Sword in one hand, Uncategorized

Sword in one hand – 10th scholar

Foilio 21 v. b


This one struck at my head, and I beat his sword aside, so coming to this position. Also, I will make you turn, for having not failed at this I will put the sword to your neck, I am so audacious.


The 10th scholar of sword in one hand gives a variation on breaking the thrust, as described by the 10th scholar of the 2nd master of sword in two hands, as well as combining several other elements. From the master play, the text says you are defending against a strike to the head. Regardless of the exact attack, your initial cover is essentially the same. Only the height of your inital beat will vary to match the attack.

Slide your right foot across to open up your hips, and with a riverso cut, move your sword through posta frontale, sweeping the attack to your right. Step through with your left foot, continuing to sweep the attack down to the ground.

As your left foot lands, shuffle your right foot up to step on the tip of your opponents blade, similar to the 11th and 12th scholars of the 2nd master of sword in two hands. Reach out with your left hand to catch your opponents elbow, and in a smooth continuous movement, carry your own sword up into posta di fenestra. This is the moment shown.

Your right hip will have slightly throughout this and is well chambered. Push the right hip forward and use it to power shoving your opponents elbow across their body, turning them to the right. The combination of the elbow push and the leverage of the sword tip will pull the weapon from their hand, causing it to snap down to the ground.

Fiore says ‘I will put the sword to your neck.’ One interpretation would be to use the right hip push which powered the elbow push to simultaneously drive the point in a straight line through your opponents neck.

A second interpretation would be to use that hip push to lunge your left foot behind your turning opponent. Throw your sword blade in front of their neck, and catch it with your left hand. Pivot on the ball of your left foot, arcing your right foot behind you, simultaneously cutting your opponents throat and throwing them backwards and to your right, as shown by the 7th scholar of sword in one hand.

Horseback - Grappling plays, Uncategorized

Horseback grappling – Counter to the 3rd scholar

Folio 45 v. c


This is the counter to the previous play which wants to throw the player on the ground along with the horse. It is a simple thing to know that when the scholar throws his arm over the neck of the horse to take the bridle, immediately the player throws his arm around the scholars neck, and forces him to drop it, as you see drawn here.


Here, your opponent has reached across your horses head, and is trying to twist both it and you to the ground. To get a good grip on your horses bridle, they need to extend themselves quite a bit. This provides your opportunity for a counter.

In order to throw the horse, your opponent is trying to twist its head not just axially, but also in an arc out to your left, and back across the horses withers.

Form your right arm into a smooth curve. You want the points from your fingertips, wrist, elbow, right shoulder, left shoulder to make the arc of a circle. There is the sensation of flaring out the elbow and leading with the top of the thumb.

Keeping your core attached to the saddle, extend you arm, curving it around your opponents neck, as shown in the picture. Slide your arm along the neck. You are aiming to get  their head resting in the hollow of your right shoulder. The twist your opponent has given to your horse will cause it to turn slightly to the left. If your opponent does not let go and immediately try to regain their balance, they will be peeled from the saddle, falling backwards by the front right foot of your horse.

The distance of your opponent, and the fact that your hips are bound to the horse means that you will not be able to perform this technique as smoothly as it appears in other plays. Despite this, you can see what is conceptually the same throw in the following plays.

Horseback - 8th master, Uncategorized

Horseback – 6th scholar of the 8th master

Folio 44 v. b


This is the sixth, who wants to take the sword of the companion. When taking the sword, keep lifting straight up, and his sword will certainly fall from his hand.


This play takes place after the initial contact. Your swords will be crossed in the middle. From there, drop your right hand down, reaching across your opponent and rolling your blade to the opposite side of your opponents horse. Twist your body to do this rather than reaching across with your shoulders. If you lean too far, you are in danger of being tangled in your opponent and stripped from the saddle. You should find yourself in the position shown.

Having wedged your hand behind the pommel of your opponents sword, drop your weight into the saddle and pull your right elbow back across your body, raising your right hand as you do so. Although pulling your elbow back makes you more stable, it is the lift which actually strips the weapon.

The angle of your hand and pommel severely restricts the movement of your opponents sword hand. The higher you lift, the safer you are and the more your opponents fingers are pried open. The sword should fall behind your left shoulder, leaving you safe to turn and pursue your now cursing opponent.

Sword in two hands - Narrow play, Uncategorized

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

Folio 30 r c


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.


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.

Dagger - 5th Master, Uncategorized

Dagger – 10th scholar to the 5th scholar

Folio 15 v. b


This grip is enough for me that your dagger will not touch me. The play that is after me is what I want to do. And other plays I could do to you without any doubt, but I leave them for now because this is good and very fast.


Here, your opponent grabs you with their left hand and attacks using a sottano stab instead of a fendente. As a response, you ignore the grabbing hand and focus entirely on the dagger.

Use the cover of the 9th master to grab your attackers forearm in a sword grip. With your left hand on their wrist and your right up by the elbow, drop your weight and twist your hips anticlockwise. This deflects the dagger past your left hip, setting you up to flow on to the 11 scholar where you twist the dagger out of your opponents hands.

The combined plays of the 10th and 11th scholars of the 5th master are fundamentally the same transition of flow as described by the remedy, 1st and 2nd scholars of the 9th master

Horseback - Grappling plays, Uncategorized

Horseback – 3rd scholar of grappling

Folio 45 v. b


This is a way to throw someone to the ground with their horse. To throw both horse and rider to the ground is done in this way. When you fight on horseback, ride on his right side. Throw your right arm over the neck of his horse, and take the bridle by the bit which is in the horses mouth, and forcefully pull it up and over. Let the chest of your horse push through the rump of his horse. And in this way he will fall to the ground along with his horse.


