Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 4th scholar of the 4th master

Folio 38 r. a


With my right hand I will give a round turn to your dagger, directing it about next to your arm which I hold. And your dagger will remain in my hand as a pledge. And then I will deal with you again as you are worth.


Against a fendente stab, you jam the attack with the cover of the 4th master by grabbing your opponents right arm using a sword grip

As your opponent draws their hand back, keep the pressure on with your left hand, pushing back toward their face. With your right hand, you are making a variation on a hooking block.

Slide your right hand up. With your thumb well tucked in, catch the blade on the radial edge of the hand, between the base of the first finger and the thumb. This is the moment shown.

Push forward with your right hip, moving your hand in a tight scooping motion on the inside line. This will turn the blade horizontally. Once you get it past about 90 degrees, roll your hand back so that the thumb faces toward you again. Let the dagger blade roll across the back of your hand. Grab the blade and form a fist with the point extending from the base. Strike your opponent in the face with a hammerfist strike.

Between the picture point and the strike is a distance of about 30 cm. You need to be fast and smooth to make it in time. It is an extreme close range technique, and you will be pretty much standing in their space by the end of it.

Whether the dagger is actually stripped from the hand or not is something of a moot point. The turn means that your opponent will have completely lost control of it. If they do manage to keep a firm grip, by pushing on their arm with your left hand, you are effectively making them stab themselves. The right hand mostly just directs the point.

Having stabbed them in the face, you can easily take the dagger by the handle with your right hand. With your left hand, sweep away any remaining defences, and use your newly acquired dagger to make a finishing strike. Continue on with the remainder of the five things you must always do.

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

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 4th master

Folio 14 v, d


When I use the grip of my master, my left hand is under your left elbow. And I quickly put my right hand under your knee so that I can throw you on the ground. And there is no counter you can do to me.


This play works best when you are holding your ground but, nonetheless, are being overrun by an aggressively attacking opponent. In the moments before this play, they will be bearing down on top of you, and you are in a decidedly uncomfortable position.

Against what will appear to be a finishing strike, make the cover of the 4th master. Using a sword grip, jam your opponents forearm. In this, you are absorbing the shock of the attack, rather than manipulating the arm. Although your back, as always, should be straight, you will need to drop your weight as much as possible. You can quite feasibly bend your knees so much that the back knee brushes on the ground. Keep your weight on the balls of your toes.

Drop your right hand and slap it under your opponents thigh. This needs to be done very assertively. Contact the inside of your forearm against the back of their thigh, lifting their foot off the ground. Pull your right elbow back to your right hip, springing up with your legs as you do so. This is the moment shown.

Your opponent will twist and fall on their back to your left hand side. Finish them off before they can recover.

This technique, or a variation of it, can be seen in the following plays.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger –2nd scholar of the 4th master

Folio 14 v. c

  Folio 14 v. c


This is another high bind and is very strong. And I am sure to put you on the ground. And I can dislocate the arm or break it as I choose. To counter me, if you take you right hand with your left, your grip will be good and mine will fail.


The text for this play is not very specific, and the picture shows the arms impossibly knotted. I have interpreted this as a type of shihon nage.

Against an overhead strike, make the play of the fourth master with your hands in a sword grip. The right hand is by the wrist and the left is mid way down the forearm, thumbs towards the hand. Use this block to absorb the shock of the blow. You need to apply the bind as your opponent moves their hand back for a second strike.

This technique is very much a ‘sticky hands’ approach. From the moment of the master play, your hands remain in constant contact, sliding along your opponents arm rather than letting go and grabbing on.

Maintaining contact, roll your left hand over your right and grab the wrist so that your thumbs are against each other. Slide your right hand behind the forearm. Get your own forearm as far down into the crook of their elbow as you can.

Pull your right hand back, locking it against your body. Push forward and down with your left hand. It is not strictly necessary, but you can further increase your grip by rolling your right hand up beneath your left arm and grabbing onto your opponents wrist. This appears to be what Fiore is showing.

The hidden detail of this play is that you are making a first class lever. Your right forearm acts as the fulcrum. As you push the hand down, is raises the elbow and applies pain at the fulcrum point. This will cause your opponent to drop straight to their knees.

The counter is for the player to use their left hand to support their right, and pull their elbow down and back. This applies direct resistance to your leverage and rapidly becomes a contest of strength. Personally, if they tried this, I would kick them in the groin when all their attention was on the hand. You can see in the picture how open they are.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 1st scholar of the 4th master

Folio 12 v. b


This is a high bind that locks you up well. I will take your dagger and throw you on the ground.  Also I say I can dislocate your arm, but if you take your right hand with your left, you could counter me and I must let you loose.


Against an overhead stab, slide to the left slightly, so as to move off the centerline, and defend against your opponents attack as the 4th master. You use a sword grip to jam the forearm with your right hand by the wrist and your left in the middle of the forearm.

