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 – 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 – 2nd scholar of the 5th master

Folio 38 v. d

Translation

This is another way to make you let go, which is also a better way to remove a spear. Also I say that if I strike hard on the wrist of the hand that holds my collar, I am sure that I will dislocate it if you do not take it away.

I will now tell you the counter. When the scholar brings his arm down to dislocate the hand of the player, immediately the player removes his hand from the scholars collar and quickly strikes with the dagger in the chest.

Explanation

The 2nd scholar goes to break the opponents grip by sheer force. As he says, it is also more likely to break a tangled spearshaft than the technique used by the 1st scholar.

As your opponent grabs you, raise both your hands above your head. Make a fist with one and wrap the other over the top of it.

Drive your arms straight down as hard as possible. Use your lat muscles to do this rather than the muscles of your arms or shoulders. Your elbows should finish on your hips, and your hands in front of your solar plexus. Bend your knees and sink down in a squat while doing this to add all of your body weight to your strike.

Although this is a powerful technique, it is also a large and relatively slow one. This makes it quite easy to counter. If you are taking the part of the player, as you see and feel your opponent dropping into the break, simply let go, and snatch your hand back out of the way. Chamber your dagger as you do so.

The mechanics of the scholars break make it difficult to stop once committed to action. The scholar will be left in a momentarily static position with their chest and head exposed. Pick a target and drive your dagger into it.

Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 3rd master

Folio 14 r. a

Translation

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 trouble. You cannot leave without my permission. And I can ruin you at will.

Interpretation

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 – 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 – 6th Master

Folio 16 r. a

Translation

I am the sixth master and I say that this cover is fine in armour and without armour. And with this cover I can cover in every direction, and enter in all binds and grips and finish with a strike. And my scholars who come after all end up striking. And each of my scholars can do this cover, and they show the plays that continue from here.

Explanation

The 6th Master enters the play from Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro. Although shown defending against an overhead attack, by arcing your arms around in front of your body, you can see that the same defence will work in any direction. The attacking dagger is also kept at arms length, making it safe to do without armour.

The 6th Master has a lot in common with the Dagger 2nd Master. It is in many ways the same technique, but performed at a greater distance. Again, you are not so much blocking your opponents dagger as attacking their hand.

From Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro, keep your elbows at your hips, but raise your forearms. When your forearms line up with your opponents attack, drop your weight onto your front foot, keep your hips square, and drive both arms forward in a straight line. Keep the dagger horizontal.

The sooner you can strike, the better this will work. Ideally, you are aiming for the base of the hand. If you hit it hard enough, it will pop the hand open, causing your opponent to drop their weapon. Your priority, of course, is getting under the dagger tip, so in practice you may end up striking as low as the mid forearm.

You should end up in a very rectangular structure. The dagger, your shoulders and your hips should make a series of parallel lines facing perpendicular to the attack. It will have the sensation of momentarily pushing against a heavy load.

From here, you will be able to enter the plays of the scholars.

Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 5th master

Folio 38 v. c

Translation

In this way, I want to throw you to the ground before the dagger reaches me. And if your dagger comes down the middle to strike me, I release my grip and your dagger will follow. So you cannot hurt me in this way because then, with plays of the remedy, I will make you suffer.

Explanation

Your opponent has foolishly grabbed you by the jacket before they are ready to strike. Take advantage of this lapse of judgement by pinning their hand to your chest with your left hand, as in the master play.

Step to the outside with your right foot. Drop your weight low, keep your back straight, and with a large sweeping motion, scoop your hand under their thigh and then straighten up as shown. There is no clear progression here, and one of three things could reasonably be expected to happen, depending on the details of both combatants balance points in the moment.

If your opponent starts to fall forward, lift up your right hand, twist down with your left and volta stabile. Your opponent will fall on their face at your feet.

If they start to fall backwards, turn to the right and step through with your left leg, causing your opponent to fall on their back.

There is also the possibility that they will be be left balancing on one leg, and using their left hand to support themslves against you while still attempting a stab. In this scenario, throw their hand off to your left. This will turn their body away from you and jam the attack. Shuffle your left foot up to give you the appropriate distance, and with your right foot, make a round kick into the back of the knee on their supporting leg. Your opponent will drop straight down onto their tail bone.

