Monday, June 24, 2013

Learning and You

I am not going to discus the reams and reams of papers, books and articles available that talk about how humans learn or how to engage different types of learning. That is a subject for an instructor that is setting up a pedagogical approach to providing instruction. It requires feedback from the students and such. No, what I want to talk to here is how a student should comport themselves to enable their own learning.

It is not the instructor's job to make you learn. Let me repeat that: it is not your instructor's job to make you learn. This isn't grade school and you aren't being shown multiplication tables for rote memorization. As an adult, you and you alone are responsible for your learning and your becoming better at whatever it is you have decided to master. Once a certain amount of basics have been acquired you must go beyond. Not only must you diligently put in hours of your own time and energy into mastering various movements, but also you must question those movements. Look outside of your salle at similar disciplines, what is being shown and see how others interpret what is being done. Look outside of your group at similar disciplines to see how they do it. Pour through the manuscripts and history, looking with fresh eyes each time, setting aside any and all preconceptions to see it anew.

To not practice on your own vastly limits your physical ability to master your body. In essence all, martial arts come down to this: the ability to see a technique in your mind, to feel the technique in play, and preform the technique physically. All three parts must act in concordance. You get this primarily though countless hours of solo practice. The solo practice, even if it is just the simplest actions of your art inform your body and link together your physical movement with your ideal thought. This is of course not mindless repetition, this is thoughtful intentioned action. Each action must be formed in your mind. Each part of your body intentionally driven though space and time to conform to that though. The intention and care is key as, without them, you are just exercising. There are more effective methods for getting fit. Without the solo practice you will never get beyond the most basic level of competence.

Your instructor cannot make you learn. This is a hard concept for some people to understand. You are paying good money after all, they should be teaching you! Even the best instructor can only show you a tiny fraction of the things you need to learn. An analogy I have seen is that a good instructor can show you one corner of a darkened room. They can turn on a little night-light for you so you can stand in the corner and see. Then they can point to the darkened room and say go that way to find the rest. Lighting the rest of the room is your job, not theirs. Perhaps with decades of instruction they can show you a bit more of your art, but largely your expression of the art is unknown to them. It is your art to master and they don't know what it looks like ether outside of the broadest of strokes.

You must explore that space. Do this by finding limits to your ability and narrowing in on better. Expose yourself to ideas, even if they seem silly at first. Listen to people who are on the journey talk about their exploration. Begin reading and understanding how to mentor and teach others. Mostly remember that almost all of the effort and learning you must do is yours and yours alone to find and accomplish.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

On Being Uke

Uke: person who receives technique in partnered practice.
Tori: executioner of technique in partnered practice.

Been a while since I put text to blog. I have kinda being waiting for Dan to finish up something he half started. I realise this is a fools errand of course and would be waiting for many, many more moons to come and go. I will probably still be waiting a billion years from now when earth's atmosphere has been rubbed away by drag from the sun's gaseous layer.

So, anyway, moving on. I might devolve into a bit of a rant here as this is a topic near and dear to my heart, how to be a good partner in training (aka Uke). I have spent many, many hours thinking on this as I have been blessed with a live-in training partner that can best be described as "prickly." In the course of trying to help her learn this art, I have fumbled and bumbled all over the place. I stepped in every rat hole and lept on every mine there is to leap on. One particularly memorable training session lasted under 15 seconds before I fucked it up badly enough to get a verbal lambasting.

I, of course, earned every single admonishment by failing to understand the learning process. To understand my part of that process as a mentor, and utter failing at being an Uke. Much and more has been written on this topic by far better instructors, teachers and martial artists than me. You should, if you have not, go forth with Google and read every one of them. It will challenge you to grow. It will change your experience in the salle in a positive way for not only you, but everyone you interact with. I honestly believe that learning to be Uke is one of the most fundamental, if not the most important, learning experience you can undergo in pursuit of a martial art. Being Tori is easy. Being a good Uke is really, really hard.

