Monday, 1 December 2008

The third play of abrazare

Ok, as promised I'll finish the last post by mentioning the third play of abrazare. First off I'd just like to mention that I'm not writing out all this stuff in some misguided attempt to prove to everyone how much I know about italian swordsmanship. The more I learn the more I realise I know very little. The primary function of this blog is to make a record of what I've been training, what I've learned about that training and about myself, with the hope that when I look back at my posts, I'll see that I've made some progress in this art. Writing stuff out is also an old habit of learning info and ordering it in my head, a method I used to used when I was studying zoology in uni. Please note as well, that the stuff I write about is my current understanding of interpretations made by far better people than me. I'm always open to discussion and being corrected, if readers think I'm writing crap.

The Third Play

As mentioned in the last post, the second and third plays followe on in a sequence from first play. As the defender tries to apply the second play, he drops his right hand vertically on the attacker's hyper-extended left arm. However, as the defender's forearm reaches horizontal, the attacker simply drops his elbow and pulls his hand out and leans back. This is easy for him as the defender's arm forms a little hole or window for a very short space of time as it moves anti-clockwise.

So the defender realising that something is not right, and feeling the attacker start to move back, immediately does an accressere after him, extending his hand in posta lunga pushing on the attacker's throat. As the attacker's head is pushed backwards, his left leg will naturally lift as a counterweight. The defender takes advantage of this and hooks his left hand under the attacker's knee, flipping him onto his head and shoulders.

Things to note:
  • In the training salle, we stop in the position shown. Following through to the end would not be advisable, for obvious reasons.
  • This "following" tactic seems to be a theme running through the wrestling section. I make a play on my partner, he reacts my pulling his hand out and leaning back. My reaction is to simply follow him and take him even further in that direction.
  • The accressere made by the defender MUST be enough to be able to push on the attacker's throat, without having to overextend their upper body over their front foot, i.e. an inherently unstable position. If the first accressere is not enough, they simply take another.
  • The defender should push on the attacker's throat, not their chin, as the attacker can give more resistance if pushed on the chin/jaw. It's basically pushing on soft rather than hard. Be careful with this though, a gentle push with the edge of the hand to the side of the throat is enough to give the idea. Forget making karate chops to the Adam's apple!
  • In practice, if the throat push works with a good accressere, the attacker's leg will naturally rise as a counterbalance, so it's not necessary for the attacker to drop his stance height to reach the attacker's knee, it'll come to him instead.
  • In the final position shown, it's a good idea for the defender to accressere close enough so that they may keep their back straight and maintain their structure, making them stable. In addition, the defender can keep the attacker's raised left leg in contact with their hip. This provides additional stability allowing the defender to easily hold the attacker in this position, with three points of contact, i.e. the throat, the knee, and the hip. If the latter is missing, holding the attacker safely in this position becomes much more difficult.

These are some details from the first three plays. A lot of material! Guess what? There are thirteen more plays described! Phew! If the student has a good basic understanding of the first six plays, which forms the core of our abrazare syllabus, they should have no trouble with the other plays. Practice makes perfect!

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