Grappling - Plays

Grappling – Counter to the 11th scholar

Translation

I do the counter to the thirteenth play. His hands have gone away from my face. And because of the way I have done it and hold him, if he does not go to ground, I will take great disdain.

Interpretation

This is a curious play in that although the text gives no real details and instead relies on the pictures, the Getty, the Pisani Dossi and the Florius all show the play being performed slightly differently. The Getty shows the grab on the players right arm although the 11th scholar has said to grab the left. The Pisani Dossi and the Florius show the grab to the left arm. While the Getty and the Pisani Dossi scoop out the left leg, the Florius scoops for the right. It is difficult to know exactly what is intended, and the interpretation provided is one of several possibilities.

In the play of the 11th scholar, you had grabbed you opponent with both hands around their waist. Your opponent slid their hands up the centreline, and using one to suport the other, are now trying to drive them into your face.

Drop your weight, move in close, and scoop out the players right leg with your left hand. Try to catch it as they are moving forward. This is the crux of the play and needs to be done with a high degree of assertiveness. Bend your left arm and twist your hips to really get this working. You want them to be left standing on one leg.

Dropping your weight like this not only lets you reach the leg, but also moves your head out of the way of their attack. As you drop, raise your right hand to catch your opponents left elbow. You should find yourself in the position shown by the Pisani Dossi manuscript.

Scooping the leg like this will turn your opponent in an anticlockwise direction and cause them to start falling to your left. Exaggerate this by locking your left arm, and by extension your opponents right leg, against your body. Pivot anticlockwise on the balls of your feet. As you pivot, use your right hand to push your opponents left elbow across and then down.

You will end up having turned nearly 180 degrees and your opponent will be falling on their back with the leg still captured. Although the application is different, you will also see the same principles of this throw being used in the 6th scholar of the 5th master of dagger

Grappling - Plays, Uncategorized

Grappling – 11th scholar

Folio 8 r. a

Translation

Because you have taken both your arms under mine, I strike with my hands firmly in your face. If you were well armoured I would leave this play. The counter of this play is that the scholar who is injured by the player in the face puts his right hand under the elbow of the players left arm and pushes strongly, and the scholar will remain free.

Interpretation

The 11th scholar does not feasably flow from the master play. Instead, your opponent leaps in to grab you around the waist, pinning your arms inside theirs in an attempt to throw you to the ground.

As they close in, step back to give your self some space, and bring your hands into the centreline close to your body. Put one hand on top of the other and hold them with the palms forward. Fiore shows the right hand on top, but it really makes no difference, just as long as one hand supports the other.

Put your hands into your opponents face as shown. As your opponent applies the grip, they will pull you towards them. Emphasise this move by extending your arms and lunging your front foot forward. This will push their head right back, unbalancing them and leaving them open for a throw.

There is some scope for variations in exactly how you place your hands here. You could open the fingers on your front hand into two pairs, and drive them into the eyes. You can use the heel of your hand to strike at the base of the nose and break it. You can grab the point of the chin and lever it backward. You can cup your front hand slightly to stengthen it and drive the fingertips into the hollow of your opponents throat. Although each of these will give slightly different results, they are all extremely painful and unpleasant to recieve.

As should be fairly evident, and as Fiore points out, if your opponent is wearing a helmet, this play will not work. It can also be countered which is explored in the next play.

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 10th scholar

Folio 7 v. d

Translation

This one strikes the player with his knee in the balls to gain the advantage to throw him on the ground. The counter is that immediately the player goes between with the knee to hurt him in the balls, that you take the right hand under the knee and throw him to the ground.

Interpretation

Locked in a grapple in which neither combatant has the initiative, as the 10th scholar, you take the advantage by driving your knee into your opponents groin. Notice that this is not a finishing technique in itself. You are doing this to hurt your opponent so that you can then throw them. Attack on the inside line where your opponent will be more open to impove your chances of success. The scholar pictured would be better using the left knee instead of the right.

