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 one hand – Master

Folio 20 r. d

Translation – players

Here are three players that want to kill this Master. One to stab him, the other to cut, the other wants to throw his sword against the said master. It will be a great deed that he is not killed, for God has made him very skillful.

Translation – Master

‘You are cowardly wretches and of this art you know little. Do the deeds that you can only talk of. Come one by one, if you dare, and if you were a hundred I would ruin you all, this guard is so good and strong.’ I advance my front foot a little off the line and with the left, I cross sideways. And in that step across, beating your sword aside I find you uncovered, and make sure I hurt you. And if a spear or sword is thrown I will beat them all as I described by passing off the line, as you see in my plays that come after. Please watch for them. And even with a single-handed sword I will do my art as it is said in these papers.

Interpretation

The master of sword in one hand makes a universal defence which is common to Fiores weapon systems. Whether the master advances their front foot to the left or right is something Fiore never elaborates on throughout the many plays that use this basic concept of defence. Either side works, but the different steps give different qualities to your actions.

Defence begins with rear weighted Posta Coda Longa. Note that the right elbow is anchored to the hip. As the masters hip revolves clockwise, the sword will sweep across the body, providing either attack or defence as circumstances require.

Regardless of which of the players attacks, the Master uses the same defence. Cut upwards with a roverso sottano, beating the attack to your right. As you do so, step through with your left foot, so closing in on your opponent. This leaves you a clear line of attack to proceed with the plays which follow.

Sliding your front foot to the right is not only an instinctive way to move, but is also implied by the way different plays following on from both this master and others who use the universal defence. You will almost always be sliding your right foot to the right. Doing so puts you directly in the line of your opponents attack. You must be greatly assertive when beating the attack aside as it leaves no room for error. To your advantage, however, is that widening your stance will open your hips right up, and allow you to put a great deal of power into your beat. In doing so, you will dominate the centerline. The directness and mechanical ease of opening your stance will also make this method slightly faster.

Sliding your front foot to the left closes your hips off quite substantially and robs you of a lot of power, however, it also moves you off the line of attack. There is no need to beat your opponents attack wide, as you will no longer be standing where the attack is directed. You are more defining your right edge and will need to step past it. This changes your angle of attack and so opens up previously unavailable targets. The need to move further makes this a slightly slower method. Although a viable option, sliding offline like this is an unusual exception, usually done for tactical reasons rather than making a direct assault.

Dagger – Counter to 2nd Master

Folio 13 r. c

Translation

I am the counter to the remedy master that is crossed before me, so that with his crossing, he will not make me any trouble. I will give such a push to his elbow, that I will turn and wound him immediately.

Explanation

You are delivering a fendente attack which your opponent, making the cover of the 2nd Master, goes to intercept using Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro, Incrosada e Dopia. Counter their defence using one of the most abundant techniques in armizare – the elbow push.

Reach out with your left hand, using it to catch your opponents elbow. Good timing is the key to making this work effectively. Rather than pushing against a stationary target, this is more redirecting your opponents incoming momentum.

As your opponent closes in against you, they extend themselves from a position of relative structural strength to relative weakness. Conversely, you are moving from an extended position of relative weakness to a more compact structure of relative strength. It is analogous to manipulating the balance point of the bind.

Push directly across your body. The harder you push, the further they turn. A gentle brush means they will skim past your head. A firm shove will leave you standing behind them.

Be aware also, that the harder you push, the more you are exposed to the unwritten contra counter. If your opponent lifts their elbows even higher at the very last moment, your push will go under them, through empty space. Your opponent can then leave their right hand to cover your dagger, and drop their left hand down to catch your left elbow from above. From there, they can build on your momentum, spinning you clockwise and ending up behind you.

The elbow push is also used in the following plays.

