Sword in two hands – 3rd Master – Narrow play

Folio 28 r. a

Translations

Here begins the plays of sword in two hands in narrow play in which it will be of all manner of covers, and strikes, and binds, and breaks, and grips, and sword disarms, and throws to the ground in different ways. And they will be the remedies and counters for every reason that you need for offence and defence.

We stand here crossed and from this crossing we will make all the plays which follow. We can do the same as each other. And all the plays will follow one another as I said before.

Explanation

As with the 1st and 2nd Masters of sword in two hands, the 3rd Master also is crossed in a state of equalibrium with the player. Crossed at the base of the swords, both combatants have a strong bind. Either can take the role of master as stated ‘we can do the same as each other.’ The roles are decided by who moves first.

It is noteworthy that where the masters of wide play crossed swords with their left foot forward, the master of narrow play leads with the right. This closes the distance between the masters dominanat hand and the opponent, altering the lines of attack. Combat now occurs at the range of grappling and dagger techniques.

Sword in two hands – 1st scholar of the 3rd Master – Narrow play

Folio 28 r. b

Translation

From the crossing which is done by my master with the right foot forward, I complete the first play. That is, that I pass with the left foot and put my left hand over my right arm and grab and hold his sword between his hands, in the middle of the hilt. And with cuts and thrusts I can hurt him. And this grip can be done with the sword in one or two hands. The crossing can be done above or below the hands to make such a grip.

Explanation

As the 3rd Master, both combatants had their swords crossed in the middle with the right foot forward.

Ensure that the crossing has given you a space to move into by keeping the pressure on the bind. Step through with your left foot directly down the centerline. Simultaneously advance your left hand in a straight line from your own sword, over your right arm to between your opponents  hands.

You can grab their sword with your thumb down, as drawn. Alternatively, you can have your thumb up and grab from underneath. Both will work. Thumb down will provide better torque to twist the blade offline.

Pull your left elbow back to lock into your hip and twist or push your forearm to the outside. The details of what to do here is determined by the grip you have taken. Regardless, the objective is to disable the weapon and move it to the side. You will not have the leverage to strip it from your opponents hand, but you will put it out of action long enough to give you at least one good strike.

Clear your own sword by pulling it in a straight line down and to the right. Pivot on your left foot if needed to give yourself the appropriate angle and distance. A range of targets will present themselves for you to strike at.

Sword in two hands – 2nd scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 28 r. c

Translation

This is another play that comes from the crossing of my master. And from that crossing I can make this play and the others which follow me here. That is, I can take the player in this way and strike him in the face with the pommel of my sword. Also, I can strike him with a downward cut to the head before he can cover himself.

Explanation

In the play of the 3rd master, both swords were crossed at the mid point of the blade.

Drop your weight down low and step through with the left foot. As you do so, raise your hands to head height. Duck under you opponents blade while turning your own sword so that the handle faces your opponent and the blade extends over your shoulder. Keep the point of the bind stationary, and be sure that everything rotates around that point. This will allow you to safely roll under your opponents blade to the other side.

Keeping your elbow in close to your body, sweep your left hand across to grab your opponents right wrist. You do not need to push their hand. Just ensure that it stays out of the way.

Align your sword to your target. Use the handle of your sword as a heavy dagger, and make a fendente strike straight forward at the base of their nose. If you allow the sword to move off its alignment and swing in an arc, it will dramatically lose speed and power. Take care in all the excitement not to slide the blade of your sword across your own shoulder.

Your opponent will be left either with a savagely broken nose, spitting out a number of teeth, or both. Cut them down at your leisure.

Sword in two hands – 3rd scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 28 r. d

Translation

This is another pommel strike. And if you are quick, you will doubtless find the face uncovered. This can be done armoured and unarmoured. I have proven that four teeth will be knocked out of the mouth with such a play. And the sword can be wrapped around his neck if you want, as you will be shown in the play after this by the next scholar.

Explanation

In the master play, both combatants have their right foot forward with the blades crossed in the middle. Similar to the 2nd scholar, lunge through with your left foot. At the same time, roll the handle of your sword in an arc under your opponents blade. Use the crossing point of the blades as the centre of the arc. This will provide you with cover as you cross to your opponents outside and enter the narrow play.

