Florentine

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Florentine is a term used, somewhat inaccurately given its historical basis, to describe the two-weapon fighting style.

History

Florentine was a weapon style utilizing a long sword as the primary weapon while wielding a dagger or short sword in the off-hand. Florentine is so named after the city of its birth, Florence, Italy. A dagger often used in the Florentine style is the "main gauche" which is French for "left hand". On occasion, the off-hand weapon would have additional tines or notches cut into the blade to assist in fouling or trapping an opponent's blades.

Florentine in Belegarth

Florentine fighting in Belegarth is distinct from historical Florentine, in that two full-length swords are used together, rather than a sword and a dagger. A fighter weilding two flails is referred to as flailentine, though this is significantly different from any historical fighting styles.

Though it requires more coordination that most other fighting styles, particularly with the off-hand, when practiced well, Florentine can be a devastating technique. It combines a versatile defense with furious offense, but like all styles of fighting without a shield, it is particularly vulnerable to archery. For this reason, some Florentine fighters choose to wear a buckler or a back shield.

On a large field, Florentine fighters typically serve as skirmishers and flankers, as they are quickly shot down by archers when in a line.

== Florentine Tutorial == by Kyrian

Just a little background: I prefer fighting with two longswords, usually around 32" to 33" in blade length. I've been fighting two-sword pretty much since I started fighting about 15 years ago. I started with short swords (about 18" to 24" blade length) but during the 3 years I spent fighting in Amtgard, I learned how to fight with longswords. Here are a few things I've picked up along the way:

  • 1. Invest time in learning how to fight with other weapon styles, especially weapon and shield, spear, and red. These are probably the weapon styles you will most encounter in Belegarth. You don't necessarily have to become expert at any of these. It's mainly for you to gain experience in the basic attacks and defenses of each style. Once you understand how those other styles work, you can better attack and defend against them.
  • 2. This is my personal preference but it’s up to you to determine if it works: Build the longest swords you can wield effectively. This may be a process of trial and error. While short two-sword is an extremely fast style, it requires you to get "up close and personal" with your opponent. Whenever possible, I prefer engaging an opponent outside his or her effective attack range.
  • 3. When building weapons for the two-weapon style, I always build them in pairs. I've found that I have a better chance of building similarly weighted and balanced swords.
  • 4. Use the same length of weapon for each hand. This is, again, a personal preference. Using a shorter weapon is faster for blocking or attacking. However, your effective attack range for using both weapons is defined by the shorter weapon.
  • 5. Use both weapons with the swords held normally. Some fighters prefer fighting in the two-weapon style with their off-hand weapon held pommel up. While this can be effective for blocking, it can limit the types of attacks you can use. Wrist-snap stabs (where you snap the wrist up as you bring the sword tip forward) aren't effective against armor. I've also found that I don't have good control or give good, solid hits when executing draw/slicing cuts. Also, since there often isn’t a definitive thump during a draw/slicing cut, a person is less likely to take the shot.
  • 6. It helps to get a buckler or back shield to defend against missile weapons.
  • 7. You have two weapons. Both can be used for attack or defense. Many people I've seen transitioning to two-sword from shield and weapon often use the off-hand (where their shield used to be) as a shield only. Using both weapons for attacking allows you to engage your opponent from multiple angles. Against a person wielding a shield and weapon, you can use multiple attacks to force him or her to move the shield in a certain direction and create an opening.
  • 8. Practice! Practice! Practice! You have to develop muscle memory for each arm for both attack and defense. Constant repetition and patience are critical especially in developing your off-hand. A couple of techniques I've used for practice are the heavy bag and visualization/shadow boxing. I would practice hitting a heavy bag using different combinations and moving around the bag while constantly striking. In visualization/shadow boxing, I would imagine the different possible attacks/defenses (See #1) that a fighter might use and imagine how I would respond to them. Then I would execute the movements.
  • 10. Combos. Use multiple attacks when fighting with two weapons. Single attacks while fighting two-weapon really don’t utilize one of the style’s strengths, namely the ability to attack from several different angles within a short span of time.
  • 11. Wear arm and leg armor. Your extremities are much more vulnerable when fighting with two weapons. While mobility is one of your key assets, arm and leg armor are also helpful especially in large melees.
  • 12. When wielding two weapons, try to avoid swinging both on the same level. If one is swinging towards the upper body of your opponent, your other weapon should be held low. This reduces the possibility of both weapons being pinned or trapped by a shield or other weapon.
  • 13. Avoid holding both weapons at the same height above the ground. If you have both weapons at the same level, a single swipe across both weapons can knock them aside just enough for your opponent to follow up.
  • 14. A couple of combos:
    • a. 3-shot combo (tends to be more effective against rounds than other shield types)
      • 1. RH (right hand) cross to opponent’s right shoulder. The normal reflex action is to move the shield towards the right to block the shot.
      • 2. Follow immediately with LH (left hand) attack to opponent’s lower right leg. Your opponent’s shield will normally drop or else he’ll be hit in the leg.
      • 3. RH is brought back to attack opponent’s lower left leg.
    • b. Counter-swing combo
      • 1. Opponent swings down towards your left shoulder.
      • 2. Block with LH. Immediately swing with RH towards forearm of opponent’s sword arm.
      • 3. Follow-up with RH or LH attack to legs.
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