Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 1st Master

Folio 10 v. a

Translation

I am the First Master and called the remedy. Because it is a remedy to so much, I say that in understanding this remedy, you cannot hurt me and that I can strike and hurt you. And for this, I cannot do better. I will send your dagger to the ground by turning my hand to the left side.

Explanation

Because the rondel dagger used in armizare is essentially an extension out the base of the fist, it is by necessity a very close range weapon. The further away the attacker is, the easier the role of First Master becomes. Not only will there be less power in the attack, but the extra distance will give you more time to react, and it will increase the angle between the atttackers forearm and their dagger blade, providing easier access to your target.

As the First Master, drive your forearm up, with the line of your forearm being at 45 degrees to the floor. You are aiming for your own wrist to contact the wrist of the player at the apex of their strike. By putting a steep angle on you forearm, even if you miss the grab, you will still deflect the attack.

Lead with an open hand. Be aware that your main danger is driving your own hand onto the tip of the players dagger. Keep your fingers together with the thumb held closely to the hand. Open fingers catch on things and are easily damaged. Your palm faces towards you. The shape of your hand at the base of your thumb will make a hook for the players wrist to slot into.

As soon as contact is made, roll your hand over and grab on as shown. Doing the block in this manner will not only make for a much smoother motion than simply punching your hand out, but it also generates a degree of torque. You can build on the momentum begun by rotating your forearm in an anticlockwise direction. Keep your palm now facing down, and bring your elbow close to your hip. This will lever the dagger out of the players hand, and also leave them wide open for your own counterstrike.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 1st counter to 1st master

Folio 10 v. b

Translation

I will give my dagger a turn around your arm. And for this reason, you will not take the dagger away from me. And also with this turn there is no doubt I will strike it into your chest.

Explanation

With your opponent acting as the 1st Master, they have grabbed your wrist and are attempting to bring it under control by pulling it in a tight arc which goes to the outside of the body and downward.

Rather than resisting this, allow your arm to be carried along, and build on the momentum it generates. Roll your wrist in a clockwise motion lifting your dagger tip over the top of your opponents forearm as shown. Allow this movement to expand into your own forearm and then drive your dagger under your opponents arm. Your wrist will break out of your opponents grip in the gap between their little finger and the base of their thumb, and will slide straight into their ribcage.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 1st scholar of 1st Master

Folio 10 v. c

Translation

In the middle bind I will put your arm so that you will not make me any trouble. And if I want to slam you to the ground it is little bother to me, and you will not escape without difficulty.

Explanation

As the 1st scholar, you are applying a ligadura mezana (middle bind). Start as the 1st Master with a hooking block to the wrist of your opponents attacking hand. Where the Master grabs and controls the hand, however, you apply the bind.

At the end of the hooking block, your forearm and upper arm form a 90 degree angle. Your elbow should be no further than a hand span from your ribs, and your hand should be level with your shoulder. This is structurally the strongest position for you to be in.

Without pausing, keep the momentum of your movement going. Move your hand in an anticlockwise circle, pivoting around the elbow to arrive back at the position just described. This should strip the weapon from your opponents hand. The picture shows the scholar mid way through this movement.

As much as possible, keep your elbow still, relative to your body. You will have to extend it a little to twist it over your opponents arm, however, if you overextend your elbow, it will weaken your structure, leaving you open to a counter. To keep the motion smooth, on the downward arc roll your hand palm down, and then roll it palm up on the upward arc.

As you are doing this, step up with your back foot, and then forward with your left, stepping into your opponent. This will push them off balance and maintain your advantage. As you lock your arm back into position and the bind takes effect, your opponent will arch their back and tip off balance to your left side. This will leave them exposed all down the front for you to deliver a strike.

Your most dangerous point in this technique is the moment in time captured in the drawing. The two players are structurally quite equal here. As the scholar, you hold the advantage by virtue of your momentum and capacity to return to a strong position. The whole play (essentially two consecutive hooking blocks) needs to be completed in a single smooth action.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – Counter to 1st scholar of 1st Master

Folio 10 v. d

Translation

I will do the counter to the play that came before me. You can see the position I leave him in. I will break the arm and throw him to the ground quickly.

Explanation

Having attempted to apply a ligadura mezana, the 1st scholar has over extended their elbow, losing conrol of their timing and momentum at the point of their greatest structural weakness. As the Counter Master, you exploit that weakness by countering with a ligadura sottano (lower bind).

Lock your elbow close to your body, and turn your left hip forward, reaching across with your left hand, bracing your right. This will break the scholars momentum, put you into a solid balanced stance, and allow you to go on the offensive. Timing is critical. This needs to happen at the very moment depicted by the 1st scholar.

Step forward so that your right hip pushes underneath their left. You have now stolen their centre. As you do this, turn your right hip forward. This will twist your opponent clockwise pushing their left hand into the small of their back and leaving you both facing the same direction. To complete the ligudura sottano, keep your back straight, your elbows in, and push down on the back of the shoulder. Depending on exactly how you hold yourself here and adjust your leverage, you can tear all the ligaments off the front of the shoulder socket.