When the axis of your sword lines up with your opponents face, drive it forward, aiming just under the base of the nose. This strike works best if you visualise the sword handle as a dagger blade, and strike much as you would with a dagger. The power comes from the right hand, and your left only provides direction.

Fiores comment that four teeth will be knocked out is a very interesting detail. It is a very specific number, especially when coupled with the claim that he has proven this. We know from the books introduction that Fiore fought and won five formal duels. His statement here might imply that this was the play which finished one of them.

With both hands in position, and your momentum already moving to the outside of your opponent, wrapping your sword around their neck is a nice smooth way to continue from here.

Sword in two hands – 4th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 28 v. a

Translation

From the play before me, and as the scholar said, I put my sword at your neck, and I can easily cut your throat because I feel you do not have a protective collar.

Explanation

Following on from a pommel strike as either the 2nd scholar or the 3rd scholar of narrow play, you now enter this devastating finishing move.

You begin this play on the outside line of your opponent, with their sword safely out of the way to your right. Your own right hand is perfectly placed in front of their face. Keep it as a stable point for a moment and move everything around that.

Turn your wrist, spinning your sword in a horizontal arc around your opponents neck. As you do so, step past your opponent with your right foot. Step with your front foot turned toward your opponent as you do so. Quickly follow with your left foot in a light, fast movement.

Raise your left hand up to your left shoulder. As your left foot lands, your sword should slap with the flat of the blade into your hand. You will be facing the complete opposite direction from where you started. This is the moment depicted in the drawing.

Step back with your right foot, and as you do so, pull your right hand back to your right shoulder. This will pull your opponent backwards off balance and stretch their neck out. Your sword blade should go under their chin, with the flat of the blade just balancing on the corner of their jaw. Their head should be cradled under your chin.

Pivot 180 degrees on the balls of your feet, to end facing the same direction you were facing originally. Your right foot should be forward. As you pivot, roll your wrists down and pull both hands back as tight to your shoulders as you can.

The edge of the blade will roll onto the left carotid artery. Although your arms are locking the head in place, it is the turn of the hips which does all the damage. You are effectively throwing your opponent in a backward twist by the head using a sharp object to grab them. This will sever all the way to the neck bone with dramatic results.

Sword in two hands – 5th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 28 v. b

Translation

When I am crossed, I pass with a cover and boldly sweep both your arms like this. And I put this thrust in your face. And if I advance my left foot, I can bind both your arms. Or else, in the next play that comes after me I grab you. That is, I bind you at the sword and hold the hilt.

Explanation

In this play, you find yourseld in the same position as the 3rd scholar of sword in one hand, although you arrive here by a different path.

From the master play, which leaves you both crossed in the middle with the right foot forward, step through with your left foot to close with your opponent. As you step, make a hooking block with your left hand. Move your forearm in a tight arc which sweeps across the front of your body, leading with the thumb. As you make contact with your opponents right wrist, your hand is ready to roll your hand over into a grab. Simultaneously raise your right hand into posta fenestra . This is the position shown.

Having arrived at this point, Fiore gives us three options.

Firstly, you can hold your arms reasonably still and pivot your hips anticlockwise. As you complete the grab on your opponents right hand, this will simultaneously pull their sword off to your left and drive the point of your own sword into their face.

Secondly, by making a quick shuffle step, moving your back foot then your front, you can step to the outside of your opponent. As you do so, spiral your left arm from the inside, over the top of your opponents elbow, and then lock your arm close to your body. It will feel like making the start of a middle bind in the way it slides over the arm. You will find yourself in a very similar situation as the 8th scholar of the 3rd master of sword in two hands, except that your sword point will be facing forward.

Thirdly, you can progress to the 6th scholar.

Sword in two hands – 6th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 28 v. c

Translation

This is the grip that the scholar before me said that I can do. I can hurt you with no trouble. I keep hold of your sword hilt, and thrusts and cuts I will give you cheaply. And this play breaks every disarm of the sword and doing it quickly ruins the narrow play.

Explanation

The mechanics of this very interesting play have a lot in common with making a ligudura mezana (middle bind). The base movement is two consecutive hooking blocks. When making a ligadura mezana, you spiral your hand around your opponents arm. Here, you spiral it around their sword. The biggest difference between the two techniques is context.