As they draw their hand back, you need to move with this momentum. With your left hand, ensure the arm folds back. Maintaining contact with the wrist, roll your right hand across the back of your left, to wrap your fingers over the top of your opponents hand. You will need to push your elbow forward to reach. This is the moment shown.

Let go with your left hand, and with your right cut straight down their spine. Your opponent will collapse backwards on the spot they were standing.

The counter to this move is that the player grabs their right hand with their left, and pulls it back toward the centerline. While doing this, they should keep their right shoulder low, and drive the right elbow up and around in a tight arc aimed at your face.

The twist will return all mechanical advantage to them, and tip you off balance, breaking your grip. The elbow will be extremely distracting at a minimum, and you will need to protect yourself against it. The two movements combined will leave your opponent fully chambered and perfectly placed to deliver a roverso strike to any available target on your right side or centerline.

You will see other variations of this throw in the following plays.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 4th master

Folio 14 v. a


I am the fourth remedy master of dagger who knows the play with this hold. With covers like this, my scholars will injure many. And if I turn to the right and do not let go of your arm, I will take your dagger and I will make trouble for you.


The play of the 4th master is technically simple and instinctive. Against an overhead stab, lunge in with your left foot forward and slightly off line. With both hands, grab the attacking wrist using a sword grip.

Your right hand grabs the wrist and the left supports it by grabbing further down the forearm. Both your thumbs are towards the attackers hand. Stepping offline allows you to move in from a slight angle. You want the dagger blade to point safely off to your right as shown.

The object is to jam and stifle the attack. The earlier you can catch it, the more control you will have over the situation.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – Counter to the 3rd master

Folio 14 r. d


This is the counter to the third remedy master of dagger, who makes the play with the reverse hand. I make this bind against him. Armoured and unarmoured, this is good and secure. And if I do this against someone without armour, I will break the hand and also dislocate it. And the pain will make him fall to his knees at my feet. And if I want to strike him, I can do that easily.


As you strike at your opponent with a reverse strike, they make a hooking block with their right hand, intending to spin around you to your right side so as to attack you from behind as shown by the 3rd master and all his scholars. Counter them like this.

Due to the cover your opponent has made, the point of the dagger will probably be extending over the top of their arm. If it is not, you need to swing it over quickly. Step in close with your left foot. Your opponent will be moving around to your right side. You want to turn as they do, so that you stay facing them.

As you step, reach up with your left hand and grab the tip of the dagger. This forms posta mezza porta di ferro dopia incrosada, with the dagger blade capturing the wrist using a 3rd class lever. This posta cannot make long covers, so you must be very close to your opponent for this to work. This is the moment pictured.

Pivot on your left foot if necessary so as to keep your opponent directly in front of you. Keep your weight low and your elbows in tight, pulling them back and locking your crossed forearms against your centre. Roll your hands down as you do so.

The leverage imposed on your opponents arm will break the wrist and force the forearm to a vertical position. Your opponent will fall to their knees at your feet. With your left hand, let go of the dagger and roll it across to grab the broken wrist. The pain and shock this induces will give you complete control over your opponents movement. It will also free up your right hand, still holding the dagger, and giving you the opportunity to strike them at will.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 5th scholar of the 3rd master

Folio 14 r. c


This is called the lower bind and the strong key. With this bind, armoured or unarmoured, I can kill you, because in all your vulnerable places I can wound you. And having made this bind, you cannot escape. And whoever is caught like this is in trouble and is having a hard time of it, according to what we see drawn in the picture.


The 5th scholar of the 3rd master of dagger makes the culminating point of a subset of plays which are all variations on the lower bind. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th scholars have all made the same entry and starting move, but completed the play before fully locking the bind on. The 5th scholar can be considered the base move of this sub set of plays. If you master this one, you can perform all the others.

Make the cover of the 3rd master, using a hooking block with your right hand to control your opponents left hand, and stepping to the outside of your opponent. Put your left foot slightly behind your opponents front foot. As you step through, place the palm of your left hand against the back of your opponents right shoulder or upper arm.

In a continuous movement, arc your right foot behind you so that you are left facing the direction you came from. This has the sensation of spinning past your opponent. Lift their hips up and out of the way as your right foot lands. You want to occupy the space previously held by their centre of balance.

As your weight anchors onto the floor, push down with your left hand. Keep the momentum of your spin going with your right hand, folding your opponents arm over your left and onto their spine. Although different people will have different amounts of flex in their arms, the higher you can put the hand up the spine, the tighter the bind will be. Your right hand is free for whatever action you feel appropriate and you will be in the position drawn.

Keep your hips pushing against your opponent and keep their head pushed down. To apply pain, lever their elbow up using your left arm. They really are in trouble and having a hard time of it. You can hold your opponent still on the spot. You can run them forward and ram their head into an obstacle, spin them to the ground, or lever their arm up so high that it dislocates the shoulder. You can grab the head with your free hand and knee them, or adjust your distance slightly and kick up into the face. You can either draw your own dagger or steal theirs, and stab them pretty much anywhere you choose.