When fighting against a mounted opponent, one of the options available to you is to take out your opponents horse. This has already been explored by the 1st counter to the 5th master of horse and the counter to the 6th master of horse. In this play you are unarmed, so here you throw both horse and rider to the ground.

For the purposes of explaining what is happening here, this play does not in any way take into account what your opponent is doing. Unless they are highly distracted, such as from dealing with another combatant, they wil be trying to fight you off. You will have to make this play in whatever space you can find while fending off their attacks. Given that there is just too much randomness going on there, it is described as used against a fairly passive opponent. Also, although there is a degree of movement between the horses, they are not moving at nearly the speed used in other plays from horseback.

Reach over the opponents horses head and grab the bit right at the mouth. Lift up and over the horses head, pulling back towards your self as shown. This gives an axial twist down the horses neck and into the shoulders, destabilising them.

Keep your own horse moving forward, pushing against the rump of your opponents horse. This causes it to move the back legs, pivoting on its already unsteady front legs. As you do so, push your right hand forward and down as if trying to touch your opponents saddle.

By adding a lateral twist to the axial twist you have aleady put on the neck, while disrupting its rear legs, the horse will be left trying to pivot with all its weight on its front left foot while you push against it. An impossible task, it will fall away from you, hopefully injuring the rider as it does so.

The horse will be angry, scared and probably in a degree of pain, but essentially uninjured. It will thrash around quite wildly as it gets back to its feet and runs off. Bear in mind that its feet will be facing you as it does this. Keep well clear of it while it does this before either making your escape or riding down your opponent down.

Dagger - 1st Master, Uncategorized

Dagger – Counter to the 5th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 r. a


The counter for this, I will do to you, so that you do not take my dagger or bind my arm, and my dagger and I will remain at liberty. And then I will wound you in such a way and manner that you will not have a defence for this.


Having attempted to stab your opponent, they have used the play of the 5th scholar of the 1st master of dagger against you. They are going to put you in a high bind unless you act quickly.

With your left hand, push forward against your right as the picture shows. You must be fast to do this before the bind locks on. This will brace your arm so that you have a mechanical advantage, and prevent it from being folded back. The counter master tells us that he will then wound the player, but does not give any details as to how. Several options present themselves as easy plays to flow on to.

Counter to the 1st master of dagger. Swing the dagger over the top of the opponents left arm so that it points off to your right. Using your left hand to add force to the motion, you should be able to break your right arm free of your opponents grip. You will then be well positioned to strike with a mandritto into your opponents ribcage under their left arm.

Counter to the 2nd scholar of the 1st master of dagger. Move the point of the dagger so that it rests against your opponents right arm. Use the leverage that your left hand provides to push it into them. Their arm will give way, allowing you to continue with a finishing strike.

7th scholar of the 2nd master of sword in two hands. Having reached the picture point, there will be a tendancy for this play to devolve into something of a wrestling match. With everyones attention focussed on the dagger and the bind, your opponent will be left wide open for a groin kick. Drive one into them. This will completely disrupt their structure, allowing you to continue the attack.

Grappling - Plays, Uncategorized

Grappling – 11th scholar

Folio 8 r. a


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.


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.

Pollaxe - Plays, Uncategorized

Pollaxe – 4th scholar

Folio 37 r. a


Because of this grip that I keep you in, I will strike you in the head with my pollaxe, and with my arm I will put you in the strong lower bind, which more than the others is mortally dangerous.


To make this play, you need to begin by breaking your opponents attack to the right. This gives you the opening you need to move to the outside line.

Holding the head of both weapons down and to the right, lunge in with your left foot. As you do so, scoop under your opponents right arm with your left arm. Make sure you are very close to your opponent. You will need to be able to reach the back of their shoulder with your hand. As you move, you can release the cover and raise your pollaxe for a strike, as the picture shows.

Pivot on your left foot, arcing your right foot behind you in a clockwise direction. Push into your opponenrts hips as you do so. Lock your left elbow into your body and lever down on the back of your opponent shoulder. They will bend forward at the hips, trapped in a lower bind.

You will now have the time and space to slide your hand to a more balanced single handed grip on your weaopn. There is a clear opening to strike to the back of the head, stab into the neck, or simply hold your opponent in submission. Other examples of the lower bind or variations of it, can be seen in the following plays.

Sword in armour - Plays, Uncategorized

Sword in armour – 7th scholar

Folio 34 r. b


When I come to the guard in the narrow cover, if I cannot wound with a cut, I use the point. If I cannot injure with either of these, I will strike with the cross guards or pommel. This is done according to what I decide. And when I am in the narrow play, and the player believes I want to use the sword, I am going to grapple if it gives me the advantage. And if not, I am going to strike him in the face with the cross guards as I said before.


Having made the master cover, the scholar needs to flow on to another technique. When cutting and stabbing are not options, pommel striking and grapping come under consideration. In the end, the 7th scholar opts for a cross guard strike.

The master cover has swept your opponents sword off to your right side. The very close range and the mechanics of the play mean that it is safe to move in false time. Keep your left hand reasonably still in space and step your right foot past it. As your toes touch the ground, begin the strike with your right hand. It will feel something like you are punching your opponent in the forehead. Pivot the blade around the left hand and make contact as your weight sinks onto your front foot.

There is no need to try and drive this technique through your opponent. Stop the sword at vertical and then transition to something else. Eyes are particulalry vulnerable to stabbing attacks. At the very least, your opponent will be momentarily blinded, allowing you a free shot. In a perfect hit, it is possible to drive the cross guard straight through the eyeball and socket and into the brain, causing your opponent to collapse dead at your feet. Most likely is they will suffer a fractured eye socket and be unable to either see or continue fighting.