Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – Counter to the 8th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 v. c


I do the counter of the play that came before me. You will not take my dagger because I will push you onto my dagger with my left hand, and with the cruel tip, I will hurt you for your trouble.


There is a delightful kind of humour about this counter, which is very appealing. It is fast, simple, and has a malicious punchline.

Against your fendente strike, your opponent has jammed the attack with a hooking block, as shown by the 1st master. As described by the 8th scholar, they are then reaching up to grab your dagger blade and twist it out of your hand.

Keeping your right hand as a fixed point in space, drop your hips, pushing forward with the left. If your left hand is relaxed, it will automatically pivot from the elbow, swinging forward and up. As it does so, grab your opponents wrist. With a sharp jab, drive their hand onto the dagger point.

This is by no means a finishing move. The exact effect will vary depending on your opponents pain threshold and level of intent. At an absolute minimum, their body will tense up in shock for a full second. Their hands will pop open, they will be momentarily frozen, and they will probably be swearing violently.

All of this adds up to the perfect opportunity to continue with the five things you must do to finish a fight. Be assertive in making the most of this.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 8th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 v. b


I take the dagger out of your hand because I am well placed, and I will push the tip up next to your elbow. And you will lose it, and I will wound you with it straight away. Because I cannot bend the arm, I will do such a dagger disarm.


Against a fendente stab, you make the cover of the 1st master. Make a hooking block with your left hand. Scoop it under the attacking dagger, leading with the thumb. Roll the hand so it is palm up. Contact your opponents wrist with the ‘hook’ at the connection between the base of your own thumb and your wrist. As soon as you contact, roll the wrist over to grab your opponents forearm. This is a very smooth motion. There should be no clashing of the arms.

As you grab your opponents wrist with your left hand, grab the dagger blade with your right, as shown in the picture. Tuck your left elbow in and pull it back to your hip. As you pull with your left hand, push down and forward with your right.

This will cause the dagger to rotate in a vertical plane around a point midway along the blade, until it is stripped from the hand. Your opponent will be pulled forward off balance.

Use your right hand to make a hammerfist strike. Ideally, the dagger tip will be extending out the bottom of the fist. Hit them in the eyes or throat with it. The fact that they are falling forward will add greatly to the impact.

Your opponent will be hurt and momentarily stunned. Take the opportunity to get a better grip on your new dagger and set yourself up to complete the finishing combination of five things you must do.

Conceptually, this play is very similar to the following.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – Counter to 7th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 v. a


Regarding the play that is before me, where you wanted to break my arm over your shoulder. For that play, I do this counter to you. With great force I will throw you to the ground. I will break you and kill you so that neither to me nor others will you ever more do this injury.


Against your overhead strike, you opponent has made the play of the 7th scholar of the 1st master. They have caught your right hand in a hooking block. Pivoting around, they are attempting to break your right elbow over their left shoulder. This action will twist your forearm over so that it is palm up. It is critical that you turn this back over.

If you try to pull away, you are lending more advantage to your opponent. Move your right foot forward, and drop as much weight onto it as you can. Punch your right hand forward through your opponents grip, twisting the hand as you go, so that it is palm down. This will achieve two things. It will unlock the elbow, allowing it to bend normally. It will also move the pivot point of your opponents lever from your elbow up to the relatively safe armpit.

You are now holding your opponent from behind, as well as pushing them slightly forward. Grab anything you can near their right hip, and clamp your right hand tight against their body. Keeping your back straight, drop into a deep squat. You are pulling your opponents weight to sit on your thighs and hips. With your left hand, scoop out your opponents back leg. This is the point shown in the picture.

Lift your left hand up. As their body is pulled forward and down, and their leg is pulled up and back, your opponent will momentarily and uncomfortably balance on one leg. Once they tip past that point, their front leg will slip out behind them.

At that moment, straighten your legs, throwing your opponent up as much as possible. Then let go of everything, dropping them horizontally in a body slam. They will be left lying face down at your feet and completely at your mercy.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 7th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 r. d


Because of the good grip that I have made against you, I will not fail to break your arm over my left shoulder. And then, I will wound you with your own dagger, and this play will not fail me.