Fiore points out that you can wound them in all their vulnerable places. They are at your mercy. Be creative.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 4th scholar of the 3rd master

Folio 14 r. b


You lose the dagger because of how I hold you. And when I have removed the dagger I can bind you. And in the lower lock I will give you trouble. That is a key to grappling that I will bind you in. And those who are in this lock cannot escape, but must endure great pain and suffering.


The last four scholars of the 3rd master of dagger perform very similar techniques, which are all essentially variations on the theme of the lower bind.

Against a fendente attack, use your right hand to make a hooking block. Catch your opponents wrist using the base of your right thumb and then roll your hand over to grab the wrist. As you do so, step with your left foot so that it is slightly behind your opponents front foot.

Catching the momentum of your opponents attack, pivot on your left foot, and move your right foot in a clockwise arc, giving you a 180 degree turn. Get in close to your opponent, using your hips to push theirs out of the way and steal their centre. The footwork has a very light skipping feeling to it.

As you spin past your opponent, use your left hand to also grab your opponents wrist and lock it against your core. At the very end of the motion, when your opponent is most off balance, release your right hand and use it to strip the weapon. You should find yourself as shown.

You can now strike with the dagger into your opponents head or back. Alternatively, you can drop the dagger and put your opponent into a lower bind as demonstrated by the 5th scholar

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 3rd master

Folio 14 r. a


This is a hold which has neither a counter nor a defence. And here I can take your dagger and binding you is no problem for me. Dislocating your arm will not give me any touble. You cannot leave without my permission. And I can ruin you at will.


The theme of the 3rd master is to cover and step to the outside. Against a fendente stab, make a hooking block with your right hand. Step through with your left foot. Make sure it gets right up close to your opponents front foot. Pivoting on your left foot, arc your right foot around behind you. Use your hips to push under your opponents hips, and so steal their centre. This all needs to be a very fast, light movement. The footwork is identical to the 2nd scholar of the 3rd master of dagger.

As you arc your foot behind you, roll your right hand over and scoop down. With your left arm, keep it close to your body and grab underneath your opponents elbow and lift up. You want to bend the elbow, not hyperextend it.

Be sure to keep pushing against your opponent with your hips. You need to be standing in their space. Continue the movement of your hands in a circle which has your opponents forearm marking the diameter. Drop your left hand tight to your centre of gravity and with your right hand, lift your opponents forearm to vertical. Maintaining contact with your palm, slide your right hand around on your opponents wrist from a thumb down to a thumb up grip. This is a sticky hand technique. Do not let go while doing it. You should finish in the position drawn.

You can now easily manipulate the lock. Keep the forearm vertical and pinned to your chest with the elbow at your centre of balance. The further you lean forward, the more pressure you will apply to the elbow joint. By adjusting the pressure you apply, you can either hold your opponent in place, apply pain, or tear the elbow joint apart.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 2nd scholar of the 3rd master

Folio 13 v. d


You go to the ground and your arm will be dislocated by the art of my master who is crowned. And there is no counter that you can do. And here I will hold you and make it hard for you.


This elbow pin is an excellent technique to learn. It is simple, fast and adaptable to a wide range of scenarios. It can be used against an unarmoured opponent, or any weapon. If your opponent is leading with their left hand, it works just as well on the opposite side. In the context of this play, you are of course defending against a fendente stab from a dagger.

Pivot on the balls of your feet, push your right hip forward, and make a brushing block with your right hand. Reach out and give yourself lots of space so as to avoid running onto the dagger. Put your thumb under their wrist and your fingers over the top of their hand, pushing the dagger aside.

As they withdraw their hand, step across with your right foot to the outside of your opponents right foot. As you step, grab the hand tightly and pull your right elbow down to your ribs. Sweep your forearm across your body so that the arm is bent at 90 degrees with the hand at shoulder height. This will turn your opponent slightly, allowing you to catch their right elbow with your left hand.

Pivot 180 degrees on your right foot arcing your left foot around so that you are facing the opposite direction. The whole movement from your initial block to this point has a very light feel to it, as if you are skipping past your opponent.

From here you have two options. You can either step straight through with your left foot, or you can continue your circular momentum and arc your right foot behind you. Either way you will end up with your left foot in front.

Push your hips under your opponents hips and steal their centre. As you move your feet, throw your arms down into Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro. You should be in the position drawn in the picture.

Throughout the throw, keep your opponents elbow at your centre of gravity. Control your opponent via their right wrist. Keep the wrist bent inwards and pointing forward. This will create a painful spiralling force all the way down the arm. Depending on how much torque you put on the wrist, you will either lock the arm, apply pain, or start tearing the joints of the wrist, elbow and shoulder.

This technique is also made by the 5th master of dagger.