  • Dagger – Counter to the 6th scholar of the 1st master
  • Dagger – Counter to 6th Master
  • Dagger – Counter to 7th Master
  • Dagger – Counter to 8th Master
  • Sword vs Dagger – Counter to 1st scholar of the 1st Master
  • Sword vs Dagger – 2nd scholar of the 1st Master
  • Sword in one hand – 6th scholar
  • Sword in one hand – 8th scholar
  • Sword in two hands – 14th scholar of the 2nd Master
  • Sword in armour – 3rd scholar
  • Sword in armour – Counter to Master

Dagger – 1st counter to 1st master

Folio 10 v. b

Translation

I will give my dagger a turn around your arm. And for this reason, you will not take the dagger away from me. And also with this turn there is no doubt I will strike it into your chest.

Explanation

With your opponent acting as the 1st Master, they have grabbed your wrist and are attempting to bring it under control by pulling it in a tight arc which goes to the outside of the body and downward.

Rather than resisting this, allow your arm to be carried along, and build on the momentum it generates. Roll your wrist in a clockwise motion lifting your dagger tip over the top of your opponents forearm as shown. Allow this movement to expand into your own forearm and then drive your dagger under your opponents arm. Your wrist will break out of your opponents grip in the gap between their little finger and the base of their thumb, and will slide straight into their ribcage.

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.

Horseback – 1st scholar of grappling

Folio 45 r. b

Translation

This is a grappling play. That is, a play of unarmed combat, and it is done in this way. When someone flees from you and his left side is near, with the right hand you grab him by the cheekplate of the helmet, or if he is disarmed by the neck, or by the right arm behind his shoulders. In that way you will make him fall to the ground.

Explanation

In this play you are moving in behind someone and pulling them backwards off their horse. They may have disengaged from a bout and you have managed to come around behind them. They may be fleeing the field and you are running them down.

The basic idea is to grab the upper right quadrant of their body and pull down to the lower left, causing them to twist away from you and fall off their horse.

There is more movement and speed here than the picture suggests. Lean forward and reach out for your opponent. Your forward motion will impel your horse to pick up speed, allowing you to catch them.

Fiore gives a number of different suggestions as to what to grab. It really comes down to anything you can get a good grip on. Bear in mind that the twist is the crux of the technique, which is why the cheek plate of the helmet is the best available option. Reaching around behind your opponent and grabbing the front of the helmet will cause them to turn their head and body fully to the right, so their back is towards you. This will disengage their hips from their horse, and start to roll their left hip up and out of the saddle. It will also cause their horse to veer off to the right.

Having taken hold of your opponent, sink your weight back into the saddle and pull your right arm back in close to your body. This will cause your own horse to slow down or possibly stop altogether. Your opponents sudden instability will cause their horse to speed up, running off at an angle. You are less pulling your opponent from their horse, as you are holding them still and directing their horse out from under them. They will roll backwards, falling onto their head or shoulders.

Throughout this whole process, use your left hand to hold firmly but gently onto your own saddles pommel. If your opponents horse kicks out, it might hit either you or your horse. As your opponent falls, your horse will either trample on or jump over them. The moment after the grab will not be the smoothest of rides, and you need to be sure you do not lose your own seat in all the excitement.

Sword in armour – 2nd scholar

Folio 33v. a

Translation

When I see my thrust cannot enter either in the chest or face, because of the visor, I remove the visor and put the point in his face. And if this is not enough for me, I will use other, stronger plays.

Interpretation

This play is a variant on the exchange of the thrust. From the master play, you pass your front foot offline. Step through with your left foot and use the resulting hip movement to beat your opponents attack to the right. Keeping your hands low and your point high, lunge forward, stabbing your opponent.

What makes this play stand out is that it is a response to a very specific point in armour development. Helmets had evolved to a stage where visors were strong enough and common enough to be recognised as making certain previously legitimate techniques redundant. Fiore is writing at just the moment after visors require a workaround, but before they are being latched closed as part of a typical build.