Every time you have the privilege of partnering with a good Uke you know it. The drill works for starters, and it works exactly as the instructor said it would. It works really well for the first couple of iterations then it gets harder. The drill challenges you to refine flaws, have better timing, judge distance, and narrow in on the key bits of the drill and techniques. When you fail it is clear - without discussion - why it failed simply because the non-verbal feedback loop Uke provides. You find yourself lost in the repetitions of the drill, you stop counting and wondering what the hell your supposed to be doing and just do. You find your self having done 3 or 4 times as many repetitions as you normal would have. Mostly, you realise you just got a little bit better than you were 5 minutes ago. It is an absolute honour to train with someone who is even passably good at being Uke.

Have I sold you yet? No, because that is all about what the other guy gets from all that hard work and effort you put in to being an awesome partner. Well, this is where I tell you what being a good Uke does for you. Your awareness goes up. You gain control over the engagement, time, sensitivity, speed and intensity. You start to gain much deeper understanding of techniques, the hows and whys of it. You can feel things that you can't feel as Tori and, as such, can then start to understand and implement them as Tori. By learning how to feel your partner, how to feel when and how much and how to apply resistance against their technique to maximize there learning experience, you can gain significant improvements on your own performance. You get this depth to understanding that is hard to imagine at first. Suddenly being on the "bad" end of a drill becomes an excellent learning experience. You get to practice making really good attacks and you get to understand things from the other side of the drill.

I think the first step in becoming a good Uke is understanding how learning occurs. I all too often see people trying to correct their partner. This invariably turns into a disaster where no one learns anything and results in frustration. The only person who should be providing correction is the person running the show. That ain't you: you're Uke. You can't learn something by having someone move your hand an inch this way, and neither can your training partner. They find where they are supposed to be and how to do it by working hard, doing lots of repetitions. They aren't you and you can't make a replica of what you do and expect it to work for them.

There is a duty as Uke to shut the fuck up. Your main job is to allow your partner to get as many good repetitions as possible within the allotted time. Your duty is to provide good, committed attacks. Provide proper energy for Tori to work with. You must, to the best of your ability, provide appropriate resistance that creates an environment in which to learn. This means you are aiming at having them succeed with the technique 70-80% of the time. You must adapt to their skill level and try to let their most obvious mistakes cause the failures. This is really hard to do well.

Don't be the dead-fish and flop all over the place.
Don't be the guy that is iron-hard and impossible to work with.
Don't be the interrupting interruptor to fix something in your partner.
Don't be the instructor and change or "fix" the drill.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Crossing of Stretto

This was always something I had been meaning to explore more thoughtfully. Spending some real mental space sorting out, joined with many hours of sweat and work trying to get my body to cooperate. See, I had been told that stretto was this crappy crash-and-bash for years. It was what unskilled newbies did because they couldn't, you know, fence. That it is the last option when all the other options are closed. I kinda get where that idea comes from, because there is absolutely a tendency for the new to crash-and-bash. What never really jived with me was that this crashing mess had anything to do with the real art, let alone stretto.

My position has always been that since stretto is rarely trained it will rarely be preformed well. If always neglected then when situations arise that lend themselves to stretto they will most often result in a mess.

A couple months back, during an exploration into the plays of stretto I was struggling to preform the first play of stretto against my taller, long of arm, partner. See, I could not reach his damn hilt - not from where I was and how we were crossed. I tried it many times from different set-ups and the amount of space I needed to cover may as well have been a mile. I could not get there, not safely. When things don't work like that it is probably because I am missing some really obvious thing that Fiore makes clear.  That I miss it due to my own preconceptions and notions of what I thought Fiore was on about without really just reading the text and looking at the pictures and seeing them as they are.

So, we flipped open the MS and looked at this and something jumped for my partner.