Although the play describes a groin attack, you can just as effectively strike to the pelvis or solar plexus. Hitting your opponent successfully with a knee will jar their whole body, rendering them incapable of doing anything for a moment. Because you are holding them at close range, this means that they are usually open to a repeat attack. If your first knee hits home, you should be able to trap your opponent in a vicious cycle, getting an extra two or three in before running out of momentum. Being on the receiving end of a barrage of knee strikes is a memorably unpleasant experience.

There are two slight variations on how you can deliver your attack. For both variants, you need to be at extremely close range.

First and simplest is to raise the knee straight up and into the target. As the knee rises up, push your hip forward. Grab your opponent tightly and pull them down onto it. There is the sensation of leaping into your opponent. This is the attack as pictured. If you have a little more distance to make up, you can also grab your opponent by the shoulders, pulling them forward and down, while driving the knee into the solar plexus.

A second variant is from a low grip, raise your knee to horizontal while keeping your hip back as far as possible. When in position, drive your knee straight forward while pulling your opponent onto it. This will smash through the front of the pelvic bone, creating what is called an open book pelvic fracture. Your opponent will collapse to the ground in great pain and unable to walk.

The right circumstances to effectively use a knee attack are quite infrequent, but due to the fact that it is such a short movement, knees are difficult to counter. You need to keep your weight low and make the initial defence with your thigh. Rotate your hips inward, using the inside of your front thigh to push the knee offline. This will not only save you a lot of pain, but will give you the time needed to get your hand there.

Scoop under the inside of the knee. The player in the picture would be using their right hand to do this. Lift the thigh up, while pulling down with the other hand. Your opponent will twist and fall on their back to your outside. You can see the principles of this throw being used by

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 9th scholar

Folio 7 v. c

Translation

This is a finishing move and it is a good grip to use to hold someone in such a way that it cannot be defended against. The counter is that the one being held goes back against a wall or other timber and turns in such a way so that the one who holds him breaks his head or back on the same wall or timber.

Interpretation

Here you make a high grab from behind. There are a couple of different ways to get behind your opponent. You can, of course, come from either side equally well depending on the circumstances. For the purposes of description, the play is written as manipulating your opponents right arm.

You can counter an attack of theirs with an elbow push. There are many examples of these throughout Fior di Battaglia. Within the grappling section is the counter to the 11th scholar. You could also, somewhat more proactively, grab at their front hand like the 5th master of dagger. This will pull them off balance, allowing you to step behind. Either way, you will turn your opponent in an anticlockwise direction.

Regardless of which method you use to turn them, shuffle in close with your right foot. Step through with your left foot so you are behind your opponent. As you step, swing your left arm under your opponents left arm. Slide your right arm under theirs and using both hands, push forward on the back of the skull, as shown in the picture.

Although pushing the head down, you also need to pull their weight back. You want them to fall in a sitting position with their legs out in front of them and their arms jammed out to the sides. Once your opponent starts to fall like this, kneel down one knee and lean forward into them. This will lock the whole body in place.

Be aware that to counter this, your opponent will be trying to stay on their feet and bend forward at the hips. If they succeed at this, there are several things they can do.

If they get their hips under yours, they can throw you forward over their shoulder. This is particularly the case if they are much bigger than you.

They can lift you off the ground enough to run you backwards into a solid obstacle.

If they are reasonably flexible, they can bend right forward while stepping back and to the side. This would allow them to slide under your arm. They would then be well placed to counter you with the throw of the 7th scholar of grappling.

Grappling - Plays, Uncategorized

Grappling – 8th scholar

Folio 7 v. b

Translation

This one is a play with a leg throw which is not well assured in grappling. And also, if anyone wants to make the leg throw, they must use force and speed.

Interpretation

Fiore refers to this throw as ‘gambarola’ – leg throw. There are several subtle variations on exactly what he intended the throw to be, but a good interpretation would be the judo throw ‘osoto guruma’ – large outer wheel.