Having made the beat, you will be in the range of narrow play. Just as your hips finish their rotation to the right, position your sword to its line of attack, then reach out with your left hand and push the visor up. Your right forearm should be locked to your right hip. Push the right hip forward and use that motion to drive the sword point into your opponents face.

You will also see the exchange of thrusts in the following plays.

The 3rd scholar of pollaxe also resolves the problem of visors in much the same way.

This play ends with the delightfully pragmatic piece of advice that if it doesnt work, then try something else.

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.

Dagger – 8th Master

Folio 17 r. c

Translation

I am the 8th Remedy Master and I cross with my dagger. And this play is good in armour and unarmoured. And my plays are shown with some before and some after me. Like the 8th play of the 6th Master of Dagger where I strike the player in the hand with the tip of my dagger, in a similar way I strike down onto the hand whereas before I struck upward. Also I can take his wrist with my left hand and with the right I can injure him well. You will find me after the 9th scholar of the 9th Master of Dagger that stabs the player in the chest. Also I can make the last play after I have abandoned my dagger.

Explanation

The theme of the 8th Master of Dagger is defence against a sottano attack. Although the scholars choose different posta, the Master himself uses Posta Mezana Porta di Ferro. This posta says ‘I am good in armour and without, and I cover low or high on either side.’ Contact with the opponent occurs at arms reach, making this a safe defence to use when unarmoured. Your arms can circle around in front of the body, defending against all angles.

Fiore gives several different options of defence in this single play.

As pictured, it is the same defence used by the 6th master of dagger against high attacks. View this not so much as blocking an attack, but more making an attack of your own against your opponents dagger. With a square stance and your body directly facing your opponent, strike down and out against the base of the incoming dagger blade.

The power of your attack does not come from your arms, but your hips. Keep your elbows in tight to your body. Direct your forearms to your intended direction of attack and drive them out in a straight line, dropping your weight into your stance as you do so. This will give you a much stronger attack. If you hit your opponents dagger hard enough, you might knock it clean out of their hand.

From here, you can continue with any number of techniques. Your left hand is free to bind, push or throw, while your right can deliver a strike.

One follow on example Fiore gives is the 8th scholar of the 9th master of dagger. Having stopped your opponents attack, your left hand is almost touching theirs. Roll it forward and grab their left wrist. Your right hand is free to deliver a sottano of your own.

Fiore also suggests continuing as the 9th scholar of the 9th master of dagger. Stop your opponents attack as the master and then roll your left hand forward, taking control of the opponents right wrist. Drop your own dagger and grab your opponents dagger by the blade with your thumb toward the handle. Pull back with your left hand and roll your right hand under, stripping the weapon from your opponents hand and driving it with a kind of roverso into their solar plexus.

Another option Fiore suggests relates to the 6th scholar of the 6th master of dagger. As you see the dagger approaching, move offline by rotating your hips in a clockwise direction. Move your feet appropriately to the situation to give the correct distance and angle. As you pivot out of the way, drop your left hand down on top of your opponents hand. It will feel almost like you are brushing the incoming hand down. As the dagger tip extends beyond the base of your hand, your opponent will drive themselves onto it.

There are many other follow on options you can use. The 8th Remedy Master is a highly adaptable defence. It is notable for being a self defence model in the 3rd scholar of baton, where it is used by a man who has yet to rise from his seat.

Dagger – 1st scholar of the 2nd master

Folio 13 r. d

Translation

This grip is so strong that I believe I can kill anyone with it, because I can break your arm and I can throw you to the ground, and I can take your dagger. I can also tie you in the high bind. And from these four things, you will not be free.

Explanation

Although it sits within the dagger section, this is essentially a grappling technique. It works especially well against an overhead hammerfist style attack, such as is delivered with a mandritto or fendente dagger strike. The real key to making this work is to catch the attack after it has been chambered, but before it has been properly launched. As with all grappling techniques, timing and flow are critical.

With your left arm, make an upper block to jam your opponents dagger hand. You want their forearm to be no further forward than upright if possible. Make initial contact with the outside of your forearm and roll it roll it so your palm faces away from you.