Stretto Crossing

Then we looked at this one and the ah-ha moment hit.
Largo Crossing, 2nd Master of Remedy

The arms, look at the arms. Looks how the body is turned! Then take a gander at this one.

Stretto crossing from the left

He is retracted and inside. This isn't the extended largo crossing with a step or leap around and right. You cover with withdrawn hands and inside - not extend and centre. Look at the hips and how turned they are in the stretto cross and mostly squarish in largo. I had been doing it wrong - imagine that! This isn't Fiore's version of what happens when two people both cut at each other with a step. This is an intentioned first action. You're there on purpose, not because you tried to do a largo cross and got forced to be there. You stepped in, covered, and withdrawn to the close.

Well, we both promptly started trying to come to this turned, withdrawn position. My distance issues dissolved. My feeling like removing my left hand from my sword being suicide dissolved. I didn't have to reach forward to grasp my partners hilt it was just right there at the perfect distance to grab.

I stepped in, covered with the hips more sideface, and my hands withdrawn in. When I did this and gained control of centre line the first play of stretto almost appeared of its own volition. If I lost control of the centre, I was well placed for the second play. The distance was right, the yield around felt good and the hand was right there to check or grab.

Of course not all was perfect. I felt my elbow particularly exposed for Fiore's patented elbow push. But Fiore specifically warns that both could preform these plays so perhaps I should be expecting to feel exposed. I continue to experiment with this but it continues to feel right, match the images and flows well into the plays of stretto.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Coverta within Fior Di Battaglia

If we jump forward to r32 we see what is colloquially called the "universal parry." On this page we are given a set-up of attackers preforming various cuts, thrusts and throws.

"Io 'spetto questi tre in tal posta, zoè in dente di zengiaro e in altre guardie poria 'spettare, zoè in posta de donna la senestra, anchora in posta di finestra sinestra, cum quello modo, e deffesa che farò in dente di zenghiaro. Tal modo è tal deffesa le ditte guardie debian fare. Senza paura io 'spetto uno a uno, e non posso fallire nè taglio nè punta nè arma manuale che mi sia lanzada, lo pe' dricto ch'i ò denançi acresco fora de strada, e cum lo pe' stancho passo ala traversa del arma che me incontra rebatendola in parte riversa. E per questo modo fazo mia deffesa, fatta la coverta subito farò l'offesa."

"I am waiting for these three in this guard, Dente di Cinghiaro. I could wait in other guards as well - like Left Posta di Donna or Left Posaa di Finestra - and still be able to defend as I would from Dente di Cinghiaro. Each of these guards use this defence. I'll wait for my opponents one by one, without feat or failure from any cut, thrust or handheld weapon thrown at me. I'll preform an accrescimento with my leading right foot, pass obliquely against the opponent's weapon and beat it to his left side. After making my parry, I'll instantly attack." - Tom Leoni

Here we are told to again beat away attacks from all of the left guards. We are told to beat the weapon to his left side, while passing obliquely and while covered from his weapon attack. This text virtually duplicates the text from the sword in one hand and repeats ideas we have seen in the spear and mounted sections.

That is, Fiore has told us to beat all manner of weapons making all manner of attacks away and to the outside. These beats are often given with instruction to preform a step with the front foot fora di strada and a pass ala traversa (which I take as instruction to pass away from the weapon or in to the man - or both) under cover and to then strike with a turn of the sword. We are even told that these beat actions should occur on the middle of the opposing weapon. These instructions are repeated and explicitly defined though the manuscripts. With the exception of the specific plays of coplo del villanoscambiare de punta, punta falsa, and posta frontale vs high thrusts we see no other form of initial parry or cover action described with any detail anywhere.