The object of this throw is to cut out both of your opponents legs as you twist them down. Begin from an upper grapple with your right arm over your opponents left shoulder and your left arm under their right. Shuffle your left foot forward slightly so it is level to or just behind your oppnents foot. Swing your right foot through so that it is completely behind your opponent as shown.

With your right ankle, catch your opponents left leg at the achilles tendon and scoop it upward. Straighten your right leg by raising it behind you. Put all your weight onto your left leg and with a straight back, twist forward at the hips. This will push your opponents shoulders backward as well as twist them to your left. Your opponent will roll over your hip and land on their back in front of you. You will be left holding their left arm to control and lock as you choose.

Be sure to move assertively and with constant flow. At the point just before entering the throw, both combatants are at a point of equalibrium. You hold the advantage because you control the movement, but if you hesitate at the point shown in the picture, your opponent can counter by using the same throw against you. This is why Fiore warns us the throw is not assured and must be carried out with speed and force.

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 7th scholar

Folio 7 v. a

Translation

You take me from behind to throw me to the ground and I turn like this. If I dont throw you to the ground, you will have gotten a good deal. This play is a finishing move, but it must be done quickly so that the counter will fail.

Interpretation

There are a number of ways you can arrive at this position. Fiore gives us the context that you have been grabbed from behind. While this certainly works, it is not limited to such a scenario. As long as your hands are free and you are at extremely close range, you can use this play.

The 9th scholar of the Sword in One Hand uses the same entering throw, starting from wide play and then rapidly closing in on the opponent from directly in front. The 6th scholar of Sword in Armour also makes a very similar throw after closing from the front.

Swing your front foot around behind your opponent. You want it to be between their feet. As you do so, extend your front arm across your opponents chest and throat with the hand over their shoulder as shown.

Flare your knees and drop your weight down so low that your thighs are parallel to the floor. This gives you an extremely solid base. As you drop your weight, extend your arm through your opponents space. Dont twist yourself, but rather push straight along the line of your legs.

You should arrive in Posta Longa, although your legs will be in a deeper stance than usual. Effectively, you are creating an obstacle with your thigh, and then pushing your opponent over it. Aikido practitioners will recognise this technique as irimi nage.

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 6th scholar

Folio 7 r. d

Translation

When I give you my thumb under your ear, you will feel so much pain that you will go to the ground without a doubt. Or I will make some other grip or lock that will be worse than torture. The counter that he can make is the sixth play against the fifth, where he puts his hand under the elbow. That can be done to me as a counter, without doubt.

Interpretation

From the position of the master play, your opponent has grabbed your right forearm and left shoulder. By making a volta stabile, they are attempting to make a forward twisting throw, pulling you down in front of them.

Slide your right arm over your opponents left shoulder. Wrap your fingers around the back of their neck. Push your thumb into the neck between the earlobe and the corner of the jaw. Straighten your right arm and allow your opponent to pull you onto them. This is the moment shown in the picture.

Your thumb is driving into a very sensitive pressure point. The more your opponent attempts to throw you in this direction, the greater the pain they inflict on themselves, and the more they will disrupt their own balance as a consequence.

Step through with your back foot, continuing the momentum which your opponent has begun. Push their head forward and down as you do so. This will throw your opponent face down on the ground in front of you.

Be aware that your opponent may attempt to counter this by changing the direction of their movement to an anticlockwise turn. If they can successfully switch feet while lifting and catching your left elbow, they will throw you same as the counter to the 4th scholar of grappling.

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 5th scholar

Folio 7 r. c

Translation

Because of the hold I have earned, and the way I lift you from the ground, I will lift you with my strength and put you under my feet, first with your head and then your body. And you will not see a counter to this.

Interpretation

This play appears in both the Pisani Dossi and the Florius manuscripts. As can be seen below, both these other documents show the throw being performed on the right leg, instead of the left, as shown in the Getty. It makes more sense to throw the right leg.