You can step forward and kneel on your right knee, driving their head forward and into the ground. Alternatively, you can make a volta stabile and kneel on your right knee, which will spin them in a circle. Either works equally well. It really more depends on where your momentum is going in the moment, and where you want to put them.

Since you are holding a dagger, before pushing down, place the dagger tip at the base of your opponents skull. As you drop your weight tightening the bind, it will simultaneously push the dagger through the neck.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 2nd scholar of 1st Master

Folio 11 r. a

Translation

This is a good cover for twisting the hand with the dagger. Also from taking this grip I will bind you well and if I place my right hand under your right elbow I will put you to the ground, so well do I know my art.

Explanation

As a note on translation, the text actually says to place your right hand under your opponents right knee. This is not only not what is depicted, but it also makes no sense. I have made the assumption that it is a scribal error and is intended to say elbow.

This is a neat defence which puts an extreme twisting pressure on your opponents right shoulder. Practitioners of karate will recognise this as mawashi uke.

As the 1st Master you have defended against any downward attack with a hooking block. You caught your opponents attacking wrist with the hook formed between your own wrist and the base of your thumb. Then you rolled your hand over, catching their wrist and completing the master play.

As the 2nd scholar, you simultaneously pivot your hips square to the opponent. With your palm up, use your right hand to cup your opponents elbow. Wrap your fingers around to give a firm but gentle grip. Ideally you want your opponents hand directly above their elbow.

Visualising your own hands as being on the top and bottom of a wheel, turn them 180 degrees anticlockwise. Keep your elbows in. You will be mechanically strongest the closer you can do this to your body. Take care, of course, not to impale yourself on your opponents dagger.

You are using your opponents arm as a crank handle. By the time your hands have swapped position, your opponent will be falling to your left.

Complete the throw by holding your left hand still. It should now be at the bottom of your circle, and you can now safely bring it right in to your centre of gravity. Using that as a new pivot point, keep cranking with your right hand in an anticlockwise direction. Step through, either forwards or backwards depending on the momentum of the situation, so that your right foot is forward.

Your opponent will be left lying on their back, with their head at your feet and a badly dislocated shoulder.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – Counter to the 2nd scholar of the 1st master

Folio 11 r. b

Translation

I am the counter to the play that came before me, so that you cannot put me on the ground, nor take my dagger, nor bind me, but you must let go in spite of yourself, or my dagger will wound you at once.

Exaplantion

As you strike your opponent, they make the defence of the 2nd scholar of the 1st master. This involves making a hooking block to your right hand, and grabbing your elbow and spinning them around in a circle. You are in danger of being thrown to the right and having your shoulder dislocated.

Your opponent has the mechanical advantage, so you do not have complete control of your right hand for the moment. In order to complete the throw, your opponent will need to bend their right arm fairly close to their body and step through with their right foot.

Reach forward with your left hand, grab the blade, and direct the point to your opponents arm. Exactly where it lands depends largely on the length of the blade and how much they have bent their arm. It will probably land somewhere on their bicep.

If they continue with the momentum of their throw, they will run themselves onto the point of your dagger. Their only real option is to let go with the right hand and drop it away.

The play ends here. As a possible follow up, you should be well placed to let go of your dagger with the right hand and holding it by the blade with your left hand, strike with a roverso into their face.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 1st master

Folio 11 r. c

Translation

And this is a play without any counter, and it is fitting that the player must necessarily go to the ground. The scholar, as you see him doing here to this player, will put him to the ground and use another way to finish him.

Explanation

This play could just as easily sit within the grappling section. If you have studied your aikido, you will recognise this throw as a form of irimi nage. You will also see it being used by the 1st scholar of the 3rd master of dagger, and by the 7th scholar of the 8th master of horse.

Cover a dagger strike with a hooking block to your opponents wrist as described by the 1st master. Having made the cover, your left hand then takes the relatively passive role of simply keeping the dagger out of the way.

Although the throw appears in the picture to be an aggressive pull on the neck, in practice, it is a very smooth technique with no clashing or pulling involved.

If your opponents left hand is in front , catch it with the back of your right hand and throw it down past your right hip. If the circumstances do not allow for this, then do not go out of your way to chase for it. If the opportunity presents itself, however, it will simultaneously clear a path for you, generate a lot of flow and momentum, and also cause your opponent to react by pulling back slightly.

Step through with your right foot, passing to the left of your opponent. As you do so, stay low in your stance. Bend your right arm, and as you step through, scoop it over your opponents left shoulder. Lead with your thumb and roll your arm to cradle your opponents head in the hollow of your right shoulder underneath your chin.

Once your arm is in place, raise your weight and momentum. You are aiming to throw your opponent not only backwards, but also up at a 45 degree angle.

As your right arm reaches the end of its arc, sink your weight onto your front foot. You should finish in a stance with your right foot forward and your back straight. Your right arm will be gently bent, with the fingertips of your open hand just touching the inside of your knee. All steps described above need to happen in a single flowing movement.