As the scholar tells us, the action for this play starts with the previous play. As the 5th scholar, you have stepped through with your left foot and made a hooking block with your left hand. Continue the motion, rolling over the top of your opponents hands and trapping the blade under your armpit. You will need to move fast and smoothly, to prevent your opponent stepping back and sliding the length of the blade along either your inner arm or ribcage.

Using a second hooking block, roll your forearm under the blade and grab the crossbar of your opponents sword. You have now pinned their sword as shown. With no means to defend themselves, you opponent is open to any cuts or thrusts you choose to make.

Sword in two hands – 7th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 28 v. d

Translation

When I am crossed, I come to the narrow play. I put the hilt of my sword between your hands and I raise both arms high with my sword. I will throw my left arm over both your hands, and I will wrap both arms with your sword under my left arm. And I will not stop striking you until I am tired. The play that follows me, that the scholar does, is my play and I want to do that next.

Explanation

When the swords are crossed at the middle as the 3rd master, with both combatants having their right foot forward, you are in a momnet of equalibrium. As the 7th scholar, you take the initiative by binding your opponents arms.

Using the flat of your blade, slide your sword down the length of your opponents blade until you hit their crossbars. Using the contact point of the crossbars and the blade as a pivot point, push your hands forward. You want the crossbar of your own sword to go between your opponents hands and underneath their hilt. As you do so, you will need to step through with your back foot. This is the moment shown in the picture.

Be sure to step in as deep as you can into your opponents space. Keeping your elbows in tight, drive your arms straight up. This will lift your opponents sword and hands. With your left hand, let go of your own sword and roll your hand over both your opponents arms. This is a movement from the inside to the outside, in a similar manner to a hooking block.

This will bind your opponents arms under your left arm. Your sword will be chambered to deliver the devastating flow on techniques of the 8th and 9th scholars.

Sword in two hands – 8th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 29 r. a

Translation

The scholar who is before me completed the play and now I do what he described. Your arms have been bound in the middle bind. Your sword is imprisoned and it cannot help you. And with mine I can injure you. I can put my sword around your neck without a doubt. And I can do the play that comes after me straight away.

Interpretation

Coming from the master play, you have stepped through with your left foot. Moving on the inside line, you move past your opponents sword and wrap your left arm over both your oppponents arms. The text tells us this play follows the 7th scholar. You could also arrive at this point as a continuation of the 5th scholar.

Be sure to step in very close. As you wrap your opponents arms, chamber your sword for a pommel strike. You will be in the position shown.

Lock your left arm tight to your body to hold your opponents arms. You are perfectly placed to make a series of pommel strikes into your opponents face. These will work best if you think of the handle of your sword as the blade of a dagger which you are using to make a series of fendente strikes. You want the sword to move in a straight line forward and back along the line of the blade. If you swing it in arc, you will rapidly lose power and control of your strikes.

The 7th scholar tells us that you can strike until you are exhausted. In practice, you should be able to deliver between two and five good solid strikes until your momentum runs out and your opponent collapses. This should be more than enough to finish the fight, however, if you choose, you can still continue as the 9th scholar.

Sword in two hands – 9th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 29 r. b

Translation

From the play before, this one is done. As the scholar, I have seriously wounded the player by tying his arms with his sword well bound with my left arm. My sword hits his neck and puts him in this position. If I throw him to the ground, the play is complete.

Interpretation

As the 8th scholar, you have bound your opponent by the arms and struck them multiple times in the head with your sword pommel. In the unlikely event that they are still standing, you can use the play of the 9th scholar to throw them to the ground.

Step forward with your right foot, placing it between your opponents feet. Raise your left hand to your opponents chin and drop your sword blade into it. You should be left half swording your weapon, with the blade parallel to the ground and resting under your opponents chin.

Quickly step your left foot in an arc behind you, so that you spin past your opponents left shoulder. Your arms stay quite still relative to your own body, with the blade sliding around your opponents neck, arriving at the position shown.

In doing so, you will slice a complete circle around your opponents neck. Even if you are pressing on bare flesh while you do this, it is unlikely to do much more than superficial damage, but it will still be exceedingly uncomfortable for them.

Having arrived at the picture point, make a volta stabile without stopping. Lock your left hand against your shoulder and push forward with your right hand as you pivot on the balls of your feet. Your opponent will be thrown backwards by the blade pushing against their throat. They will trip over your right leg and land on their back with both cut and crush injuries to the neck from this play along with whatever you gave them previously.

