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 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 – 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.

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 – 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 – 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 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.