Dagger – 4th scholar of the 3rd master

Folio 14 r. b

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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 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 – 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 – 1st scholar of the 6th Master

Folio 16 r. b

Translation

I have made the cover of the sixth remedy master of dagger that comes before me. And immediately with this grip I can wound you. And I will take the dagger, because of the way I hold my left hand. Also I can put you into the middle bind, which is the third play of the first remedy master of dagger. Also there are other plays I can do without abandoning my dagger.

Explanation

As the 6th Master of Dagger, you have blocked an attack using Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro. To continue as the 1st scholar, move your right hand slightly up and forward, allowing your left hand to slide under your opponents right wrist. Roll your left hand over into a grab, so making the cover of the 1st Master. Bring your right hand around in a tight arc to rest in front of your centre of gravity, with the blade extending straight forward.

This is all done as a single smooth movement. From here you can make any of the plays of the 1st Master, including stepping forward to perform a middle bind.

Pull your left hand back to rest on your ribs. As you pull it back, firmly twist your hand over so it is palm up. This will twist your opponents dagger out of harms way to your left, probably causing them to drop it. The twist will also pull your opponent off balance and drive them onto your dagger blade.

As you pull back with your arm, turn your hips anticlockwise. Your own dagger is anchored to your right hip. There should be no need to extend it. It will naturally push straight through your opponents abdomen.

If your opponent is armoured, you will need to direct your dagger to a less protected target. An easily available place to look would be under the right armpit. Although the angles will change, the mechanics are exactly the same. Anchor your own blade to your body, and pull your opponent onto it.

Dagger – 4th scholar of the 5th master

Folio 38 v. d

Translation

This is a play to make you let go. Also, if I advance my right foot behind your left foot, you will be thrown to the ground without fail. And if this play is not enough, I will use others to give you a taste of your own dagger, because my heart and eyes watch for nothing else except for taking your dagger without delay.

Explanation

As with all defences of the 5th master of dagger, you are defending yourself here against another attempted grab and stab by your opponent.

Pin the hand against your chest with your left hand. With your right forearm held vertically, lift it over your opponents elbow and drop it straight down. As you do so, twist your opponents hand to the right, and make a shuffle step forward so your right foot is behind your opponents left.

Your opponents forearm is completely pinned. This throw actually comes from pressure delivered to the lower inside part of their humerus. Your opponent will twist and fall to the right. Your training partner will appreciate this throw. It is much more gentle on the recieving arm than simply twisting the wrist alone.

A slight variant, which I personally prefer, is to pin your opponents hand with your right hand, and then drop your elbow down the inside line as described above. This will leave your left hand completely free to cover agianst the dagger.

Dagger – 5th scholar of the 3rd master

Folio 14 r. c

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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 – 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 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.

Mixed weapons – 2nd master

Folio 31 r. c

Translation – Master

This master waits for these two with their spears, the first to attack with an over handed thrust, and the other to come from below, as is seen. The master waits with his staff and dagger. When one of these men attacks with his spear, the master moves his staff to the right, almost into Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro, turning his body, but not moving his feet or the staff from the ground. And the master remains in his guard. And as one of these attacks, he beats the spear aside with his staff and with the dagger if he needs to, to his left side, and with that beat he passes and attacks. And this is his defence against the two spearmen who follow.

Translation – Players

We are both willing to hurt this master, but according to what he said, we will not do anything. Except we will not be decieved in this way. Instead, we will turn the head of the spears behind us, and we will strike with the butt of the spear. And when he beats aside the butt of the spear, we will turn our spear and wound from the other side with the spear head. And this will be his counter.

Explanation – Master

With a staff to hand, the 2nd master of mixed weapons makes the interesting choice of using it solely for defence and relying on the dagger for a counter attack against his opponents armed with spears.

The description is extremely clear. With your dagger poised to strike, and the base of the staff on the ground, swing your left hand across your body. This is a purely defensive move. Although the context is slightly different, the defence is thematically identical to Spear Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro.

As your opponent attacks, beat the thrust aside by sliding your left foot to the right of your staff and swinging your left hand to point directly at your opponent. Given the triangulation that your straight arm provides, and the fact that your body is moving to the right, this does not have to be a large movement. Bringing your staff back to vertical will be enough. Excessive movement here will only slow you down.

