The "flower"..a flourish of the blade which provides deception, beauty, edge alignment and many more benefits than first realized. The FLORETE is a movement unique to the Spanish and Filipino martial arts. Other forms of it are seen in some of the Italian blade styles and such, but generally it is not given the attention by these cultures as have the FMA.
Many people upon first seeing it, think it's little more than a means of flashing the spectators, a show-off move with no real value. It is and has been used for that ! So yes, it's an attention getting action in some instances, often this is a beautiful, graceful movement which truly does catch the eye of any beholders. But, also grasp that the FLORETE is not just one motion.
The FLORETE is a generic family of actions which could embrace hundreds, if not thousands of different flowing combinations of moves (strikes). Some schools teach an organized introduction to the Florete action via the training sequences called SEGUIDAS. Usually the Seguida ends with a florete.
The florete is a finishing movement then ? Yes.....but.., true the florete is a finishing movement if you are taught the seguidas and thats what you are given as what it "could be". BUT, there is so much more to it than that ! The florete is a confusing, swirling, twirling, action. So spontaneous and diverse that it's almost impossible to contain an explanation of it in a mere article. It works for stick, knife (large or small) and sword with equal aplomb.
Oh yes, I believe in the florete as a fighting concept, it works. Oh yes, I think every one who is curious about blade fighting should devote some study time to the much maligned and misunderstood FLORETE.
It's strengths are it's abilities to create broken rhythms and gaps in the adversaries defenses. Also it's able to deceive an enemy via it's magnificent capacity to fake or alter the timing of a move. Similarly a florete can change it's course-direction faster than almost any other action. This is not due to the individual techniques used in executing a florete, but in utilizing movements-techniques in a PROPER FLOW. Its the FLOW which one needs to create the multi-directional, highly unpredictable and usually successful florete action(s).
Do you know BACCALAU ? Can you do a seguida ? Do you know any of the Arnis ANYOS ?
Can you do a figure eight with a stick ? Can you do the advanced three part florete for fighting more than two men at once ? I ask because these are all representations of the florete concept in some manner. I'm sure that most of you already know a florete in some regard, but do you really possess the working understanding of the action ? Have you penetrated it's depths via research and experimentation ?
The florete family contains the hidden components of subliminal gestures as well. The very actions of a device such a florete in motion can influence an adversary with no physical contact. The florete is often very pronounced in the FLEXIBLE weapon curriculums of the FMA (Filipino martial arts). (Kerchief training, rope and latigo). The florete is all about flow, the fluid, rolling actions that COME OUT OF one another, simply no stops or reversals...! What better tools to play the florete than those things which can play little else ! Consider the "why" aspect of so many floretes which endeavor to strike or touch the ground. Why, for what purpose ? I encourage you to look beyond the obvious and seek out truths for your self.
The FLORETE is diverse and valuable, it's guise is one of many faces which can see you through many tough spots. Only if the CONCEPT of the florete is understood though, otherwise it's just another set motions like any other martial arts school would teach.
- More at the Figure Eight -