Baton

Baton – 4th scholar

Folio 8 v. d

Translation

Of the sixth remedy master of dagger who counters in this way with his dagger, I am a scholar. And for his honour I make this cover with a baton. And immediately I rise to my feet and make the plays of my master. This that I do with a baton, I could also do with a hood. The counter of my master is also my counter.

Interpretation

Without a doubt, the 4th scholar of baton is the chillest character in the entire Fior di Battaglia. Against a murderous ambush, he has not even bothered to uncross his legs, let alone get to his feet. He does concede though, that he will get up soon and finish his attacker off using his hat.

Underlying such a humorously quaint first glance is the desperate frenzy of someone fighting for their life. More than any other section, the baton plays are very much applied self defence. Although fighting in the lists provides the context for most of Fior di Battaglia, a great genuine risk to the lives of the target audience is assassination attempts. This is clearly one of them playing out in front of us.

The scholar is taken completely by surprise and uses literally anything within reach to jam the attack. An officers baton would be a reasonable object to have on hand, as would a hood. The idea is not to think of it so much as a weapon necessarily, but more as something to keep you alive long enough to get to your feet and gather your wits.

Surprise attacks like this often happen with lots of intent and little finesse. It is ugly, scrappy fighting and often finished in seconds. The cover of the 6th master of dagger is a fast, instinctive movement which can applied at a number of different angles to ward off the multiple frenzied stabs being directed at you. While doing this, get to your feet as quickly as possible.

Your attacker, having lost the advantage of surprise, will also likely lose most of their courage. Despite facing a dagger armed only with whatever you were able to snatch up in an instant, you now hold the initiative. Use it to pursue any advantage with extreme predjudice.

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