With your opponent attempting an overhead strike, you make the cover of the 1st master. Keeping your left hand open, with the palm up, strike to the inside of the wrist of your attackers right hand with the hook at the base of your thumb. Keep your elbow in and do not overextend your arm. The most dangerous part of this play is the potential to drive your hand against the tip of the incoming dagger. Take care to move under it.

The instant you make contact, roll your right hand over, grabbing the wrist. Keeping your forearm at 45 degrees and your hand at shoulder height, pull your elbow back into your core so that it rests gently against your ribs.

Keeping your left elbow still, move your hand in an anticlockwise circle in front of you. At the bottom of the circle reach across with your right hand. At this point, your left hand should be palm up, and your right, palm down. Grab onto your opponents forearm and start the upswing of the circle.

As the hands start to lift, pivot on your left foot and arc your right foot behind you. Turn 180 degrees and slide your left shoulder gently under your opponents elbow. Your opponents right hand should now be palm up and their elbow locked.

Up until this point, all your movements have been soft, circular and flowing. You now suddenly shift to linear movement. Brace your legs, straighten your back and keep your elbows in. While you push up with your shoulder, forcefully pull both your hands down to your right hip.

With a loud crack, your opponents elbow will be ripped apart. The dagger will fly from their hand as the picture demonstrates. You are free to leave it where t falls or pick it up and use it to finish off your opponent. Whatever you choose to do, your opponent will be in a world of pain, completely unable to prevent it.

A similar elbow break across the shoulder appears in the following.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – Counter to the 6th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 r. c


This is the counter of the play which came before which is known to be stronger. And I will turn him with my left hand. Having turned him, I cannot fail to wound him.


Against a downward stab, your opponent has blocked the attack with posta porta di ferro dopia as the 6th scholar. By rolling their left hand over your wrist, they can transition to any of the scholars of the 1st master.

In the moment of being blocked, you have a chance to continue the attack from another direction. Your opponent will be directing the line of force through their right forearm up and forward in opposition to your attack. This momentarily leaves their elbow exposed and relatively weak in the lateral plane. If they dont keep their elbows in, then all the better for you, as your new target will be that much more open.

Reach out with your left hand to cup your opponents right elbow. You do not want to overextend your arm. Keep your own elbow in and no further than a hand span from your body. Step through with your left foot while their attention is still focused on the dagger. This is the moment shown.

As your left foot grounds onto the floor, push forward with your hip. Use this hip motion to violently shove your opponents right elbow up towards their left shoulder. This will turn them and jam up both of their arms. If you like, you can even hold the elbow and lock your arm in place, making them that much more immobile.

Before they recover, you will have at least one free strike at any target you choose in an arc from one shoulder to the other. You could also strike under their arms with a low mandritto to their left ribcage or abdomen. As with all dagger attacks, having made the first strike, press your advantage home and follow up with as many more as you can manage.

The elbow push can also be seen in the following plays.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 6th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 r. b


This cover is known to be stronger, and because of this I use it with several plays. And such strength you cannot overcome, because two arms can oppose one very well.


Rather than giving an individual technique as such, the 6th scholar gives an alternative method of making the master cover. While the master cover typically uses a hooking block with a single hand, here you brace your left hand with your right to make a high posta tutta porta di ferro dopia.

As Fiore points out, the advantage of bracing your arm like this is to add strength to your cover. The most likely reason to use it is against an opponent who is physically much larger or stronger than yourself.

The left hand moves in the same way as the 1st master, but you use your right hand to brace the wrist. Although the picture shows the left elbow held high, this is mechanically weak. In practice you do not want to lift it any higher than usual. Having made the cover, let your right hand drop away and transition to any of the plays of the 1st master.

Dagger - 1st Master, Uncategorized

Dagger – Counter to the 5th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 r. a


The counter for this, I will do to you, so that you do not take my dagger or bind my arm, and my dagger and I will remain at liberty. And then I will wound you in such a way and manner that you will not have a defence for this.


Having attempted to stab your opponent, they have used the play of the 5th scholar of the 1st master of dagger against you. They are going to put you in a high bind unless you act quickly.