Sword in two hands – 10th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 29 r. c

Translation

If he covers the left side, then take his left hand with your left hand, with all the pommel of his sword, and hang it before you and with thrusts and cuts, you can hurt him well.

Interpretation

A technically simple play, the 10th scholar has a lot in common with the many examples of elbow pushes which can be found thoughout the Fior di Battaglia. Mechanically very similar, it relies more on timing than anything else.

The set up for this play is the 3rd master of the sword in two hands, with both combatants in a moment of balance. You both have your right foot forward and the swords are crossed in the middle.

As your opponent rechambers their weapon to their left shoulder, step through with your left foot. Your foot wants to move at the same speed as their hand. Grab the base of their left hand as well as the pommel with your left hand, catching their momentum and overexaggerating their motion. Push up and forward as you step. Your right hand stays more or less in the same position in space and you step past it. Drop the point, keeping your arm tight against your body. You want a straight line from your hip, along the axis of the sword to your opponent. You will find yourself as pictured.

Your opponent is initially wide open to a sottano stab straight into the solar plexus. After that, they will be incapable of much further action. Be aware that to prevent them making one last counter strike before collapsing, the softness of the abdomen means you can pull the blade back out without it catching on any bony structures. Continue the attack while still jamming their weapon.

Sword in two hands – 11th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 29 r. d

Translation

If he covers the right side, take his sword in this way with your left hand and you can wound him with thrusts and cuts. And if you want, you can cut his face or neck with his sword in the way that is drawn. Also, when I have injured you well, I can abandon my own sword and take yours as the scholar after me shows.

Interpretation

Crossed in the middle of the swords as the 3rd master, your opponent is trying to switch sides, or possibly even disengage altogether. Dropping back with a volta stabile into a rear weighted stance, they use their sword to cover their right side. Before completing this move or properly chambering their weapon, you make your play.

Step though with your left foot. Move quickly so as to close the distance before your opponents structure achieves full stability. Grab the tip of their sword as you step through, and allow the point of your own sword to drop so that it points directly at them as shown.

From here, you are ideally placed to drive your point into their ribs, armpit or face. After your initial thrust hits home, you should have plenty of scope to deliver several more thrusts or cuts so as to finish the fight.

If you would like to continue, you could also shuffle up with your back foot and step behind your opponent with your left foot. Push your hand forward as you do so, causing your opponents blade to slice into their neck or face. As an expansion on this theme, you could also transition to the play of the 12th scholar.

Sword in two hands – 12th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 29 v. a

Translation

I continue the play of the scholar who is before me. In this play I use his sword to cut his face, sending him to the ground. I will show you well that this art is true.

Interpretation

A technically difficult play to perform, it is unlikely that this would find regular use in anyones repertoire. Bearing that in mind however, if you can keep it tucked away to be used during a specific combination of opportunity and confidence, its unorthodox nature is likely to catch your opponent quite unawares.

The set up is from the master play, where you were both crossed in a moment of equilibrium. Your opponent has shifted back to a rear weighted stance while attempting to cover their right side. As the 11th scholar, you reached out, catching the tip of their blade with your left hand, while stabbing into their torso with your sword in the right hand. If you are continuing onto the 12th scholar, the stab is optional. You might not have time as you are moving to capture the flow of the moment, your opponent may be wearing body armour, or you may have stabbed and somehow missed.

Whether you stab or not, continue by stepping offline with your left foot and up quite close to your opponents right foot. Keep your knees bent and your weight low as you do so. With a slight natural curve to your arm, raise your left hand above your opponents head. Rather than actively pushing or pulling on the sword, at this stage, you are pivoting the sword around their hands.

Slide your right foot up, bringing your feet together. Your knees are still bent and your right wrist rests against your ribs. Despite the extension of your left hand, all your power is condensed into your core.

Step behind your opponent with your right foot. In a smooth flowing movement, drop your own sword and catch your opponents sword grip between their hands. Keep your left hand still, relative to your body. It will lift the sword over your opponents head and you will briefly transition through the point shown.

Flare your elbows slightly and bend your wrists. You want your shoulders, your arms and the sword to form a circle. As your right foot grounds itself, rotate your circle in a vertical plane, sliding the blade along the side of your opponents face. This will slice their face open from jaw to temple. The resulting pain and shock will cause them to let go of the sword.

