Sword in two hands - Narrow play

Sword in two hands – 17th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 30 r. d

Translation

From the grip made by the scholar before me, I can feel the sword has fallen to the ground. It is no lie to say that I can injure you greatly.

Interpretation

Having completed the play of the 16th scholar, keep moving so as to not lose any momentum. As your body weight moves forward, put all your weight onto your left foot. Pivot 180 degrees on the ball of your left foot.

As you do so, pull your right foot back, so that your feet are together. You will be facing the same direction as your opponent. Bend your knees and push your left hip under their right, so stealing their centre. With your left arm, try to catch your opponent as high up the forearms as possible, and lock your left elbow down against your ribs with your forearm across your belt.

You should be right underneath your opponent at this stage. Everything momentarily contracts down into your own core. You want to lift your opponents hips up and pull their elbows down into your centre, forcing them off balance. Do not bend over. Make sure you keep your back upright. As you drop your weight, your own sword hand will drop as well. Ensure the handle of your sword crosses the blade of your opponents sword just above the hilt.

This contraction is the crux of the two plays. You will need to practice it slowly, smoothly and often in order to be able to be able to do it at speed with confidence. It is in many ways mechanically the same as a throw, and relies on timing and flow more than strength.

Continuing on, drop your right foot behind you and keep pivoting on the balls of your feet. In total, you will have spun in almost a complete circle, and be facing roughly the same direction you started in. The whole thing has the sensation of spinning through your opponent like a whirlwind, and catching them up in your movement. As you pivot on your feet, scoop your hand down and then up again to posta de fenestra.

Your opponent will have their elbows pinned together and will be swept along as you spin past them. As their arms are locked shut, their hands will tend to pop open. The scoop of your sword will rip their sword from their grasp and fling it dramatically behind you somewhere. You should find yourself more or less as depicted.

Drop the tip of your sword to the pit of your opponents throat and push.

Sword in two hands - Narrow play, Uncategorized

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

Folio 30 r c

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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.

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 12th scholar

Folio 8 r. c

Translation

If you take hold with both your arms under your opponents, then you can put both hands in his face as you see that I do, and especially if he has an uncovered face. Also you can transition to the third play of grappling.

Interpretation

Against a low grab, your opponent has countered with a grab to your head. Their intention is to step back with the left foot, and throw you down by twisting the neck. This will cause you to roll across your right shoulder onto your back at their side.

Your response to this is to shuffle your right foot up, pinning their left foot to the floor. At the same time, reach up with both your hands outside your opponents grip, as shown in the picture.

Cup each hand slightly, so as to brace the fingers against each other, and push into your opponents eyes. Reach down with your thumbs, and lock them under the jawbone. This will give you a solid point to lever from so as to push your fingers further in. Their attempted throw will be completely disrupted. The more you push, the further back they will lean to get away.

Follow up on your advantage by stepping through with your left foot and dropping your elbows to your hips, locking them to your core. Keep rolling your hands over as you do so. Your opponent will be rolled back on themselves, falling on their back at your feet.

As an alternative follow through from the picture point where your opponents head is tipping back, slide in deeper with your right foot. Use your right hand to push across their face, turning their head to your left. Drop your left hand to scoop their left knee and make the throw of the 2nd scholar.

Horseback - 8th master

Horseback – 5th scholar of the 8th master

Folio 44 v. a

Translation

This is the fifth play from the cover of beating aside the sword. I throw my arm around his neck to turn immediately, and will surely throw him to the ground without doubt. And my counter is the second play drawn after me, although if he is well armoured it will not work.

Interpretation

Having beaten your opponents sword aside as the 8th master, you are now going to throw them off their horse, using a mounted variant of what an aikidoka would recognise as irimi nage.

As your opponent is open, drop the tip of your sword over their left shoulder. Lean your right shoulder forward. Roll your right hand so that the thumb points down, and also flare your elbow slightly. Structure is important. You want the points from the sword tip, to wrist, to elbow, to right shoulder, to left shoulder all to make a smooth curve.

If you lack proper form, there will be a tendency to catch your opponents head in the crook of your elbow. This result in a struggle between the strength of your shoulder and the stability of your opponents seat. Such a graceless use of force is not only technically poor, but is also a waste of energy, and provides no guarantee of success.

If your arm has good curvature, it will roll past your opponent, gently directing their head to cradle inside your shoulder, in a curiously intimate hug. This is point shown in the picture.

Keep leading with your shoulder. The movement of the horses will tip your opponent off to the side and backwards, neatly stripping them from the saddle to be trampled underfoot. Be aware of the potential for your opponent to use the counter against you.

Variations of this throw are also seen in the following plays.

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 (Long Tail Guard) and it is very good against lance and any hand held weapon, when riding on the right hand 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 they are 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.