Quickly step through with your right foot. You will need to get in close. Use the hip rotation to throw your right arm under your opponents right arm. Reach up with your right hand and grab on to your left hand.

You have now created a crank handle as pictured. Your opponents upper arm rests in the crook of your right elbow, creating a pivot point. Their forearm is a lever, which you about to push back and down.

Step through with the left foot, giving your body a slight clockwise twist. You want to lever the forearm past your opponents shoulder and behind them. If it goes too wide, and the angle of the arm exceeds 90 degrees, they have a chance to twist free. Keep it tight.

Lock your right elbow onto your hip and push your hand straight down. This will apply a great amount of torsional leverage to your opponents shoulder. If their knees dont give way first, it will tear the shoulder joint. Either way, your opponent will fall straight down in a crumpled heap at your feet.

Dagger – 1st scholar of 1st Master

Folio 10 v. c

Translation

In the middle bind I will put your arm so that you will not make me any trouble. And if I want to slam you to the ground it is little bother to me, and you will not escape without difficulty.

Explanation

As the 1st scholar, you are applying a ligadura mezana (middle bind). Start as the 1st Master with a hooking block to the wrist of your opponents attacking hand. Where the Master grabs and controls the hand, however, you apply the bind.

At the end of the hooking block, your forearm and upper arm form a 90 degree angle. Your elbow should be no further than a hand span from your ribs, and your hand should be level with your shoulder. This is structurally the strongest position for you to be in.

Without pausing, keep the momentum of your movement going. Move your hand in an anticlockwise circle, pivoting around the elbow to arrive back at the position just described. This should strip the weapon from your opponents hand. The picture shows the scholar mid way through this movement.

As much as possible, keep your elbow still, relative to your body. You will have to extend it a little to twist it over your opponents arm, however, if you overextend your elbow, it will weaken your structure, leaving you open to a counter. To keep the motion smooth, on the downward arc roll your hand palm down, and then roll it palm up on the upward arc.

As you are doing this, step up with your back foot, and then forward with your left, stepping into your opponent. This will push them off balance and maintain your advantage. As you lock your arm back into position and the bind takes effect, your opponent will arch their back and tip off balance to your left side. This will leave them exposed all down the front for you to deliver a strike.

Your most dangerous point in this technique is the moment in time captured in the drawing. The two players are structurally quite equal here. As the scholar, you hold the advantage by virtue of your momentum and capacity to return to a strong position. The whole play (essentially two consecutive hooking blocks) needs to be completed in a single smooth action.

Spear – Posta Mezza Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Gate)

Folio 39 r. c

Translation

I am positioned in Mezza Porta di Ferro (Middle Iron Gate) with the spear. Beating and wounding is always my custom. Come whoever wants. With a short spear or staff, the beat with a step will not fail to wound, and all guards which step off line with short spear and short sword are enough when facing any long hand held weapon. And those which cover from the right, cover with a pass and a thrust. And the guards on the left side cover, beat and injure with a strike but cannot thrust well.

Explanation

In the description of the Spear Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro, Fiore makes it very clear that the spear postas are just sword postas used in a different context. This is interesting in Posta Mezza Porta di Ferro, because when this posta is used with a sword, the right foot is forward and the point is on the centerline. By leading with the left foot here, the spear point has to swing off to the right. Functionally, this stance more closely resembles Sword Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro.

Regardless of nomenclature, all Fiore spear posta hold the point offline. As he points out here, all his spears and any relatively short weapon all make the same initial defence.

Slide your front foot off to the side. Beat the opposing spear point to the side while passing your back foot to the front. You will now be able to deliver a counter thrust of your own.

Sword in armour – 3rd scholar

Folio 33 v. b

Translation

When I come to the narrow with this player to make the previous play, but can do nothing due to his armour, then I push the elbow so strongly that it makes him turn. If his armour is strong, I will want to try this.