Continue rotating your circle, letting your right arm slide past their neck. This will smoothly capture your opponents head in the hollow of your shoulder. At that point, drop your hands down. This tips the whole circle of shoulders arms and sword over and you finish off the circles rotation.

You should finish in a position rather like posta di crose bastardo, except that the right hand should finish just inside your right knee, and your right elbow will still be flared out in front of you, maintaining the all important circle. Your opponent will be lying in their back, bleeding profusely and trying to hold their face together.

You can see slight variations of this same basic throw in the following plays.

Sword in two hands – 13th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 29 v. b

Translation

This play is taken from the play of the dagger. That is, the first dagger remedy master puts his left hand under the dagger to strip the dagger from the hand. In the same way, this scholar puts his left hand under the right hand of the player to take the sword from his hand. Or, he can put it in the middle bind as shown two plays after the first dagger remedy master previously mentioned. And that bind is done by this scholar.

Interpretation

Although presented as a large number of individual plays, armizare is more realistically seen as a collection of principles which can be applied with different weapons and under slightly different circumstances. This is an excellent example of the cross referenced nature of armizare. Fiore makes it very plain that you are applying a dagger play in the context of a double handed sword.

From the crossing of the 3rd master, push your left hip forward and let go of the sword with your left hand. Keep your fingers together, but extended, and your thumb tucked in. With your hand in a vertical plane, tip your fingers down slightly, ensuring a straight line from the mid knuckle of your thumb, along the back of the hand, and down the forearm.

Use the pivot of your hips to slice your left hand up and forward. Step through with your left foot as you do so. Your hand should slide through the gap between your opponents right hand and the sword handle. Keep your fingers together and your thumbs tucked in , or they will catch, tangle, and potentially break on something on the way through. Contact your opponent with the top of your wrist. To find the target, your hand needs to move in a straight line, inserting itself in place.

Use the twist and step to bring your right hand up to posta di fenestra. This is the moment pictured.

One way to continue is to roll the fingers of your left hand up and over your opponents forearm. Grab the wrist and pull your elbow back to your core, rolling your hand in an anticlockwise spiral as you bring it in. Turn your hips back as you do so. With your forearm levering on the sword hilt, the blade will tip to the outside line, while also pulling your opponent off balance.

You already have your sword pointed directly at your opponents face. This will give a clear path to push it into them as they fall forward.

A second way to continue is to roll the fingers of your left hand over your opponents forearm and , while maintaining contact, slide it past the crook of your opponents elbow. You will need to move in very close for this to work. While you might do it in a single lunge, it is easier to make a shuffle step to close in from the picture point of the 13th scholar. Although Fiore cites this as being the play of the 1st scholar of the 1st master of dagger, due to the weapons involved, a better indicator of what this look like is the 4th scholar of sword in one hand.

Lock your left hand around your opponents upper arm, just above the elbow. Pull your elbow back to your core to rest against your body. At the same time, wove your hand in an anticlockwise circle until it rests in front of you at shoulder height.

This will lock your opponent up, twisting them off balance and causing them to drop their sword. There will be ample opportunity for you to stab or strike at will.

The initial play can also seen in the following

The continuation onto the bind can be seen  in the following

Sword in two hands – 1st counter to the 13th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 29 v. c

Translation

I am the counter, and I do the counter to the scholar before me. He wants to make a dagger play, that is, the second play after the first remedy master. If you remain on your feet with your sword, I will not believe it.

Interpretation

From the play of the 3rd master, your opponent has cut their left hand up between your right forearm and the sword handle, as shown by the 13th scholar. They are attempting to put you into a middle bind. Fiore says this is a dagger play, which it is, but the best example of this bind using swords is the 4th scholar of sword in one hand.

Lunge forward and to the side with your right foot to the outside of your opponent. Place your right hand and the sword against the back of your opponents shoulder. As you do this, pivot 180 degrees on the balls of your feet and pull your left foot towards you a little. Make sure that your hips are pushed up next to your opponent. Lean your weight forward onto your left foot. Their left hand will be twisted behind their back in a lower bind.

Grab your sword with your left hand. Push against the back of your opponents left shoulder with your right hand. Use your left hand to add power and leverage, bending your opponent over and tightly binding their arm, as the picture shows.

