Open Wounds

L is for Lunge

The Lunge

The Lunge

Sometimes I spell it lung or lungee. I don’t know why. Perhaps because it’s late and it’s been a long week. Perhaps you know what I mean.

A lunge is an attack that elongates the body and subsequently the blade towards your opponent with the hope of skewering him. Okay I’m feeling a little aggressive so we’ll work with that. From en guarde you extent your sword arm then the front foot kicks forward and up while the back leg straightens advancing your blade toward your opponent with the hope of skewering him. I know I said that twice but the image stays with me.

The kick is up, the lunge is Good!

The kick is up, the lunge is Good!

There are two cool ways to practice lunging. One is to have someone stand in front of you just out of reach with a glove in their hand. From en guarde you have to wait until the glove drops and then lunge and try to grab the glove before it hits the ground. The second way is to place a quarter under the heel of your front foot and when you kick your front foot forward and up you have to lift your toes first and push hard with the heel to send the quarter skimming forward. This practices the explosive part of the move.

The lunge is a quick and efficient attack that can use all kinds of combination attacks with it including deceptions of the blade, feints, beats, and glissades. Usually books talk about three types of lunges, the demi (or short) lunge, the grand lunge (it is what it sounds like), and the standing or stationary lunge. You can throw in the passato sotto or rear lunge (which is really an evasion – a duck) also as a personal favorite. In the passato sotto rather than lunging with the front foot kicking forward, you duck and kick your back leg back, extend your sword arm while you bring your free hand to the floor for balance. Your opponent runs on to your blade – always helpful.

Did they lunge in medieval times with long swords and broadswords? Nope. They would use the point only after their edges were dull and they got tired of trying to crack each other’s metal shells and started trying to stick the point into the creases between the plates in the throat and the underarm. Who needs a lunge for that?

Besides the lunge wasn’t even invented until the 16th century, when they figured out that the point of the blade moves faster than the edge. Think about it. It does. And you can see a cut coming but just looking at the point it’s harder to figure out distance or target to defend against. Oh and the Italians invented the lunge. Capo Ferro’s prints are the first to document it. Gotta love that guy.

25 responses

  1. Hello there

    I got to you from Matthew MacNish or I would never have found your site. What a delight. I am writing an epic fantasy and I can see where ‘lungee’ would be most useful… 🙂

    Best regards

    April 13, 2013 at 9:21 am

    • I’ve a soft spot for epic fantasy! Glad you enjoyed the post and thanks for taking the detour to my site.

      April 13, 2013 at 3:56 pm

  2. Here for the first time via A-to-Z. They plugged you this morning, and they were very correct. Digging your sword-fighting posts. How much faster is a lunging tip than a swinging edge, though? Have you ever measured yours?

    John at The Bathroom Monologues

    April 13, 2013 at 9:22 am

    • Ok. To swing the sword you have to draw back and then cut. The edge moves away from the target then back towards it. To thrust the point it’s a much shorter and more direct distant. The point never leaves or moves away from the target. This is why so many rapier/small smallsword fights end with the “stop-thrust” that catches the opponent in mid cut. It’s a movie image but a realistic one. Glad you liked the post and thanks for stopping by!

      April 13, 2013 at 2:09 pm

  3. What a great post, and I would have missed you if A-Z hadn’t highlighted you today. I have a lot of historical romance writer friends who would love reading these. And I love your humor. I write military romance with Navy SEALs, among other things.

    April 13, 2013 at 9:35 am

    • Thanks, Sharon. Glad you liked the post. Military romance with Navy SEALs? I’ll hop over and check out your posts. Very cool.

      April 13, 2013 at 4:31 pm

  4. Thank you for posting these interesting lunge exercises. Very good article! 🙂 I was sent by Matthew MacNish.
    A to Z April Blogging Challenge

    April 13, 2013 at 9:57 am

  5. I once had a really vivid dream that I was a fencer. I can’t find it on my blog now… SHite!

    April 13, 2013 at 10:48 am

  6. Love the subject of your posts. There’s just something romantic about fencing.

    April 13, 2013 at 1:18 pm

    • I agree. Not so much the medieval hack and bash but once you get to the 16th century and then Cyrano. Ah. Thanks for stopping by.

      April 13, 2013 at 4:26 pm

  7. Awesome post. Of course the Italians invented it! Lunging must have come about around the time the rapier did, no? Not much point lunging with a broadsword.

    April 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    • i’ve tried it. It’s funny. you can do it but it’s so slow and unwieldy. Thrusting yes, but lunging – you’re gonna hurt yourself!

      April 13, 2013 at 4:03 pm

  8. I did fencing in drama school, oh the memories you just brought back, I remember the glove trick, it’s hard to catch. Thanks a lot.
    maggie winter

    April 13, 2013 at 3:55 pm

    • You’re welcome! The glove trick has been around a long time. Still a good one. Glad you liked the post and thanks for stopping by.

      April 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm

  9. Yep, the lunge really didn’t exist until the foil, when the -point- was to get your point into an opening in the armor. heh
    Yes, I’ve taken some fencing.
    Of course, lunging can leave you open to attack, too…

    April 13, 2013 at 4:15 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by! Hah! Yeah, just as every defense can be cracked every attack can be defended against. I guess it’s all about knowing what to do and getting there in time. On time. Something like that. I’ll hop over to your blog!

      April 13, 2013 at 4:41 pm

  10. Great information, this might come in handy for my writing one day. One of my current characters is practicing Kendo–quite different from European fencing, but I never know what future characters might be in to
    Fel Wetzig, The Peasants Revolt

    April 13, 2013 at 6:45 pm

    • I just came from your site and the post on Kendo. Excellent. But… I especially like the title of your blog – The Peasants Revolt! Wonderful. Thanks for stopping by, Fel.

      April 13, 2013 at 6:55 pm

  11. Huh, I guess I just thought the lunge was as old as time.

    April 14, 2013 at 5:43 am

    • It’s funny (or scary) when you think about it in the evolution of the sword. It’s actually a more sophisticated move that only arrived on the scene because of the changes in technology (long bow and gunpowder = end of armor = change in make of sword = more sophisticated swordplay.). Thanks for stopping by!

      April 14, 2013 at 7:22 am

  12. Kern Windwraith

    What an amazingly cool theme you’ve chosen for the challenge. Everything I’ve never known about fencing, which is just about everything! I’ll be bookmarking these–who knows when I’ll turn my writing hand to fantasy? Or have one of my present-day characters pick up a new hobby…

    April 14, 2013 at 5:52 pm

    • Thanks and I’m glad you like the posts. If you ever have questions I’ll be happy to be a resource. Best- joe

      April 14, 2013 at 5:58 pm

  13. internetreviewofbooks

    I’ve gotta stay well away from skewers and lunges, wimp that I am. 🙂

    April 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm

    • That’s just being smart! Thanks for stopping by.

      April 15, 2013 at 12:54 am

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