It is clear to me, given the often verbose instruction and frequency of Fiore's use of beats that this method of defence is critically important to this art. No other form of parry is defined or outline with this level of detail. In both stretto and largo we find our selves shown a number of crossings along with a great deal of plays from them but are given no instruction as to how to get there. It is my postulation that this rebatter is largely the mechanism by which you find your self in these positions. Fiore spills much ink describing the actions of the beat and the expected results. Could these many plays shown be the result of beats which did not have the perfect outcome? Could the text in these plays is describing methods to deal with these unsuccessful beats?

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Coverta within Fior Di Battaglia - Tutta Porta di Ferro

Here we begin the sword in two hands.

Sort of. Really, I am going to skip some stuff and come back later. The part I am skipping is possibly Fiore's most important text on fighting with a sword, so it deserves its own place. I will continue by looking at Tutta Porta di Ferro, on v23, where something quite peculiar strikes me:
"Qui cominzano le guardie di spada a doy man e sono XII guardie. La prima si è tutta porta di ferro che sta in grande fortezza e si è bona di 'spetar ogn’arma manuale longa e curta e pur ch’el habia bona spada non una di troppa longheza. Ella passa cum coverta e va ale strette. Ela scambia le punte e le soy ella mette. Anchora rebatte le punte a terra e sempre va cum passo e de ogni colpo ella fa coverta. E chi in quella gli dà briga grande deffese fa senza fadiga."
"Here begin the guards of the sword in two hands, which are twelve. The first one is Tutta Porta di Ferro, very strong and good for waiting against any handheld weapon (long or short), provided that your sword is of good quality and not too long. This guard parries, passes and comes to the close. She can exchange thrusts and deliver her own. She can also beat thrusts to the ground, always proceeding with a pass and parrying any kind of attack. She can defend without much effort against anyone who picks a fight with her." - Tom Leoni

Now this is interesting. This guard parries, passes, and comes to the close. It can exchange thrusts. It beats thrusts to the ground. Always with a pass and parrying of any kind of attack. Let's take a look at each bit.

It can exchange thrusts. This seems clear enough, and on v26 we have a play and a follow-on play telling us exactly what to do. This is a largo play of course, so it doesn't come to the close like we have been told; however, it does preform a parry and pass. The follow-on play involves a second pass and though in the largo section, it is very much a close play.

It beats thrusts to the ground. My reading of this is the play of breaking the thrust in v26 and r27. The play here tells us to use the same parry and pass from the exchange and it also speaks of beating thrusts to the ground and then immediately go to the close play. This seems quite in line with Fiore's instruction to parry, pass, and close.

It always proceeds with a pass and parry of any kind of attack. This seems to be tied to beating thrusts to the ground but I get caught up on the 'any kind of attack' part. To me this bit is part of the more general instruction that Tutta Porta di Ferro parries, passes and comes to the close. I can only read this instruction to mean that if covering a cut from here, one should enter stretto, covering with a pass, and look to preforming a close play. With this thought in mind let's jump forward to r39 and the plays with the spear.
"Noi semo tre magistri in guardia cum nostre lanze e convegnemo pigliare quelle dela spada. E io son lo primo che in tutta porta di ferro son posto per rebatter la lanza del zugador tosto, zoè che passarò cum lo pe' dritto ala traversa fora de strada, e traversando la sua lança rebatterò in parte stancha. Sì che llo passar e llo rebatter se fa in un passo cum lo ferire, questa è chosa che no se pò fallire."
"We are three Masters in guard with out lances, and we aptly take the guards of the sword. I am the first who is set in Tutta Porta di Ferro to quickly beat away the lance of the opponent; I will pass obliquely out of line with the right foot, and crossing his lance I will beat it away to the left. As long as you pass and parry in an[a] single step with your strike, this action cannot fail." - Tom Leoni
Again we see this pass and parry action. Interestingly, we are given a few more titbits here. First, we are again instructed to beat away the attacks. We are then told that the passing step is 'obliquely out of line' and to cross and beat the attack away. And finally that this passing, crossing, and beating should all occur in one tempo.