Keep pushing down with your left hand to ensure your opponent remains head down and immobile. You can easily control the level of pain inflicted by raising or lowering your right elbow.

Fiore often uses the lower bind. You can see other examples and variants of this lock in the following plays.

Sword in two hands – 2nd counter to the 13th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 29 v. d

Translation

I am also a counter to the scholar who wants to do the dagger play, that is, the play which is two plays before me. If I slice his neck a little he rises up. And then I can throw him to the ground quickly if I want to.

Interpretation

This very interesting play begins in the same manner as the 1st counter to the 13th scholar, but transitions into this mid way through. From the crossing of the 3rd master, your opponent has made the play of the 13th scholar. With their left hand, they have scooped up, making a hooking block under your sword handle and over your right forearm, and then stepped into you, intent on making a middle bind. As described by the 1st counter, as they move their hand into position, lunge your right foot deep to their outside. Place your right hand behind their left shoulder. Make sure your hips are as close as possible to your opponent. Keep your weight low. Cover with your left hand as you move in. Grab the sword with your left hand, pivot on the balls of your feet and go to lever your opponent down as described by the 1st counter.

For some reason, the bind does not work. Usually this is some combination of you either not being close enough, or your timing being slightly off. Regardless of the cause, your opponent is recovering, and trying to push back against your hand. Rather than turning this into a force on force struggle, simply go with their momentum and exaggerate it.

Pivot back to face your original direction again, and as you do so, slide the blade under the corner of their left jaw. This will encourage them to move up and back even further. This is the point shown in the picture.

Drop your right hand and raise your left, sweeping your blade across in front of you. Although the context is completely different, the movement is essentially the same as shown by the master of sword in armour.  You are sweeping the blade from posta vera croce to posta breve la serpentina.

Your opponent will fall backwards over your right leg in a tangled heap with a cut to their neck and a seriously torn shoulder. You will need to step though with your left foot to maintain your own stability and not become twisted up. The bind means they will pull  heavily on your right arm as they fall. Take care not to be pulled down on top of them.

Sword in two hands – 14th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 30 r. a

Translation

If I am crossed in narrow play, I immediately do this hold because neither with sword disarm nor bind can he retaliate. Also I can injure him with thrusts and cuts without any danger to myself.

Interpretation

This is a fun and interesting way to jam your opponents weapon. Although the application is very different, there are similar principles at play here as you see in the 1st scholar of the 3rd master.

The set up for this play requires quite a strong beat at the master play which precedes it. From the crossing of the swords, you want to hit your opponents sword hard enough that it angles off to your left. You are going to exaggerate this movement.

With your left hand, make a hooking block under your opponents right wrist. This is a technique Fiore frequently uses, most notably throughout the plays of the 1st master of dagger. Lead with your left thumb under handle of your opponents sword and onto the inside of their forearm.

Immediately you make contact, roll your wrist over and grab onto the forearm. Step through with your left foot as you do so, and pull the elbow in close, locking it to your core. The turn of the wrist, coupled with the leverage of your forearm will force your opponents blade right over, as the picture shows.

While all the action is focused on the left hand, bring your right hand back to lock against your ribs. Your right hip is chambered for an attack. The sword blade effectively extends directly from your core. Use your wrist to target the point. As your left hand pulls back, your right hip pushes forward, driving the blade through your opponent.

A slight variation of this play can be seen in the following

Sword in two hands – 15th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 30 r. b

Translation

This play is done like this. Against one who makes a middle blow against my middle on the left side, I immediately go with cover to the narrow and throw my sword at the neck of the player as shown here. I can throw him to the ground without fail.

Interpretation

Against a horizontal mezana cut to your left side, respond with the master play using posta frontale. Turn slightly to your left and step through with your left foot, pushing your opponents sword before you.

Bring your right foot up and as you do so, grab your sword in the middle of the blade with your left hand. Continue the movement of your right foot, swinging it behind your opponent to land between their feet. Reach over your opponents head with your left hand as you do so. This is the picture point shown.

Make sure that your shoulder girdle, your arms, and the sword form a circle. As you sink your weight onto your right foot, roll that circle into a vertical plane and then down. Although it appears in the picture as if the crossguard is going to catch under your opponents chin, ideally you want your right hand to slide past their neck, leaving their head cradled in the hollow of your shoulder.

Your left hand comes to rest by your left shoulder, and your right hand just inside your right knee. Your opponent will be thrown on their back at your feet.

