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

Folio 29 v. a


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.


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.