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, Uncategorized

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 – 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 – 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 – 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 – 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, Uncategorized

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 – 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 kokyu 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 – 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 – 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.