With your left hand, push forward against your right as the picture shows. You must be fast to do this before the bind locks on. This will brace your arm so that you have a mechanical advantage, and prevent it from being folded back. The counter master tells us that he will then wound the player, but does not give any details as to how. Several options present themselves as easy plays to flow on to.

Counter to the 1st master of dagger. Swing the dagger over the top of the opponents left arm so that it points off to your right. Using your left hand to add force to the motion, you should be able to break your right arm free of your opponents grip. You will then be well positioned to strike with a mandritto into your opponents ribcage under their left arm.

Counter to the 2nd scholar of the 1st master of dagger. Move the point of the dagger so that it rests against your opponents right arm. Use the leverage that your left hand provides to push it into them. Their arm will give way, allowing you to continue with a finishing strike.

7th scholar of the 2nd master of sword in two hands. Having reached the picture point, there will be a tendancy for this play to devolve into something of a wrestling match. With everyones attention focussed on the dagger and the bind, your opponent will be left wide open for a groin kick. Drive one into them. This will completely disrupt their structure, allowing you to continue the attack.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 5th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 11 v. d


I am the scholar of the first remedy master of dagger. And with this grip I want to take your dagger and bind your arm. And I do not believe that you know how to counter this, so I will do this to you without delay.


This play is thematically the same as the scholar of the 2nd master of dagger. Although the actual mechanics of manipulating the arm are a little different, both plays lock the dagger arm by bending it back on itself.

As the 5th scholar, use the master cover by making a hooking block against your opponents right wrist with your left hand. Try to catch it as early as possible, while the hand is still quite high. As soon as you make contact, use the ulnar edge of your right forearm to strike inside the crook of your opponents elbow, as shown. You are aiming to hold the hand still in space, while catching the movement of the arm, exaggerating its motion.

Pull down with your right arm, locking it against your body. Step through with your left foot and push forward with your left hand as you do so. Keep pushing your opponents hand, bending it down behind their shoulder. This will force them to their knees. You can either bind and hold them, or strip the dagger with your left hand and continue your attack.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – Scholar of the 2nd counter to the 1st master

Folio 11 v. c


This is a counter which is not mine. It is a play of the counter which is above me, namely, the second counter remedy that has bound with his dagger the hand of the player and he says he can stab the dagger in the players back. I know how to make his play. He said to stab in the back but I put it in his chest. His play can be finished either way you choose.


This play flows on as an alternative end to the 2nd counter to the 1st master. To arrive at this point, you have attacked your opponent with a fendente. Your opponent has made the cover of the 1st master. Using the 2nd counter, you pin your opponents wrist between your dagger and your arm. By then cutting down to your left, you will turn your opponent around. Slide your left hand off your dagger and grab your opponents wrist with it, while your right hand chambers the dagger for a second strike. This is the position shown.

The 2nd counter master strikes with another fendente into the opponents back. As the scholar tells us, you can also strike with a roverso into your opponents chest. You could just as easily put it into your opponents throat or face. The option you choose will be dependant on how far they turn, as this will expose different targets.

It is worth noting that the 3rd counter to the 1st master will also finish in a similar position, and will also have the same options to deliver the finishing blow.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 3rd counter to the 1st master

Folio 11 v. b


I am also a counter to the first remedy master of dagger. With the grip that his student makes to me, I am going to hurt him. And if he wants to try other plays against me, I will counter them without delay.


Having attacked your oppponent with a fendente stab, they have made the cover of the 1st master using a hooking block against you. To counter this, keep your feet still and pivot your left hip forward, making a hooking block of your own.

Always keeping your elbow in close, sweep your left forearm horizontally across your body, then leading with your thumb, swing the hand up and back across to your left. Catch your opponents wrist with the curve which forms at the base of your thumb. As you make contact, roll your hand over their wrist. This is the moment shown in the picture.

Continue the momentum of your left hand so that your elbow is against your ribs, your arm is bent at 90 degrees, and your hand is at shoulder height. Your left hip should be slightly forward. As you make this movement, draw your right hand back to your shoulder to chamber it for a second strike.

Push your right hip forward and pull your left back. Keep your left hand still relative to your body. Use the motion to pull your opponent off balance. With your right hand, you can strike with a fendente anywhere from the kidneys to the neck. Alternatively, you can pull your opponent into a roverso strike into their face or throat.