Bringing these ideas together, it seems Fiore is telling us to always cover from Tutta Porta di Ferro with a pass of the right foot while beating the opposing weapon to the left in one tempo. The only given exception to this is given when defending a thrust from a sword, where by you first accresimento and then may elect to exchange rather then beat.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Coverta within Fior Di Battaglia - Sword in One Hand

Before departing the mounted section and turning to look at the sword in one hand I want to draw your attention to one last thing. It's small and tucked away, but I believe it is a key phrase and plan to come back to this idea after a throughout examination of the plays of the sword. This is found in r43.

"pò covrir e ferir in un voltar di spada"
"that is, parrying [cover?] and striking with a single turn of the sword" - Tom Leoni

This is the follow on bit of text after Fiore has instructed us to beat a lance aside. You parry/cover and strike with a turn of the sword. There are two things I want to draw out of this. First is whether or not the covrir portion is talking about the initial beat action or if this is something you do after the beat? If it is simply the beating action then Fiore has just linked the words covrir and rebatte together and as such may have far reaching implications through the manuscript. While I am not ready to call all covers beats, it is an interesting hypothesis. The second part that makes this interesting is how Fiore describes the strike as a single turn of the sword. To me, this implies that the "up-down" beat-dritto action seen demonstrated often by many may not be quite what is described. Instead one should seek to beat the attack away and then turn the sword and cut, in this case the action would be beat-reversi. My wife calls this a "ribbon cut" as the sword travels a path like one of those cancer ribbons in the air.

Moving along into the sword in one hand section on r20.

"E in quello passare incroso rebattendo le spade ve trovo discoverti e de ferire vi farò certi. E si lanza o spada me ven alanzada, tutte le rebatto chome t’ò ditto passando fuora di strada, segondo che vedreti li miei zochi qui dreto, de guardagli che v'in prego."
"I'll cross and beat away your swords, find you open, and strike you for sure. Go on and throw a sword or a spear at me, and I'll beat them all away as I've described, passing at an angle as you will see from my plays, which come just ahead." - Tom Leoni

Here, we see the master standing in Posta Coda Lunga on the left standing against all manner of attacks. Again, we are very clearly told to beat the attacks away with no mention of any other action. Looking to v20, r21 and v21 we are again told a number of times to beat the attack.

"Quello che à ditto lo magistro io l’ò ben fatto: zoè ch’io passai fora de strada facendo bona coverta."
"I've followed to the letter what my Master said. I have passed at an angle making a good parry" - Tom Leoni
"Tu mi zitassi una punta e io la rebatei a tera"
"You attacked with a thrust and I beat it to the ground." - Tom Leoni
"Questo mi trassi per la testa, e io rebatei la sua spada."
"This one attacked my head, and I beat his sword away" - Tom Leoni

Making a good parry, as I followed what my Master just described. Well, the Master just described a beat, so I can only take that this could read, I have passed at an angle making the beat described on r20. Following this are a number of other plays that reference this same play of the Master, all there by deriving from a rising beat out of Coda Longa. On r21 and v21 we are again told to beat the sword down or away. Again there is never a single mention of any other sort of parry, collection, stop or deflection. Fiore's instruction is often to beat and is other wise silent.

Once again I believe it is safe to say that Fiore's advice is to beat away attacks. Particularly Coda Longa on the left we are to beat away all forms of attack; thrusts, cuts or throws. In neither the mounted section nor the sword in one hand section is there any instruction of any form of cover or parry that is not a beat. There are a few mentions of parry/cover which are left undefined and not directly linked back to instruction to beat.

Throughout the sword in one hand section, it could be reasonably said that all of the plays fall into one of a few categories. Those categories are: beaten aside, failed beat (resulting in one of a number of binds or yields), follow on plays or special play with explicit instruction. While this could be said of other parrying devices, it does hold for Fiore's instruction to make an initial beat and there is no need to add extra devices. Next I will begin the two handed sword section, where things are not quite as clear.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Coverta within Fior Di Battaglia - Part 2

Continuing in the mounted plays, examining the parry. I started in the mounted section for a few reasons. Firstly, it seems this section contains a great deal of general instruction. Secondly, Fiore begins with mounted plays in two of his manuscripts. Third, I wanna.

