Sword in one hand

Sword in one hand – 8th scholar

Folio 21 r. b

Translation

You cast a thrust at me and I beat it to the gound. See that you are uncovered and that I can wound you. Also I want to turn you around to hurt you more. And I will wound you in the middle of the back.

Interpretation

In this play, you combine a number of characteristic techniques of armizare. You begin with a universal parry, continue with breaking the thrust and finish with an elbow push.

From the cover of the master play, defend yourself against thrust from your opponent by sliding your front foot offline. Catch your opponents blade as you cut with your sword through posta frontale. Keep the momentum of the blade going as you step through with your left foot. Use the motion of your hips to break the thrust by pushing your opponents sword to the ground.

As your left foot touches the ground, reach out with your left hand to push against your opponents right elbow, as shown.

Step through with your right foot, pushing your left hand across your body as you do so. This will turn your opponent, leaving their back exposed. Take the pressure off the bind as you push, allowing your opponents sword to slide underneath yours. Your sword tip will naturally lift and should cleanly push into your opponents right kidney.

Dagger - 5th Master, Uncategorized

Dagger – 10th scholar to the 5th scholar

Folio 15 v. b

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – Counter to the 3rd master

Folio 14 r. d

Translation

This is the counter to the third remedy master of dagger, who makes the play with the reverse hand. I make this bind against him. Armoured and unarmoured, this is good and secure. And if I do this against someone without armour, I will break the hand and also dislocate it. And the pain will make him fall to his knees at my feet. And if I want to strike him, I can do that easily.

Interpretation

As you strike at your opponent with a reverse strike, they make a hooking block with their right hand, intending to spin around you to your right side so as to attack you from behind as shown by the 3rd master and all his scholars. Counter them like this.

Due to the cover your opponent has made, the point of the dagger will probably be extending over the top of their arm. If it is not, you need to swing it over quickly. Step in close with your left foot. Your opponent will be moving around to your right side. You want to turn as they do, so that you stay facing them.

As you step, reach up with your left hand and grab the tip of the dagger. This forms posta mezza porta di ferro dopia incrosada, with the dagger blade capturing the wrist using a 3rd class lever. This posta cannot make long covers, so you must be very close to your opponent for this to work. This is the moment pictured.

Pivot on your left foot if necessary so as to keep your opponent directly in front of you. Keep your weight low and your elbows in tight, pulling them back and locking your crossed forearms against your centre. Roll your hands down as you do so.

The leverage imposed on your opponents arm will break the wrist and force the forearm to a vertical position. Your opponent will fall to their knees at your feet. With your left hand, let go of the dagger and roll it across to grab the broken wrist. The pain and shock this induces will give you complete control over your opponents movement. It will also free up your right hand, still holding the dagger, and giving you the opportunity to strike them at will.

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

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 7th master

Folio 43 v. b

Translation

Carrying the sword like this is called posta coda longa and it is very good against lance and any hand held weapon when riding on the right side of the enemy. It is well to bear in mind that the thrusts and reverse blows are beaten outwards, that is, across and not upwards. And diagonal blows are likewise beaten to the outside, raising the enemies sword a little. You can do the plays as drawn.

Interpretation

Both the 7th and 8th master of horse are the same. They are drawn as two separate characters to demonstrate the applicability of this posta in a variety of contexts. Where the 8th master covers against roverso blows, the 7th master shows the use of this posta against mandritto cuts as well as thrusts.

Ride in a long straight line at speed toward your opponent with your right arm crossing the body and the blade trailing behind you in posta coda longa. Due to being mounted, it is not possible to put any hip action into your beat. It is instead driven by a sharp contraction of the shoulder blades and expansion of the chest. The majority of the force, of course, comes from the movement of the horse. You are really just giving direction to the sharp end of it.

Fiores point that you beat your opponents weapon across and not up is an important one. Whereas on foot, you would cut up on a clean diagonal line, doing so here would cause you to strike your own horse in the head. Your sword needs to move in an arc up the side of the horses head and then across over the top of it. This lateral movement also serves to ensure that your opponents weapon is beaten well off line. It is by clearing your opponents weapon like this that allows you to move on to the plays of the 8th master.

Spear on foot

Spear – Posta Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tusk guard)

Folio 40 r. a

Translation

We are three left side guards, and I am the first in Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tusk). Those that were on the right side, we do the same on the reverse. We pass off the line, first of all by advancing the foot that is in front. And we easily make our thrusts from the reverse side. Both the right and left sides beat and finish with a thrust, because other attacks with the spear should not follow.

Interpretation

The master in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro with a spear is a mirror image of Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro. The spear is held vertically with the left hand uppermost on the spear shaft, while the right foot is forward in a rear weighted stance.

