Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 7th scholar of the 9th master

Folio 18 v. b

Translation

This scholar who is before me has made the beginning, and I finish the play by sending him to earth as has been described. This play is not part of my art, but I show it to share what others will do.

Interpretation

This play follows directly on from the 6th scholar. Whereas the 6th scholar stripped the dagger from the hand, here you finish the play by instead bending the knee to reach down and scoop up your opponents back foot. Give them a giant wedgie and then throw them off balance into a tangle of arms and legs.

It is interesting to notice Fiore distance himself from the 6th and 7th scholars by very clearly stating that this play is not part of armizare. This technique does appear in other manuals, suggesting it was well recognised. Fiore obviously learned it himself. Quite unlike Fiores own style, however, it is unnecessarily elaborate with a low chance of success in a high risk environment where your prime objective should be to finish things as quickly and thoroughly as possible. He shows us this play because it would be known about, would look good in a choreographed display, and the audience would expect a master to know it.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 6th scholar of the 9th master

Folio 18 v. a

Translation

The grip of my master did not fail me and this player saw that I was not letting go of the grip. And as he pushed the dagger to the ground, I quickly passed his hand between his legs and grabbed it again. And when I had a good grip, I passed behind him. As you can see, he cannot dismount without falling. And I can then do the play that comes after me. My right hand lets the dagger go and takes his foot to throw him completely on the ground  and I cannot fail to take the dagger.  

Interpretation

In this unlikeliest of plays, your opponent begins with a sottano stab. Catch their hand in a sword grip as described by the 9th master. Drop your weight onto the back foot and pull your arms in slightly. This will overextend your opponent. As they pull the dagger back to rebalance themselves, this is your opportunity to act.

Catching the momentum, protect your face with your left hand, and use your right to push your opponents hand down to around knee height. Lunge deeply forward with your left foot. This will drop your weight down, allowing you to push the arm down without bending.

Make sure your lunge carries your front foot past your opponent. As your front foot lands, swing your opponents arm between their legs. Catch their hand with your left. Pivot 180 degrees on the ball of your left foot, swinging your right foot behind you, so that you are left standing behind your opponent facing in the same direction as they are. Their right arm will be between their legs as shown, and you will be able to strip the dagger with your right hand. You are also free to continue as the 7th scholar.

It is worth noting that the chances of performing this unnecessarily complex play at speed and with intent against any but either the most obligingly compliant or catastrophically inept opponent, are low in the extreme.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 5th scholar of the 9th master

Folio 18 r. d

Translation

I have not abandoned the grip of my master. Also I entered immediately under his right arm to dislocate it with this grip. I can do this armoured or unarmoured. And when I hold him from behind like this, I will do bad things to him and he will not have a chance.

Interpretation

There are two slightly different methods of entering this play. Which method you choose is more likely to depend on how both combatants are moving. They both begin with your opponent making a sottano stab against you. Using the cover of the 9th master, grab your opponents wrist using a sword grip.

Your first option is to drop your weight, pivot your hips anticlockwise and direct the dagger past your left side. This is simply brushing it past yourself. There is no need to either push the attack out wide or attempt to pull your opponent off balance. All they have to do is miss. As they withdraw their hand, follow the momentum. Swing the hand up and to the right, stepping with your left foot to the centreline as you do so.

More directly, as your opponent stabs, you can catch their arm as the 9th master and pivot your hips clockwise instead. Both lift and deflect the momentum of the stab up and to the right. Use the pivoting of your hips to step your left foot across to the centre.

Regardless of which option you have taken, you will now have arrived at the same place. The direct approach is faster, but if the flow of movement is not going that way initially, it is best not to force it.

As you swing the arm to your right, keep your knees bent and your weight low. Pivot on your left foot and arc your right foot around behind you in a clockwise direction. Place your opponents arm so that your shoulder is immediately above their elbow. Your arms should be comfortable extended, and your opponents elbow pointing down. Lift your weight, pushing straight up. As you push up with your body, pull down with your hands. This creates a 1st class lever, breaking the elbow, as shown in the picture.

You can also see the same principles being used in the following plays.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 4th scholar of the 9th master

Folio 18 r. c

Translation

From the grip of my master, I have come to this. And I do not remain in this grip, but I will put you in the lower bind, namely the strong key, with little effort. Also I will take your dagger with no difficulty.

Interpretation

As the 4th scholar of the 9th master, you are making an unorthodox entry into one of armizares staple moves – the lower bind. Against a sottano stab, use a sword grip on your opponents right hand, making the cover of the 9th master. Pull on the hand so as to overextend your opponent. All the action happens once they start to recover.

The instant that your opponent starts to withdraw their hand, slide your right hand up to the elbow and invert it so that your thumb is down, as shown in the picture. Be sure not to break contact while doing this. It is a slide across the forearm rather than a release and grab. Push the left hand slightly to the left, giving you space to move inside the dagger.

Remember that your opponent has a free hand and an open line to your right side. Move quickly and beware of their left hand.

