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Bolognese guards

An illustrated guide

How to use this page.
This page is designed to offer an easy but accurate visual reference of the many guards of the Bolognese style. The nature of these guards has been researched from the works of Antonio Manciolino, Achille Marozzo and Giovanni Dall’Agocchie.
We have decided to include the guards that are described most frequently in regards to the single-handed sword. In truth, there are other guards and slight permutations of the ones presented here, especially where the two-handed sword is concerned.

The Bolognese guards are divided into two groups:

  1. High guards (eight)
  2. Low guards (seven)

Low guards are further subdivided into two sets:

  1. Those denominated Coda Lunga, featuring the sword-hand to the outside of the right knee. These are four in number.
  2. Those called Porta di Ferro, featuring the sword-hand to the inside of the right knee. These are three in number.

We have represented each guard with a picture from two angles and a short description of the essential nature of the guard. Guards are depicted with sword alone, sword and buckler and sword and Italian targa.

Note: weight of the body should always be on the foot that does not move next. We have striven to make clear in our pictures where the weight is. Please always remember that weight-distribution is an essential part of swordsmanship!

Equipment shown:

Tom: Schiavona Sword (late 17th Century Original); Italian Targa (Arms & Armor, Minnesota, USA).

Steven: Gustav Vasa Rapier (Arms & Armor, Minnesota, USA); Small Buckler (Therion Arms).

Click on any image to see a larger version in a new window.
Guardia Alta
Classification: high
Sword and hand placement: high, sword pointing backward
Foot forward: either
Step: narrow (shown) or wide
  Guardia di Testa
Classification: high
Sword and hand placement: oblique in protection of head (shown both pointing high and low - the latter described by Dall’Agocchie)
Foot forward: either
Step: wide
Guardia di Faccia
Classification: high
Sword and hand placement: palm up, sword pointing at the opponent
Foot forward: either
Step: wide
Guardia d’Intrare
Classification: high
Sword and hand placement: palm down, sword pointing at the opponent
Foot forward: either
Step: wide
Guardia di Sopra il Braccio
Classification: high
Sword and hand placement: pointing backward, fist above left arm
Foot forward: right
Step: narrow (shown) or wide
Guardia di Sotto il Braccio
Classification: high
Sword and hand placement: pointing backward, fist under left arm
Foot forward: right
Step: narrow (shown) or wide
Guardia di Becca Cesa
Classification: high
Sword and hand placement: pointing down and forward, palm to the right
Foot forward: right
Step: wide
Guardia di Becca Possa
Classification: high
Sword and hand placement: pointing down and forward, palm to the right
Foot forward: left
Step: wide
Coda Lunga e Stretta
Classification: low
Sword and hand placement: hand outside right knee, sword pointing at opponent
Foot forward: right
Step: wide
Coda Lunga e Larga
Classification: low
Sword and hand placement: hand outside right knee, sword low and pointing down
Foot forward: either
Step: wide
Coda Lunga e Alta
Classification: low
Sword and hand placement: hand outside right knee, slightly higher than Coda Lunga e Stretta, sword pointing at opponent
Foot forward: left
Step: wide
Coda Lunga e Distesa
Classification: low
Sword and hand placement: pointing backward, arm extended as shown
Foot forward: either
Step: wide
Porta di Ferro Stretta
Classification: low
Sword and hand placement: hand inside right knee, pointing at opponent
Foot forward: right
Step: wide
Porta di Ferro Larga
Classification: low
Sword and hand placement: hand inside right knee, sword pointing down
Foot forward: right
Step: wide
Cinghiara Porta di Ferro
Classification: low
Sword and hand placement: hand just inside left knee, sword pointing at opponent
Foot forward: left
Step: wide, oblique

Last Updated: 28-Oct-11