From the master play, you will have contact with the inside of your opponents right elbow. Drop your weight onto your back foot to disengage from your opponent. As you do so, slide your hand down their forearm and grab onto your opponents right wrist. Pull them forward off balance. You need them to take a step forward. With your weight on your back leg, swing your foot around your opponent to their right side.

Place your foot in between your opponents. Get it right up close to the inside of their right foot. Bend your knee and sink your weight low in your front foot. The back and forward motion will create the momentum you need to smoothly lift your left hand up, putting your opponents arm across the back of your shoulders. Scoop your right hand under their thigh as shown in the Pisani Dossi or Florius manuscripts.

Straighten your legs and bend at the waist. The combination of your straightening leg and the thigh lift, will pick their right leg up and throw them off balance. Your opponent will fall backwards, landing in front of you. As you have bent over, their right arm will slide over the top of your head. Since you control the wrist, you will be able to pull on it, causing them to spin on their back slightly. You can now safely lock the wrist and finish your opponent with the remainder of Fiores five things.

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – Counter to the 4th scholar

Folio 7 r. b

Translation

I am the counter to the fifth play that is shown before. And I say that if I use my right hand to lift the elbow of his hand which is harming me, I will make him turn in such a way that I will force him to the ground, as you see here, or I will gain a hold or lock. And I will have little care for his grappling skills.

Interpretation

The 4th scholar has attempted a throw against you by pinning the small of your back against their hips and then stepping through with their right leg, pushing back and to the outside on your throat.

To counter this, you need to act early. The first step of your opponents attack is to try and grab your right hip with their left hand and pull it forward. The aim is to lock your hip in place and cause you to bend slightly backwards.

As soon as they attempt this, slide your right hand back. Your hand is inside theirs, so use that to your advantage. Use your elbow to prevent their hand from making a grab. Turn your right hand and grab their elbow from the inside, pushing it up and rolling across your body past your face as shown.

Shuffle your right foot up if necessary, then pivot on it. Swing your back foot out of the way in an anticlockwise arc. This will get you out of your opponents grip and completely remove you from their line of attack.

As you step out of the way, grab your opponents left hand with your left hand. This will give you a good elbow lock. The 2nd scholar of the 3rd master of dagger gives an excellent description of this same lock on the opposite arm. Use it to spin your opponent down in an anticlockwise circle.

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 4th scholar

Folio 7 r. a

Translation

The grip that I make with my right hand into your throat will bring you sorrow and pain. And for that you will go to ground. Also I say that if I take my left hand under your left knee I will be more certain to send you to the ground.

Interpretation

The 4th scholar is essentially the same as the 3rd scholar, except that you are pushing directly on the throat rather than turning the jaw.

There are a variety of ways to arrive at this position. One of them could be a failed attempt on your part to perform the master play has led to your opponent dropping their left hand into a lower grab. Another could be that your opponent is retreating and is attempting to pull you forward into a throw.

Regardless of how you arrived here, your opponent has you in a lower grab, and you need to step forward with your right foot outside the attackers left foot. Drop your weight low to avoid being lifted by your opponent. Make sure your hips are lower than theirs. Grab your opponents right hip with your left hand and pull it in as close to you as you can.

Turn your right hand thumb down and grab at your opponents throat in the same manner as the 2nd scholar of baton. With your thumb and first two fingers open to grab, keep the last two fingers closed like they are making a fist. This makes your hand into a pincer with a spike in the middle. Raise your elbow to make an underhand strike at your opponents windpipe.

Pull back on the hip and push forward on the throat. This pushes on the upper body with an external rotation. When your opponent is off balance, drop your left hand down to scoop under their left knee.

Curl your right hand down to your right hip. Lift your left hand up as you step through to Posta Dente di Zenghiaro with the left foot forward. Your opponent will be lying on their back to your right.