Interpretation

You have just broken your opponents attack as the master of sword in armour, and have entered narrow play. Due to your opponents armour, you are not able to effectively wound them with your sword. The break, however, will cause them to turn slightly. As the 3rd scholar, you are maximising this potential opportunity.

Reach forward with your left hand. Keep your fingers together to avoid accidentally catching them on something and hurting yourself. With the fingers pointing down, put the palm of your hand on your opponents elbow. Anchor your weight on your left foot, and give a solid shove to the elbow, turning your opponent to your right.

There is a degree of timing involved in this. You need to catch your opponent as they are moving. Once they have both feet solidly on the floor, the effectiveness of the elbow push will be greatly reduced.

Depending on how far they turn, you will be to their side, or possibly even directly behind them. From here, a range of new opportunities will present themselves, despite your opponents armour. Look to the armpit, the side of the ribcage, the backs of the legs or any other unprotected area.

Grip your sword in the middle of the blade with your left hand. Use this to direct the point to your chosen target and drive it into your opponent before they recover their balance.

The elbow push is also used in the following plays.

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 one hand – 1st scholar

Folio 20 v. a

Translation

What the Master said, I have done well. That is, I passed off the line with a good cover. And I find the player uncovered so that I can put the point to his face for certain. And with my left hand I want to try to send his sword to the ground.

Interpretation

Having beaten the attack aside as described by the master, you are now in Posta Fenestra. The structure of the player was unfortunately strong enough to resist your beat, and they still dominate the centreline.

Leading with your thumb, reach out with your left hand for a hooking block. Your wrist should sit in the angle formed by the players hand and the crossbar of the sword. As you roll your hand over the players wrist, the crossbar forms a small lever, twisting the sword offline to your left. Pull your left hand back so that your elbow locks into your hip. The blade of the sword will run down the length of your forearm. This is all done as a fast, smooth, circular motion. The player will probably still maintain their grip, but will be pulled off balance.

With the central line now wide open, thrust your sword straight into your opponents face.

Sword in two hands – 1st scholar of the 2nd master – Wide play

Folio 25 v. b

Translation

The play of my master I have done. I have made his cover and immediately I did as he said, in that I first wound the arms, and then I put the point in his chest.

Explanation

In the preceding play, you crossed swords with your opponent in the middle of the blade. There, the master said to slide your sword down to attack your opponents hands or thrust to the chest. In this play, you demonstrate what the master described.

Moving into posta frontale during the master play should have deflected your opponents sword off the centreline. At the very last instant of this move, twist your sword along its lateral axis. In addition to knocking your opponents sword aside with the momentum of the beat, it will also add a slight flick, ensuring you have a clear opening.

Keeping your elbows locked to your hips, make a short downward cut. This is a relatively weak, but very fast action. It is driven entirely by the wrists and forarms. You are aiming for your opponents exposed left hand or forearm.

As you make contact, step through and slightly offline with your right foot. This will increase the target size. Extend your arms as shown. Maintain a downward pressure on the blade, as your technique transitions from a cut to a thrust. You will simultaneously cut into the wrist and push into the solar plexus.

Dagger – Counter to the 1st scholar of the 2nd master

Folio 13 v. a

Translation

I know the counter to the play that came before me. And I say that with this grip I break all four plays that he said he could do before. And I cannot see that I will fail to throw him to the ground, for this grip is strong and fierce.

Explanation

An interesting and complex play, you are countering your opponents ligadura soprano with a ligadura soprano of your own.

Having made a fendente attack against your opponent, they responded as the 1st scholar of the 2nd master. They have jammed your attack with their left hand, then reached under your elbow with their right hand. They are attempting to use your arm as a crank handle, turning it down behind your back. To counter this, spin your left hip forward, drop your weight, and bring your elbow into the centreline. This will bring your right elbow back, breaking the pivot point of your opponents attempted throw. It also moves your arm in front of your body, putting it in a mechanically very strong position. As you do so, grab your right hand with your left, pinning your opponents right wrist between your own.

