in a circular movement to what was your left rear around the pivot of your left foot, turning the head to lead go with the move, as the body completes its turn thrust and step with your left foot in a circular movement around the pivot of your right foot to make a thrust. You then make a circle to your right side low and begin again with the second talho.




Another subject we've been discussing rather intensively of late is Rule VI, the "battle of the montante." The most straightforward interpretation we could figure out was an upwards sweep with the false edge followed by a direct reversal of the blade's motion to strike down towards the opponent's knee, but this involves stopping the blade in mid-air at the end of the rising cut and the experience with the PVC pipe suggests that this might not be such a bright idea. An alternative we favour at the moment performs the initial "parrying" revez in a somewhat more windshield-wiper like fashion, or (rather more accurately) like the first half of a circular parry in fencing, followed by a slight circle on the right to bring the blade back and "scoop" up the opponent's knee with the false edge. In essence, this forms a very lopsided horizontal figure-eight with the larger lobe on the left and a much smaller lobe on the right, with false-edge cuts going both ways.

That's starting to sound confusing. Maybe I should pester somebody to make and upload a video of it so that I can gather some meaningful feedback here.


Couldn't that ellipse be used to reverse direction in rule 6 as well?

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Fri 24 May, 2013 9:14 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew P. Adams wrote:
Couldn't that ellipse be used to reverse direction in rule 6 as well?


Not in the simplistic interpretation, I think, since the initial revez ends up with the sword high and to the right. If the talho to the knee that follows is interpreted as a descending attack, then why bring the blade round in a circle? Just flip the edges around and sweep it back towards the left.

Of course, the returning talho can be interpreted as an ascending cut instead. If done with the true edge, this leads to Emil's interpretation of a large and near-symmetrical figure eight. If done with the false edge, it becomes my folks' interpretation of a very lopsided figure-eight with the small ellipse at the far right end. Actually it's not a full figure-eight since the most natural motion for the sword brings it back to a stop in the starting position (like a left-side Nebenhut).


One thing I've been mulling about lately is whether the false edge can be used in many instances where Figueyredo doesn't mention which edge to strike with. For example, the altibaxo (not sure what the plural is) in some of the earlier rules are sometimes easier to do with the false edge than with the true, although that may be an artifact from my background in the German system with its profusion of false-edge attacks like the Schielhau and the Sturzhau.
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Emil Andersson




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Sat 25 May, 2013 10:53 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I just wanted to say that I'll be ordering a new montante from Peter Regenyei, and once it arrives I will do my best to resume studies of the manual. You can find it here: http://regenyei.sg18.net/en_twohanded.html

It seems like a magnificent sword both large and light. I'll also have a lot more experience with fencing in general to work from when I get back to this, and be a lot stronger from working out at the gym since last August. Happy
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Daniel Wallace




Location: Pennsylvania USA
Joined: 07 Aug 2011

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PostPosted: Tue 28 May, 2013 7:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

this sword looks like a very good chose for Montante Emily. its fuller is very long in comparison to others I've seen but the lugs are nice and close to the quillon block like they should be for the sword style.

I'll be interested in how it handles Happy
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Tue 28 May, 2013 9:10 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Emil, which one? that links to four swords, but they all look very suitable.
"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Emil Andersson




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Fri 31 May, 2013 1:34 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Matthew, I'm talking about the third sword down on that page.

Assuming that Mr. Regenyei includes the ricasso as part of the blade measurement the handle + pommel will be a good 54cm (~21'') long. Together with the balance point being only 5cm away from the cross I've read that this sword is actually suitable for free fencing against other weapons. I have some theories to try out. Happy

I haven't received a confirmation on my order yet, but I hope it will be a quick delivery once it goes through. I'll keep you updated.
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Fri 31 May, 2013 5:25 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

WOW I just translated those stats into imperial measurements, and everything sounds awesome, 68 inches, a smidge over 5 lbs, that must sing! I can't wait to hear your review!

I've been using the Purpleheart synthetic waster for paired practice http://www.woodenswords.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=M-S, but I would love to try a steel simulator one day. I had Christian customize the size to make it a little bigger, and I actually think its 67 or 68 inches too. How tall are you?

"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Emil Andersson




Location: Sweden
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PostPosted: Fri 31 May, 2013 6:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I can't begin to tell you how anxious I am to try that sword out, Matthew. It really does sound lovely if you go by the numbers, and I've read a short review from a german group that sings its praise.