Let us examine his first words on mounted play, r39.

"e si ò curta lanza più che lo compagno e si fazo rasone de rebatter sua lanza fora de strada zoè ala traversa overo in erto"
"and I count on beating his lance aside, ether obliquely or [Morgan: but not] upward, I will end up with an arm's length of my lance crossing and arm's length of his." - Tom Leoni

We are told to beat the lance away. Specifically we are to cross an arm's length of my lance to an arm's length of his. Which, given the lances depicted tells us that this beat is preformed approximately middle to middle. We are given no other instruction on how to defend - simply cross, middle to middle and beat obliquely - to the side. Here we see a possible word error in the Getty, as it states 'or upwards', however later it contradicts this advice and the Morgan tells us 'but not upward'. On v41 we see.

"Questo è un altro portar de lanza contra lanza. questo magistro à curta lanza e sì la porta in posta de donna la sinistra como voy vedete, per rebatter a ferir lo compagno."
"Anchora questo magistro porta la sua lanza in posta de donna la sinistra per rebatter la lanza che lo compagno gli vole lanzare. E quello rebatter ch'ello vole cum la lanza fare, quello cum uno bastone o curta spada far lo poria."
"This is another way to carry the lance against another lance. This Master has a short lance and carries it in Left Posta di Donna, as illustrated, to parry [beat] and strike."
"This Master also carries his lance in Left Posta di Donna to beat away the lance that his opponent is about to hurl at him. He could also preform the same defence with a staff or a short sword." - Tom Leoni

I curious about Tom's translation here, as the text clearly says 'rebatter', or 'beat'. So this becomes "beat and strike" not parry. Again, it seems we are told to beat. Further we are told that this beat will also work with a staff or short sword. Again we are given more general instruction and we are told to beat and then strike. More on r42.

"in dente di zenghiaro cum sua lanza, overo in posta di donna la sinistra, e rebatter e finire come si pò far in lo primo e in lo terzo çogho de lanza."
"Questo portar de spada contra lanza è molto fine per rebatter la lança cavalcando de la parte dritta dello compagno."
"in Dente di Cinghiaro with his lance, or in Left Posta di Donna; he could parry and strike as is possible in the first and third plays of the lance"
"This position of the sword against a lance is very good to parry [beat] the lance as you ride to the opponent's right side." - Tom Leoni

Again Tom translated rebatter to parry, instead of beat. If we use beat here then we are told to use the same beat and parry action from Dente di Cinghiaro that we were just told to use. Further we are told to do the same with a sword. Moving into the sword vs sword mounted plays on v43 we see.

"Anchora questa propria guardia de choda longa si è bona quando uno gli vene incontra cum la spada a man riversa come vene questo mio inimigo. E sapia che questa guardia è contra tutti colpi de parte dritta e di parte riversa, e contra zaschun che sia o dritto o manzino. E qui dredo cominzano gli zoghi di coda longa che sempre rebatte per lo modo ch'è ditto denanzi in prima guardia de coda longa."
"This same guard of Coda Lunga is good when the opponent comes with his sword on the riverso side, as does this one. Bear in mind that this guard counters all the blows both on the mandritto and the riverso side, and is usable against right - or left-handed opponents. We will now see the plays of Coda Lunga, from which you always parry [beat] as I have described in the first illustration of the guard." - Tom Leoni

So here we are told Coda Lunga can parry everything, any attack, from any opponent. We are further told exactly how to do this in the first illustration. To recap, beat and then strike. So far, the entire mounted section we have been told to beat away the attack. Lance or sword against all attacks. Moving on, r44.