As your opponent pulls their right hand back, allow the momentum to carry you along. Step through with your left foot, putting your toes at the heel of your opponents front foot. Push down and to the left with your left hand, while lifting up with your right. You want your opponents forearm to be vertical. Getting this part right is crucial to the success of the play as it pushes your opponents weight onto their back foot, while making their arm into a crank handle.

Pivot on your left foot and arc your right foot behind you so that you end up facing the opposite direction. Push your hips against and underneath your opponents hips to take their balance. As you spin past, keep the right hand relatively still. It acts as something of a pivot point as you swing your opponents hand and forearm behind their back.

This will all cause your opponent to bend at the hips. Place their right hand against their spine and as close to the neck as you are able to bend it. Push down with your left hand to keep their head lower than their hips. Apply pain by lifting their elbow with your right hand. Be sure to maintain constant contact with your hips for as long as you hold them in the bind.

Ligadura sottano is used more than any other bind in armizare. You will see other examples of this bind or its variants in the following plays.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 9th master

Folio 18 r. b

Translation

I do the grip of my master that was seen previously, and my right hand leaves it grip, and if I hold you under the right elbow I can dislocate the arm. And also with such a grip I can put you on the bind that is the strong key, that the third remedy master of dagger shows in the sixth play.

Interptetation

Against a sottano attack, use a sword grip to grab your opponents wrist using the cover of the 9th master. Step back with the left foot, overextending your opponent. As you do so, slide your right hand up to grab the elbow joint as shown. What happens next depends on the balance point of your opponent.

If they are pulled completely forward, then take a second step back with your right foot. As you do so, brush your left hand across to your left hip and lock it there, directing your opponents blade past the front of your waist. Make a sudden volta stabile and pull your right hand up to your left shoulder in a fast, sharp movement. Your opponent will go flying past you at tremendous speed with a broken elbow. There is too much leverage for them to prevent this.

Alternatively, if your opponent is not pulled completely off balance at the picture point and withdraws their arm, you can push your right hand to the left slightly. This will move the dagger a little to the left, and also bend the opponents arm. As they withdraw their arm, step forward again with the left foot into the gap you have just created.

As you step through, keep your right hand as a fixed point in space. With your left hand, scoop your opponents right wrist down and then up. Set your left foot against your opponents right foot, push your hips under theirs to steal their centre, and then arc your right foot behind you to turn 180 degrees. Your left hand pushes down on the back of your opponents shoulder. Their right hand will be bent behind their back and pushed high up on their spine. This bind appears several times throughout armizare, first being described in the 5th scholar of the 3rd master of dagger.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 2nd scholar of the 9th master

Folio 18 r. a

Translation

This play is of the scholar who comes before me. I continue from his grip and finish his play here. Although other scholars will use his grip to make other plays. Watch what comes after, and you will see their ways.

Interpretation

This play flows naturally and easily from the 1st scholar of the 9th master. Against a sottano stab, make the cover of the 9th master. Grab your opponents wrists with both hands, using a grip like you are holding a sword in two hands. Move the point of the dagger off line and rock your weight back slightly to give yourself more room to move. Slide your right hand back to grab the dagger blade as shown by the 1st scholar.

Sharply twist the dagger down and under your opponents hand. This will strip it from them. As you do so, keep pulling back with your left hand. Simultaneously shift all your weight forward, stepping through with your back foot and lunging into your opponent as shown.

You do not stab with the dagger exactly. Given your hold on the blade and the limited space, you would struggle to deliver a great deal of power into a thust like this. Rather, hold the blade quite close and brace the handle of the dagger against your body. You now effectively have a large spike extending from your chest and are running into your opponent to impale them on it.

To continue this play, if your opponent somehow manges to jam your delivery with their left hand, you can then use your own left hand to scoop over the top of both their arms, turning them in a clockwise direction. This will expose their back and the left side of their neck to a fendente stab. From here, you will have ample opportunity to follow up.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 1st scholar of the 9th master

Folio 17 v. d

Translation

I have followed the grip of the ninth remedy master of dagger. Taking my right hand from the grip, I take your dagger and then turn it up by your elbow. The point will surely strike you in the face. As demonstrated by the scholar who comes after me, I believe I will follow up in that way.

Expalantion

Against a lower stab, control your opponents wrist with both your hands as shown in the master play. You will not be able to stop the dagger, only redirect it. Be aware to catch it as far away from you as possible. You will need to allow space to manipulate the dagger without it reaching you. Sliding your front foot back into a shorter stance will make this a bit safer for you by giving the dagger a little extra space to slow its momentum without reaching you.

Having caught the wrist with the left hand, slide your right down to catch the blade of the dagger. Keep your thumb up, and lock your right elbow into your hip. This is the position shown.

Ensure your left hand directs the line of attack to the inside. Suddenly drive your right hip and forearm forward. As you do so, move your right hand in a small semi circle under your left hand.