I'm 188cm (6.2') tall. I've been doing some extensive work with a 70''-long flamberge from Lutel so I know that the length will be just right. Regenyei's sword is, however, a full 1kg (2.2lbs) lighter and about the same length!
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Matthew P. Adams




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PostPosted: Fri 31 May, 2013 12:03 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm 5' 10" (about 177cm) so these come up to my forehead, and I like that length a lot. It's really nice to see two handers breaking the 60 inch length as that seems to be a tad shorter than the average.
"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training" Archilochus, Greek Soldier, Poet, c. 650 BC
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Emil Andersson




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PostPosted: Mon 03 Jun, 2013 10:52 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This isn't specifically about the Montante but more of large swords in general, but in the spirit of discussion I'd like to put forward a couple of basic theoretical strategies for using a bidenhänder against a single oppnent with a smaller weapon(s). I haven't had the chance to truly test these out against an opponent yet.

I welcome anyone to give input and your own experiences.

Offensively: When in range where you can strike the opponent with or without a single or a few short steps the sword should be kept in active motion. The sword can be moved around your body in circular motion to keep it charged with kinetic energy (as Ken Mondschein put it in his book released last year) and ready to strike. The sword doesn't have to be kept moving at any significant speed, rather you should just let it flow smoothly and comfortably in a way that you are confident with from your training. An already moving sword can be accelerated quickly by a turn over the head or around the shoulder.

The parts of your body that are controlling the sword should remain focused entirely on attacking your opponent relentlessly. You should pay little respect to what your opponent is doing and follow through with your own plans in first intention since the two-handed sword isn't fast enough to follow a shorter sword in counteraction. The optimal range for maintaining this is at the point where you can reach your opponent's head or body without him being able to hit you.

Defensively: The defense will be all footwork. Your feet and lower body will be in charge of maintaining the optimal range which will let your upper body focus on attacking. When your opponent pushes you back you move with him so that you maintain the optimal distance, and likewise when you are driving him backwards with relentless offense. You should not voluntarily move any closer to him unless you are confident in engaging in grappling from your position.

You need to become profficient with all manner of steps and footworking to maintain fluidity in your offense while you move around your opponent. Space backwards and forwards is often limited so a full 360 degree range of motion is required of your lower body.

-----

There! There's still plenty of details that I didn't include but I think I've outlined my thoughts. Once I get my new two-handed sword I'll be trying this out against hopefully both longswords and sword & bucklers.

Please feel free to give me your feedback!
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Tue 04 Jun, 2013 2:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I've come to largely the same conclusions, although perhaps that should be taken with a grain of salt since I've only been playing around with montante and other two-handed sword techniques for a few short months. For me, the key of winning (or at least dominating) a fight with the montante has a great deal to do with intimidation -- using the weapon's momentum and reach to scare the opponents away and prevent them from getting close enough to make effective use of their weapons. It helps that the montante's blows are very difficult to parry/block at all, though a savvy opponent would often be able to void them and step in with a Nachreissen-like move if the montante-wielder gets a little too predictable in his movements.
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Emil Andersson




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PostPosted: Wed 12 Jun, 2013 11:39 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks for your additions, Lafayette. There's always the consensus that larger two-handed swords are handled distinctly differently from smaller longswords but there's rarely any more advice than that. If we all can pool our experiences together it could turn into a guide or something. Happy

Unfortunately I heard back from Peter Regenyei who told me that the waiting time for the montante would be rather long, and that I shouldn't expect it before next January. Looks like I'll have to make do with the beast of a sword I've got now. Happy
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Emil Andersson




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PostPosted: Thu 20 Jun, 2013 1:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm sorry for the double post but I wanted to bring this new video clip to your attention. It's only short and nothing fancy, none of Figueiredo's rules or anything. It's just a simple flourish to move the sword with and around the entire body. Starting at 1:37 I'm practicing a move I've been experimenting with as a way of changing from a descending blow into an ascending one by lowering the body, bending the back at the hips and bring the sword over the head and around to the other side. I obviously need to practice that a lot more but it does feel smooth when executed.

Link!

I also tried some sparring with the montante against a long sword a little more than a week ago, and I adhered to the theories I put forth before as best as I could. And man, now I understand what you people have been saying about the montante's powerful blows - it's all how you pull the sword through the entire cutting motion with the body behind it. Blows from left to right seem especially fierce, able to beat aside any caught longsword with ease. No video footage of this yet, though. Happy
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Lafayette C Curtis




Location: Indonesia
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PostPosted: Sat 22 Jun, 2013 3:12 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Watch out for feints and Nachreissen-like blows. I haven't tried it much myself, but I suspect a particularly effective trick for a longswordsman going up against a montante-wielder would be to pretend to make a hesitant parry or displacement while not quite coming into range, let the montante beat it aside, and then come around immediately with a Schielhau or a similar close-range false-edge attack. Sniping at the hands would also be a very significant threat.
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