These five figures are the guards of the dagger. And such is good in armour, and such is good without armour, and such is good in armour and without armour, and such is good with armour but not without armour. And all these we declare.
Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro (Full Iron Gate)
I am Posta Tutti Porta di Ferro (Full Iron Gate Guard) and I am single. And I am good in armour and without, because I can beat off an attack with a grapple or without. And I can play with the dagger and without, and make my covers.
This guard is a mobile ready postion which is exactly the same as its namesake from the Grappling section.
Keep the hands down low at waist level and be sure to keep the elbows in at all times, and the arms relaxed. This will give them the power from the hips and the speed required to drive them where they need to be.
Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro Dopia (Full iron gate guard doubled)
I am Posta Tutta Porto di Ferro Dopia (Full Iron Gate guard doubled), and I am good in armour and without, but even better in armour than without it. And with such a guard I cannot use a dagger.
Similar to Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro, however, this posta braces the lead hand, allowing greater force and safety when jammimg or sweeping aside incoming attacks. Note that the masters lead side faces the players weapon. i.e. a right handed attack is defended by bracing your own left hand.
Bracing the arm in this way will make for much closer techniques. Jamming an attack with your left forearm would almost instinctively lead to you attempting a strike with the right elbow. The close proximity leads to this posta working better in armour.
Also, your left hand is incapable of doing anthing useful with a dagger here, and your right hand is busy. You cannot use a dagger of your own with this guard.
Posta Mezza Porta di Ferro Dopia Incrosada (Middle Iron Gate Guard, Doubled and Crossed)
I am Mezza Porta di Ferro Dopia Incrosada (Middle Iron Gate Guard, Doubled and Crossed). And I am good in armour, but not without because I cannot make long covers. And I can cover above and below with the right hand and the left, with the dagger or without.
Although shown defending against a sottano attack here, this posta is used by the Seventh Master defending against a fendente attack. As stated, he can cover in all directions. The blade of the dagger extends down the right forearm, and the left hand holds the blade with the thumb at the tip.
This defence uses a ‘sticky hands’ principle, where the dagger is firmly braced to make a strong cover. You can then roll your left hand onto the wrist of the attacker, controlling their weapon, and freeing your own dagger to make a counterstrike.
Due to the mechanics involved, the arms need to be held close to the body, leaving only a small margin of error in completely avoiding the attaking dagger tip. Because of this, it is not a good technique to use without armour.
Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Gate Guard)
I am Mezana Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Door) with the dagger in hand and I am doubled. I am the best and stronger than all the others. And I am good in armour and without, and I cover low or high on either side.
The dagger is held in a hammer grip, with the left hand holding the blade and the thumbs toward the daggers centre. The arms work to brace each other. By flaring the elbows slightly, the two arms joined by the dagger form a circle which is very strong and mobile. They can cover in all directions and extend away from the body, leading to the claim that it is good without armour and stronger than all the others.
An adaptable position which can continue with a wide variety of techniques, this posta is used by the Sixth and Eighth masters.
Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro, Incrosada e Dopia (Full Iron Gate Guard, Crossed and Doubled)
I am Full Iron Gate with the arms crossed and doubled. And I am in a strong fortress, and in armour I am good and strong. And without armour I am not enough because I cannot make long covers.
With the arms crossed at the wrist, this posta appears at first glance to be the same as Middle Iron Gate, Crossed and Doubled, except without the dagger. The principle difference is that by having two hands to grab at your opponent, it possible to perform a number of manipulations. The 2nd Master of Dagger fights from this posta.
Don’t think of the doubled hands as a means of bracing against a heavy attack. It is better considered a single blocking hand (usually the bottom one) with the other hand acting as an outlying grabbing potential. Again, it is a ‘sticky hands’ approach. Don’t use it to snatch at things. The attacking aspect of this is applied once you have grabbed hold of two points on your opponent. By then uncrossing your hands, you create a twisting or turning motion.
This allows you to apply leverage in a variety of different situations. Some examples from the First Master of Dagger include
- a disarm and strike – 8th scholar
- a break – 7th scholar
- a lock – 2nd scholar
- a throw – 3rd scholar
The above list gives us our ‘five things‘ which Fiore states you should always do. Because any one of the five things can roll on to one of the others, gaining leverage allows a swift and smooth transfer into a complete attacking sequence.
These principles of applying leverage work best when the hands are held in close to the body. The further you extend the hands, the weaker your structure, and the less effective your technique, leading to the statement ‘I cannot make long covers.’ The need for close covers means that armour is required to maintain your own safety.