"Questo è lo primo zogho che esse de la guardia de coda longa ch'è qui denanzi, zoè ch'ello magistro rebatte la spada dello suo inimigo, e mettigli la punta in lo petto, o vole in lo volto come qui depento."
"Questo si è lo segondo zogho ch'è pur di quello rebatter, io fiero costuy sopra la testa che vezo ben ch'ello non è armado la testa"
"This is the first play deriving from the guard of Coda Lunga, which we just saw: the master parries [beat] the opponent's sword and places his point in the opponent's chest or face as illustrate here."
"This is the second play, in which from a similar beating aside of the opponent's sword, I strike the opponent over the head, since I have observed that he is not wearing head armour." - Tom Leoni

I will not quote the rest of the sections on the sword plays here, as almost every single one contains the word beat. Fiore never once tells us to parry any other way, and constantly, repeatedly tells us to beat attacks away. I find my self in conclusion that, in as far as the mounted section is concerned, you defend your self with beats. I am aware that he has talked a lot on left sided guards, Coda Lunga, left Posta di Donna and Dente di Cinghiaro in particular. Thus far we have been provided very clear, explicit instruction on how to beat an attack away. Further we have been given no other instruction on how to parry, cover, deflect, stop or otherwise.

Next up I am going to jump into Sword in One Hand and see what Fiore has to say.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Coverta within Fior Di Battaglia - Part 1

I was once, a long time a go asked the simple and unassuming question, "What is a parry." I stared at the person who asked dumbfound as this person knew damn well what a parry was! The I started to explain what I thought a parry was and how to form such a parry - mostly using language like "move into frontale" and "don't parry wide".

He stopped me and said, "No, I mean what is a parry, according to Fiore." It took many weeks for this to percolate in my brain sufficiently long to realise I really didn't have an answer which I could back up with actual text from Fiore's manuscripts. It took many more weeks to cope with the fact that what I was doing may or may not be what Fiore means when he uses the term coverta, often translated to parry or cover - depending on the translator.

When I am presented this sort of question, there is only really one thing to do - pull out the manuscripts and the assorted translations of which I have access to. So, off I went to dispel my ignorance and find out what, exactly Fiore says and try to puzzle out what he means. This chase eventually lead me to r43 of the Getty.

"Questo cum la spada 'spetta questo cum la lanza e sì lo 'spetta cum dente di cenghiaro, come quello cum la lanza gli vene apresso lo magistro cum la spada rebatte sua lanza in fora inverso parte dritta. E chossì pò far lo magistro cum la spada, ch'ello pò covrir e ferir in un voltar di spada."
"This swordsman waits for the lance in Dente di Cinghiaro. As the opponent with the lance approaches him, the Master beats the lance aside to the right. The master can easily do this action with this sword - that is, parrying and striking with a single turn of the sword."- Tom Leoni
Here we can see Fiore links the terms beats (rebatte) and parrying (covrir). Essentially, he is calling the beat a parry. Thus we can conclude that beats are parries or covers. Which of course does not imply they are the only parries. We are also fortunately given very explicit instruction on how to preform just such an action on the page preceding this. v43 of the Getty.

"E tente ben a mente che le punte e li colpi riversi si debano rebatter in fora, zoè, ala traversa e non in erto. E li colpi de fendente, si debano rebatter per lo simile in fora, levando un pocho la spada dello suo inimigo,"
"Bear in mind that thrusts and riversi must be beaten to the outside, that is, sideways, and not upward; fendenti should similarly be beaten to the outside, lifting slightly the opponent's weapon." - Tom Leoni
Here we are given explicit instruction on how to beat almost any attack. More explicit than anything else I have found in the manuscript on how to perform a parry, outside of the copli de villano and scrabulare du punta plays. Those being explicitly called out to only apply to specific situations. In a future post I will explore the use of a beat in the rest of the mounted section and perhaps other places in the manuscript which it is found.