Your opponent will be on their back at your feet. Make a volta stabile and strip the dagger from their hand, then make a second volta stabile while delivering a roverso strike. Drop onto your left knee and sink all your weight onto your front foot as you make contact. Be sure to keep the back straight. The biggest and easiest target should be the centre of their chest. You should be able to generate enough momentum that you hit them hard enough to drive the dagger point out their back.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 4th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 11 r. d

Translation

This play is very little used in the art of the dagger, but it is also a defence, and more for the scholar to learn. Beating the attack in such a way will hurt the player, namely with a counterstrike to the ribs or belly.

Explanation

It is surprsing to see Fiore describe this play as being little used, because it is one of the simplest plays in the entire Fior di Battaglia.

As your opponent strikes, reach out toward them and catch the incoming attack with the palm of your left hand. Although described as a beat, it is perhaps more accurate to describe this as a brushing defence. You are not trying to either catch, grab or stop the attack. You are barely even redirecting it. For the most part, you are simply using your left hand to track your opponents dagger. Ensure that it stays to the right of your centreline.

Step with your front foot to the left, which will put you on the outside line. Your right hand is chambered to deliver a counterstrike. A number of options are available to you.

To mention just a few of the many directions you can take from this position, you could punch or strike with a dagger into the ribs or solar plexus as mentioned. You could just as easily counterstrike to the head.

Alternatively, you could grab your opponents wrist with your right hand, slide your left to their elbow, and spin them to the ground with an elbow lock, similar to the 2nd scholar of the 3rd master of dagger.

Equally, you could step through with a neck throw as described by the 3rd scholar of the 1st master of dagger.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 2nd counter to the 1st master

Folio 11 v. a

Translation

I am the counter to the first remedy master of dagger. He badly played the remedy so I was able to take his left hand. And from this grip, I can put the dagger in his back.

Explanation

You are attacking your opponent with a fendente strike and they have defended themselves as the first master of dagger. They have hooked their left wrist under your dagger and then rolled their hand over to catch your wrist. Although they have successfully defended against your initial strike you can still maintain the initiative.

Before they can respond with a suitable play, reach forward with your left hand and grab the point of your dagger. Pull it down against your right forearm, pinning your opponents left wrist between your dagger blade and your arm.

As you do so, turn to the inside and roll your elbows back to your hips with your hands pointing down and forward. It feels like a cutting motion. This will cause your opponent to pivot around as shown. Slide your left hand off your dagger blade to grab your opponents left hand. This will hold them in place long enough to use your, now free, right hand to deliver a second strike. Aim for either the kidneys, the back of the neck, or the armpit.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 3rd counter to the 1st master

Folio 11 v. b

Translation

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.

Explanation

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.

Dagger - 1st Master

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

Folio 11 v. c

Translation

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.

Explanation

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 – 5th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 11 v. d

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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

Folio 12 r. a

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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 – 6th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 r. b

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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

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

Folio 12 r. c

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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 – 7th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 r. d

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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 7th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 v. a

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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 – 8th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 v. b

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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 the 8th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 v. c

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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 – 9th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 v. d

Translation

You are ready to be thrown completely to the ground, and there is no defence or counter that you can do. And I make the dagger go far from your hand, because I know this art with every skill.

Interpretation

Your opponent is bearing down on you for this play to work best. Keeping your back straight, bend your knees, and drop your weight down very low to come right in underneath your opponent. They will be stabbing straight down on top of you.

Make a hooking block to jam the attack. Scoop your left hand underneath the attacking dagger, contacting your opponents wrist with the base of then thumb. As soon as you contact, roll your hand over, grabbing the wrist and absorbing the shock of the strike.

In dropping your weight, push your right hip forward. You cant really get too low for this, and you may even feel your right knee brushing the floor. Use this hip movement to assertively drive your right forearm behind your opponents knee. This will catch their thigh, lifting their foot slightly as shown in the picture. Pull your right arm back to your ribs. This will spin your opponent on the spot, causing them to fall on their back to your left side.

Turn to follow them as they fall. You still control their right hand. As they hit the ground, kneel on them with your right knee, pinning them down. Use your left thigh as a fulcrum for a lever made from their right arm. Push down with your left hand, breaking their elbow. With your right hand, strip their dagger, draw your own, or simply make a fist. Hammer away into their face until they stop moving.

Variations on this sweep can also be seen in the following plays.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – Counter to the 9th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 13 r. a

Translation

What is said here cannot be done every time. I know the counter to the scholar who came before me, who is a great fool. I know how to do it so that my leg is going to stay, and I do it by putting the dagger in his face to show that he is both mad and foolish.

Interpretation

Against your fendente attack, your opponent has defended themselves as the 9th scholar of the 1st master. They have jammed the attack with their left hand using a hooking block, and are trying to scoop out your right leg with their right arm.

They will need to drop their weight down very low to attempt this, as well as swing their arm strongly across the front of their body. Step back with your right foot. As you do so, grab your opponents jacket behind their right shoulder and pull. This will exaggerate their movement, tipping them off balance. This is the moment shown. Your opponents structure is completely disrupted. Overstretched and twisted, they will be stumbling forward to avoid falling forward onto their right shoulder. The cover they make with their left hand will lose all its strength. Turn your hips to the right, pushing your dagger through their collapsing structure and into their face.