With some variation, you can see this same basic throw being used in different contexts in the following plays.

Sword in two hands – 16th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 30 r c

Translation

This is the high sword disarm. Keeping hold of my sword I press forward, and with my left hand I shall clasp your arms in such a way that it is better to lose the sword. And I will give you grievous injuries. The scholar who comes after this play shows how the sword of the player is on the ground.

Interpretation

The 16th scholar is not a complete play in itself. It marks a transition point which you must pass through if you want to continue to the disarm of the 17th scholar.

From the master play, roll the handle of your sword in an arc under your opponents blade. As you do so, step through on the outside line with your left foot. Once you are on the outside line, release your grip with your left hand. Your sword should be in a horizontal plane extending behind you.

You could at this point, push with your left hand to finish as the 2nd scholar with a pommel srike. The two plays use the same opening move. Instead, you reach across both of your opponents arms. Do not lock them yet. This is the position shown.

At this stage, you are committed to continue as the 17th scholar. Although you must pass through this point, it is essential that you do not pause or break your flow in any way. The 16th and 17th scholars are completed together in a single smooth movement.

Sword in two hands – 17th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 30 r. d

Translation

From the grip made by the scholar before me, I can feel the sword has fallen to the ground. It is no lie to say that I can injure you greatly.

Interpretation

Having completed the play of the 16th scholar, keep moving so as to not lose any momentum. As your body weight moves forward, put all your weight onto your left foot. Pivot 180 degrees on the ball of your left foot.

As you do so, pull your right foot back, so that your feet are together. You will be facing the same direction as your opponent. Bend your knees and push your left hip under their right, so stealing their centre. With your left arm, try to catch your opponent as high up the forearms as possible, and lock your left elbow down against your ribs with your forearm across your belt.

You should be right underneath your opponent at this stage. Everything momentarily contracts down into your own core. You want to lift your opponents hips up and pull their elbows down into your centre, forcing them off balance. Do not bend over. Make sure you keep your back upright. As you drop your weight, your own sword hand will drop as well. Ensure the handle of your sword crosses the blade of your opponents sword just above the hilt.

This contraction is the crux of the two plays. You will need to practice it slowly, smoothly and often in order to be able to be able to do it at speed with confidence. It is in many ways mechanically the same as a throw, and relies on timing and flow more than strength.

Continuing on, drop your right foot behind you and keep pivoting on the balls of your feet. In total, you will have spun in almost a complete circle, and be facing roughly the same direction you started in. The whole thing has the sensation of spinning through your opponent like a whirlwind, and catching them up in your movement. As you pivot on your feet, scoop your hand down and then up again to posta de fenestra.

Your opponent will have their elbows pinned together and will be swept along as you spin past them. As their arms are locked shut, their hands will tend to pop open. The scoop of your sword will rip their sword from their grasp and fling it dramatically behind you somewhere. You should find yourself more or less as depicted.

Drop the tip of your sword to the pit of your opponents throat and push.

Sword in two hands – 18th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 30 v. a

Translation

This is how to do the middle sword disarm. Such a turn of the sword is done like this, which is the same as the first one, except that the grip is not the same.

Interpretation

The middle sword disarm works best when your opponents sword is more or less upright, such as in Posta Frontale. From the crossing of the swords as shown by the 3rd master, let go of the sword with your left hand. Spin the sword clockwise in a horizontal plane around its point of balance, so that the handle ends up on the outside.

Step through with your left foot, swinging your left hand up to the handle of your opponents sword between their hands. Keep the elbow in close to tie the action to your hip. This is the point shown.

As your weight sinks onto your left foot, keep your hips turning in a clockwise direction. With your left elbow close to your hip, let your forearm swing horizontally across your body, eventually pointing roughly behind you. This movement has the sensation of swatting the sword from your opponents hands.

As your left hand moves across the front of your body, keep the sword spinning. The point where your sword handle contacts your opponents blade wants to be above your left hand throughout this whole movement. This will snatch the sword from your opponents grip, throwing it behind you. It should sail through the air in a neatly upright position. You will be left in a single handed Posta di Fenestra in front of your astonished and weaponless opponent. You will be so close at this point that your sword tip will be right in their face. Use a quick flick of the hips to drive it into them.

You will see the same principles of this disarm used in the following plays.