Now spin your right hip forward. Use the forward motion of your hip to drive your elbow slightly higher up your opponents arm than their own elbow, giving you a good solid pivot point. Once in place, keep your elbow still and lever your right forearm in an anticlockwise arc across the front of your body. This will cause your opponent to twist and fall to your left.

When your hands reach hip height, your crank will not only be finished, but also your dagger point will be directed up towards your opponents ribcage. Spin your left hip forward again. Use this to drive your left hand, pushing the dagger up into your opponents ribs as they fall onto it.

Dagger – Counter to 1st scholar of 1st Master

Folio 10 v. d

Translation

I will do the counter to the play that came before me. You can see the position I leave him in. I will break the arm and throw him to the ground quickly.

Explanation

Having attempted to apply a ligadura mezana, the 1st scholar has over extended their elbow, losing conrol of their timing and momentum at the point of their greatest structural weakness. As the Counter Master, you exploit that weakness by countering with a ligadura sottano (lower bind).

Lock your elbow close to your body, and turn your left hip forward, reaching across with your left hand, bracing your right. This will break the scholars momentum, put you into a solid balanced stance, and allow you to go on the offensive. Timing is critical. This needs to happen at the very moment depicted by the 1st scholar.

Step forward so that your right hip pushes underneath their left. You have now stolen their centre. As you do this, turn your right hip forward. This will twist your opponent clockwise pushing their left hand into the small of their back and leaving you both facing the same direction. To complete the ligudura sottano, keep your back straight, your elbows in, and push down on the back of the shoulder. Depending on exactly how you hold yourself here and adjust your leverage, you can tear all the ligaments off the front of the shoulder socket.

You can step forward and kneel on your right knee, driving their head forward and into the ground. Alternatively, you can make a volta stabile and kneel on your right knee, which will spin them in a circle. Either works equally well. It really more depends on where your momentum is going in the moment, and where you want to put them.

Since you are holding a dagger, before pushing down, place the dagger tip at the base of your opponents skull. As you drop your weight tightening the bind, it will simultaneously push the dagger through the neck.

Horseback – 1st scholar of the 8th master

Folio 44 r. a

Translation

This is the first play from Posta Coda Longa shown previously. The Master beats aside the sword of his enemy, and puts the sword in his chest or face, as drawn here.

Explanation

As the 1st scholar, you beat your opponents sword as you move from Posta Coda Longa to Posta Fenestra, very simliar to the Master of Sword in One Hand. This clears a space for you to put the point of your sword into the front of your opponent. For the most part, you will need to focus on controlling your sword point to the target. It is the forward movment of the horse which delivers most of the power that does the actual damage.

Pollaxe – 1st scholar

Folio 36 v. b

Translation

The scholar trips the player with his pollaxe between the legs, and with his left hand he covers his eyes. And when the player cannot see and wants to turn, he quickly falls to the ground without fail.

Explanation

As a section to translate, this is an awkward opening sentance. The text reads ‘Lo scholaro chazza alo zugadore…‘ ‘Chazza‘ means to mark or stain. A literal translation would be ‘The scholar marks the player with his pollaxe...’ implying that it wil bruise the player. It reads a little strangely and is not clear in its meaning, so I have translated it instead as ‘trips.’

Translations aside, the play itself is a very interesting one. Having beaten your opponents pollaxe to the ground in the master play, shoot the head of your own pollaxe between your opponents feet. As you do so, step with your left foot over their weapon, and as far behind them as you comfortably can. Make sure that your pollaxe clears your knee as you step through. The shaft should end up resting comfortably on your thigh.

Use the hip turn which drives the step to reach out with your left hand. Open your hand wide, place it over your opponents face and shove them backwards. With their legs completely tangled, they will trip and fall, either directly from the push, or in the attempt to adjust their footing.