As with all the masters of spear on foot, this uses the universal defence of sliding the front foot off the centreline and sweeping the weapon across the body. Step through with your left foot as you do so, landing in Posta Breve la Serpentina. You will be perfectly placed to deliver a thrust into your opponents chest or face.

Although not mentioned here, you could also easily drop into Posta Vera Crose and deliver a short thrust with the spear butt if your opponent moved in too close and carelessly.

Nomenclature not being Fiores strongest point, the naming of this posta is a little unusual. Stating he is in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro, this master bears no resemblance to the corresponding posta from sword in two hands, spear vs horseback, or 6th master of horse. It seems to be given its name by virtue of being the opposite to Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro.

Sword in armour - Plays

Sword in armour – 9th scholar

Folio 34 r. d

Translation

I also say that the scholar who is before me, who injured the player with the pommel of the sword in his face, could also do as I do. That is, advance with the right foot behind his left, and keep his sword on the players neck so as to throw him on the ground as I do.

Interpretation

This play is very similar to the 8th scholar, and indeed, you can easily finish your opponent with this play as a natural transition from either the 7th or 8th scholars

Having made the master cover, as your opponent recovers their sword, follow it by stepping through with your right foot. Use your sword to push your opponents weapon out of the way, clearing you a space to step into. Get in as close as possible. Ideally, you want the inside of your right thigh pressing against the outside of their left thigh. The closer you are, the easier the throw will be.

As your weight anchors onto your front foot, slide the handle of your sword onto the right side of your opponents neck. If they are half swording their own weapon, you can put your right arm under their elbow so that your forearm is pushing against their chest as shown. This will give you plenty to push against and you can be more confident of your throw. If they have boths hands on their sword handle, you will need to put your right arm over the top of their left, similar to the 8th scholar. Again, you want your forearm to rest against their chest as much as possible.

On a minor artistic detail, you might notice that the sword of the 9th scholar is drawn on the wrong side of the players blade. The position as shown is difficult to get into and requires a lot of cooperation. Your sword is supposed to be pushing your opponents out of the way.

Once in position, drop your weight down so that your thigh is parallel to the floor. Pivot your hips clockwise and scoop your right hand around and down to your hip. Your opponent will fall over your thigh landing on their back to your right side.

You will see variations of this same throw in the following plays.

Sword in two hands - Narrow play

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.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 5th scholar of the 9th master

Folio 18 r. d

Translation

I have not abandoned the grip of my master. Also I entered immediately under his right arm to dislocate it with this grip. I can do this armoured or unarmoured. And when I hold him from behind like this, I will do bad things to him and he will not have a chance.

Interpretation

There are two slightly different methods of entering this play. Which method you choose is more likely to depend on how both combatants are moving. They both begin with your opponent making a sottano stab against you. Using the cover of the 9th master, grab your opponents wrist using a sword grip.

Your first option is to drop your weight, pivot your hips anticlockwise and direct the dagger past your left side. This is simply brushing it past yourself. There is no need to either push the attack out wide or attempt to pull your opponent off balance. All they have to do is miss. As they withdraw their hand, follow the momentum. Swing the hand up and to the right, stepping with your left foot to the centreline as you do so.

More directly, as your opponent stabs, you can catch their arm as the 9th master and pivot your hips clockwise instead. Both lift and deflect the momentum of the stab up and to the right. Use the pivoting of your hips to step your left foot across to the centre.

Regardless of which option you have taken, you will now have arrived at the same place. The direct approach is faster, but if the flow of movement is not going that way initially, it is best not to force it.

As you swing the arm to your right, keep your knees bent and your weight low. Pivot on your left foot and arc your right foot around behind you in a clockwise direction. Place your opponents arm so that your shoulder is immediately above their elbow. Your arms should be comfortable extended, and your opponents elbow pointing down. Lift your weight, pushing straight up. As you push up with your body, pull down with your hands. This creates a 1st class lever, breaking the elbow, as shown in the picture.

You can also see the same principles being used in the following plays.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 6th scholar of the 1st master

Folio 12 r. b

Translation

This cover is known to be stronger, and because of this I use it with several plays. And such strength you cannot overcome, because two arms can oppose one very well.

Interpretation

Rather than giving an individual technique as such, the 6th scholar gives an alternative method of making the master cover. While the master cover typically uses a hooking block with a single hand, here you brace your left hand with your right to make a high posta tutta porta di ferro dopia.

As Fiore points out, the advantage of bracing your arm like this is to add strength to your cover. The most likely reason to use it is against an opponent who is physically much larger or stronger than yourself.

The left hand moves in the same way as the 1st master, but you use your right hand to brace the wrist. Although the picture shows the left elbow held high, this is mechanically weak. In practice you do not want to lift it any higher than usual. Having made the cover, let your right hand drop away and transition to any of the plays of the 1st master.