Lunge in with your right foot to close the distance with your opponent. In the unlikey event that the beat with the staff coupled with your stepping offline was not sufficient to keep the spear out of your way, you can also cover it with your dagger blade as you step through.

As soon as you are within range, stab your opponent. Stay in tight and keep stabbing until they fall over. As long as you stay in narrow play, you will have all the advantages.

Explanation – Players

The counter to this is the same used by the Counter to the first 3 masters of spear on foot, the Counter to the second 3 masters of spear on foot, and the 2nd scholar of spear vs horseback.

If you are attacking with the spear, as soon as your initial thrust is beaten aside, keep the momentum of that turn going, so that your spear spins a full 180 degrees. Make a second strike with the opposite end of your spear. Be sure to adjust your footing if necessary so that your attacks are always made keeping your opponent at a distance.

The only thing that sets this counter aside from the others is that Fiore recommends you preempt the defence entirely. Turn your spear around, making the initial strike with the butt. That way, your counter, which is the strike intended to do all the damage, will be delivered using the spears head.

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 – 2nd scholar of the 6th master

Folio 16 r. c

Translation

This half turn was made from the cover of the sixth master of dagger, and I have placed myself to quickly strike you. And even if you were armoured, I would care little, because I would push this dagger into your face, although here I have put it in the chest because you are not armoured, and do not know close plays.

Explanation

Block any overhead dagger attack using Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro. To continue as the 2nd scholar, you need to crowd right on top of your opponent. Your intended counter attack only has a very short range. In many ways, it can be considered an exchange of thrusts in miniature.

As soon as you complete the block shown in the master play, shuffle your back foot up. Much of the power of the block derives from the anchor of the back foot, so moving it will release the block to some extent.

As your back foot moves up, drop your right elbow to lock onto your right hip. Turn your hips clockwise. Keep the forearm facing forward. Roll the left hand over the top, so that your two hands define the vertical plane which is your right edge. This will turn your opponent slightly. Step your left foot forward so that it is behind your opponents front foot.

With an anticlockwise twist of your hips, transfer your weight onto your front foot and push into your opponent as shown in the picture. Use the twist to drive your dagger into your opponents centreline.

Aiming for the solar plexus will be the shortest and easiest attack, as your dagger tip should naturally roll there anyway. You may have to target your opponents face, throat or armpit, depending on their armour. Only do it if you must. The lower you strike, the faster and more powerful your attack will be.

Dagger – 5th scholar of the 5th master

Folio 15 r. a

Translation

The player held me by the collar, but immediately before he stabbed me with his dagger, I used both of my hands to grab his left hand and put his arm over my right shoulder and then dislocated his arm. This will completely destroy it. I do this more surely in armour than unarmoured.

Explanation

The 5th scholar is an excellent response to a collar grab. Although shown as an arm break here, it is also possible to use different variants of this technique as a throw. As with all the scholars of the 5th master, bear in mind that although people often practice these techniques from a standing start, they work best under movement.

From the starting position of both combatants having their right foot forward, as in the master play, catch your opponents left hand using both of yours. Have your thumbs on top of your opponents wrist. This play will be more effective if you grab the hand out of the air, either opportunistically, or as your opponent reaches out to grab you.

As you take the hand, slide your right foot forward and to the outside. Pivot anticlockwise on the balls of your feet, while lifting your opponents arm over your shoulder. You need the palm of your opponents hand facing up, so as to lock the arm. You should find yourself as drawn.

This makes a first class lever. Your shoulder is the fulcrum. Hold your opponents forearm as you would a sword, and cut down. Exactly what happens depends on exactly how you have placed the arm.

By placing the elbow on your shoulder, you will rip open your opponents elbow.

By pulling your opponents arm all the way to the armpit as drawn, you will dislocate the shoulder.

By pulling the arm all the way to the armpit, stepping back with your left leg, and deeply bending your right leg, you can extend the cutting motion, which will savagely throw your opponent over your shoulder.

By making a mirror image of this play, swapping one side for the other, you can make the same play attacking the right arm from the cover of the 9th master.

Dagger – Counter to the 3rd master

Folio 14 r. d

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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 – 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 its 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 in 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.