I have been watching a number of bout archives and (as many have noted in other threads), I am fascinated by the - I guess you could say - unconventional stance and guard variations that seem to be primarily used by Italians. Specifically: Paolo Pizzo's stance. What advantages/disadvantages does this type of forward leaning stance have? I would assume that this results in weight shift to the front foot and would facilitate more rapid retreats but as a pretty aggressive fencer, I would think this wouldn't be as effective as it obviously is. So I'm thinking my assumptions are pretty far off. Any insights? Also, I have noticed a bell guard/blade/grip relationship that is likewise perplexing me in terms of what is actually going on and what the advantages/disadvantages would be -- again, primarily in Italian fencers Paolo Pizzo and Marco Fichera. It looks to me that either the bell-guard is rotated so that the longest distance between the blade and rim of the bell-guard is at twelve or one o'clock (as opposed to the more typical 4:30 position) or that the tang is canted so severely that this creates the illusion of the off-set bell-guard (putting the pinkey well below the rim of the BG while leaving a bit of space between the thumb and rim). Does anyone out there do this and, if so, why? Both aspects of my question can be seen in these bouts: Any insights and observations would be greatly appreciated!