Stewart Sackett wrote:So, in the case of the sword alone does the sword side (right foot) lead or is the left footed stance maintained as the default?
In general, the Bolognese prefer to use (but not exclusively) right foot forward guards with the sword-alone. A look at Dall'Agocchie's techniques for sword-alone will give some ideas as to the preferences--i.e. he uses left-foot-forward guards, but seems to concentrate on the right-foot-forward guards in that he tends to give more actions for them. OTOH, in Manciolino, all of the actions for sword-alone are from Porta di Ferro Stretta (i.e. right foot forward). The Anonimo Bolognese
gives actions for right and left foot forward guards, although I think that it might favor the former somewhat.
In general, if someone asked me for advice on how to "fight sword-alone" in the style of the Bolognese, I'd say to favor right-foot-forward guards, especially Porta di Ferro Stretta (or Porta di Ferro Larga if you wish to make a nice big invitation to induce your opponent to attack first). Then, I'd relegate the left-foot-forward guards for situations where you end up left-foot-forward as the result of the end of an exchange or where you wish to present a different tactical challenge to your opponent. Obviously, this is sort of a simplification, but I don't think it would be totally "wrong" or against the underlying philosophy of the system.
As a point of interest, it is worth looking at a contemporary to the Bolognese--Francesco Altoni, whose manuscript dates from the first half of the 1500s. In this work, Altoni refers to every position with the right foot forward as a 'guard' (guardia) and every position with the left foot forward as an 'assault' (assalto), because (he says), a guard is a defensive position and an assault is a position in which to attack your opponent. In general, all
of Altoni's positions (i.e. guards and assaults) are with the point in presence.