This will spin the tip of the dagger straight down in an arc using your opponents wrist as a pivot point. If you move it to the side, it will redirect the dagger, but twisting down will lever the fingers open and strip the weapon from your opponents hand. The dagger tip should end up just inside your opponents elbow.

From here, you are ideally positioned to continue as the 2nd master.

You will see the same play being performed by the 9th scholar of the 9th master of dagger, and also in a slightly different context by the 11th scholar of the 5th master of dagger.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters, Uncategorized

Dagger – 9th master

Folio 17 v. c

Translation

I am the ninth remedy master of dagger and I no longer hold a dagger. And this grip that I do against an attack from below is the same that the fourth remedy master of dagger makes against an attack from above, except I do it below. But my plays are not the same as his. The grip is worthy in armour and without, and from it I can make very strong plays, especially those that follow me. In armour or unarmoured, they are not doubted.

Explanation

As Fiore points out, the cover of the 9th remedy master and the cover of the 4th remedy master are essentially the same. They are just applied to a different set of circumstances. The 4th master defends against a fendente strike and tends to direct the opponents wrist. As the 9th master, you defend against a sottano attack, and more direct your opponents elbow. The mechanics of this means that although the grip is the same, the plays which follow from each different master are quite different to each other.

In both cases, the cover is the same you would use to grip a sword. With your left hand, take your opponents wrist. Grip tightly with the thumb and bottom two fingers. Use the top two fingers to provide direction and control. Your right hand grips half way up the forearm in a similar manner.

From here, you have lots of control over your opponents arm. You can easily manipulate their balance, and transition onto the plays.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 2nd scholar of the 8th master

Folio 17 v. b

Translation

The cover that I do in this way with the arms crossed is good both in armour and unarmoured. My play puts this player in the lower bind that is called the strong key that is shown by the scholar before me, namely, the sixth play of the third remedy master of dagger that defends against the reverse hand strike. And this play is similar to the one that comes immediately before me, although it is done in a different way. And our counter is to push the elbow.

Explanation

Against a lower stab, here you defend yourself from Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro, Incrosada e Dopia. You are aiming to force your conrol over the centreline and push your opponents right hand to the outside.

Having done so, the rest of the play progresses in much the same way as the 1st scholar of the 8th master. Step into your opponent and swing your left arm up under their right armpit. Use your right arm to cover yourself as you do so. Your opponent will be trying to push against your elbow and turn you to the left.

Put your opponent in the ligadura sottano. Pivot on your left foot, spinning your right foot in a clockwise arc so you are behind your opponent. Push down on their right shoulder with your left hand. Use your right hand to control your opponents right hand, pushing up the spine as far as possible.

Now they are locked, you can take your opponent down to the ground.

Other examples of ligadura sottano and its variations can be seen in…

  • Dagger – Counter to 1st scholar of the 1st master
  • Dagger – 5th scholar of the 3rd master (the 6th play mentioned in the text)
  • Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 6th master
  • Sword in two hands – 1st counter to 13th scholar of the 3rd master
  • Armour – 4th scholar
  • Armour – 5th scholar
  • Pollaxe – 4th scholar
Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 1st scholar of the 8th master

Folio 17 v. a

Translation

This is a guard which is strong both in armour and unarmoured. It is good because you can quickly put your opponent in the lower bind and strong key. This is shown in the sixth play of the third master of dagger who defends against a reverse hand strike and holds the players right arm bound with his left.

Explanation

Against a lower stab, the initial cover you make as the 1st scholar is a simple and safe one. Moving either from or through the grappling Posta Dente di Zenghiaro, move your left hand across the front of your body, and then spin the forearm in a downward semicircle. This will sweep entirely across the front of the body, generating a lot of power by its end point. Practitioners of karate will know this as gedan uke. Brace the last part of your technique with your right hand, pushing your opponents dagger point to your outside line as shown.

To make a counter attack from here, you will need to move quickly through your opponents inside. This is an inherantly dangerous thing to do, as you will be exposed to their left hand.

Their most obvious response will be the counter to the 8th master. You will need to move as quickly as you can.

Lunge forward with your left foot so it is behind your opponents front foot. As you do so, scoop your left arm up under your opponents armpit. Simultaneously reach over your left arm with your right and grab their wrist or forearm to control it.

Pivot on your left foot and spin your right foot in an arc, leaving you standing behind your opponent. Push down on the back of their right shoulder with your left hand. As you do so, push their right hand as far up their spine as you can, locking it in place.

This is ligadura sottano – the lower lock. Your right hand is free to strip your opponents dagger, or draw your own. Alternatively, you could make a volta stabile and spin your opponent to the ground, or you could run them forward into a solid obstacle.

Ligadura sottano and its variations is the most common lock in armizare. You will see other examples of it in…

  • Dagger – Counter to 1st scholar of the 1st master
  • Dagger – 5th scholar of the 3rd master (the 6th play mentioned in the text)
  • Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 6th master
  • Sword in two hands – 1st counter to 13th scholar of the 3rd master
  • Armour – 4th scholar
  • Armour – 5th scholar
  • Pollaxe – 4th scholar