Sword in two hands - Narrow play

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 - Narrow play, Uncategorized

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 and 9th Masters

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 - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

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 Master

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 on foot

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 - Plays

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 - Narrow play

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, Uncategorized

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 - Wide play

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 - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

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 - 1st Master

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 - 8th master

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 - Plays

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.


Sword in two hands - Narrow play

Sword in two hands – 7th scholar of the 3rd master – Narrow play

Folio 28 v. d

Translation

When I am crossed, I come to the narrow play. I put the hilt of my sword between your hands and I raise both arms high with my sword. I will throw my left arm over both your hands, and I will wrap both arms with your sword under my left arm. And I will not stop striking you until I am tired. The play that follows me, that the scholar does, is my play and I want to do that next.

Explanation

When the swords are crossed at the middle as the 3rd master, with both combatants having their right foot forward, you are in a momnet of equalibrium. As the 7th scholar, you take the initiative by binding your opponents arms.

Using the flat of your blade, slide your sword down the length of your opponents blade until you hit their crossbars. Using the contact point of the crossbars and the blade as a pivot point, push your hands forward. You want the crossbar of your own sword to go between your opponents hands and underneath their hilt. As you do so, you will need to step through with your back foot. This is the moment shown in the picture.

Be sure to step in as deep as you can into your opponents space. Keeping your elbows in tight, drive your arms straight up. This will lift your opponents sword and hands. With your left hand, let go of your own sword and roll your hand over both your opponents arms. This is a movement from the inside to the outside, in a similar manner to a hooking block.

This will bind your opponents arms under your left arm. Your sword will be chambered to deliver the devastating flow on techniques of the 8th and 9th scholars.

Sword in two hands - Wide play

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

Folio 25 v. c

Translation

My master who is before me taught me that when the sword is crossed at the middle, I immediately advance forward and take his sword as shown to wound him with a cut or thrust. Also I can injure his leg in the way you see drawn here to hit him with my foot over the back of the leg or under the knee.

Explanation

The 2nd master of sword in two hands in in Posta Frontale with both hands crossed in the middle. As the 1st scholar, you cut down onto your opponents wrist and then step through to follow with a thrust.

When acting as the second scholar, your counter is conceptually the same. Having beaten your opponents sword offline, give a lateral twist as you enter Posta Frontale to flick your opponents sword that much further away.

Let go of your own sword with your left hand and grab at the point of your opponents sword. Be sure to grab it firmly. Your opponent will instinctively try to pull it away. You will only be cut if you allow the blade to slide through your grip.

Having momentarily immobilised your opponents weapon, you now have a clear line of attack. Make a single handed cut or thrust at your opponent. You will need to step through to get proper distance. Because your opponents weapon is jammed, you are safe to make your attack in false time. Step through first, and drop all your available body weight behind your attack. This will add a degree of power to what will otherwise be quite a weak attack. You are not starting from a mechanically strong position, so take the opportunity to add everything you can to it.

As you step through, Fiore suggests maximising your advantage by kicking your opponents knee. This is explored further by the 3rd scholar.

Sword vs Dagger

Sword vs Dagger – 1st scholar to the 1st Master

Folio 19 r. b

Translation

My master does this cover against a thrust and then immediately strikes to the face or chest. And with the dagger against the sword, you always need the narrow play. Here I am close and I can hurt you badly. Like it or not, you will suffer.

Explanation

When facing a sword with a dagger, you are at a disadvantage in terms of both mass and distance. Although it is instinctive to try to stay out of reach, your only chance, as Fiore clearly says here, is to close to narrow play as quickly as possible.

As your opponent thrusts at you, move from the cover of the 1st Master to open your hips with a clockwise twist. Reach out a little and brush your dagger against the incoming sword. You do not need to push it aside, just control where it is.

Keep both your elbows in close to your body and step through with your left foot as fast as you can. The turn of your body as you do so will be enough to direct the sword blade past you. It will not miss by much, but as long as it misses, the distance does not matter. As your left foot lands, use your left hand to grab your opponents right wrist. At no stage of this move should either of your elbows be more than a hand span your hips. Extending your arms will only slow you down.

Having arrived at the position shown, you have now jammed your opponents sword. The best thing your opponent can do for themselves is let go of the sword with their left hand and use it to try and cover themselves. Their pinned arm will be closing off a lot of their movement, however, and you should be moving faster than them.

Raise your dagger, choose a target, and strike.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – Counter to the 8th master

Folio 17 r. d

Translation

I am the counter to the eighth remedy master that is before me and of all his scholars. And if I extend my hand to his elbow, I can push it so strongly that I can strike him from the side. Also with that turn, I can throw my arm around his neck and hurt him in many different ways.

Explanation

Having tried to stab your your opponent with a sottano attack, they have defended themselves with Mezana Porta di Ferro. Counter this by scooping your left hand forward to their right elbow. As your hand makes contact, step through with your left foot. Use the hip motion to shove your opponent off to the side. Withdraw your right hand as you do so, leaving it chambered for a second strike. Exactly what opportunities arise depends on how far they turn. You should probably have a clear line into the ribcage under their right arm.

The elbow push will not only work against the 8th master, but the scholars as well. Fiore uses the elbow push in a variety of different contexts. Other examples include

  • Dagger – Counter to 2nd Master
  • Dagger – Counter to 6th Master
  • Dagger – Counter to 7th 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

Fiore suggests that instead of striking after the elbow push, you could also use one of a number of throws. One option is to slide your left arm across your opponents chest and throw them backwards, as the 2nd scholar of grappling or the 7th scholar of grappling. Another option would be to continue their clockwise spin by rolling your right hand across their neck and throwing them as the 1st scholar of the 3rd master of dagger.

Dagger - 5th Master

Dagger – 5th Master

Foilio 38 r. d

Translation

I am the 5th Remedy Master of dagger for the collar hold of this player. Before he has drawn his dagger, I will break his arm, so keeping his hand to me is to my great advantage, because I can do all the covers and binds of the other Remedy Masters and of their scholars who are before. It is like the proverb says. I want everyone who is a scholar in this art to know that nobody can defend a collar grab without speed.

Explanation

The situation that the 5th Master finds themselves in is a common one where an argument flares into violence. A lot of shouting, posturing and grabbing precedes the actual attack. The fact that the player has not yet drawn their dagger implies this scenario.

While such application is certainly viable, it could also arise from a far more dynamic situation. The player may have freed one hand from a clinch and is now raising the stakes of a wrestling match by introducing a dagger. The player may have attempted to punch the master in the face to give himself time to draw a weapon, but the master has snatched it out of the air. The player may also have lunged into the attack, attempting a grab and stab in a single motion.

Whatever the circumstances leading into this moment, there is a lot more movement going on here than the relatively static picture suggests. As Fiore highlights, you need to respond with speed.

Your response as the Master is a simple one, but requires an understanding of leverage. By pinning the players hand to your chest, you are creating the fulcrum of a third class lever.

The height at which you pin the hand is less relevant than making sure it attaches to your centerline and stays there. You can and should pivot around it, which is why it needs to remain on your central axis. Most important is keeping the hand still in absolute space. No matter where your body moves, the hand remains in its given place.

Place your right hand against the players left elbow. This is a small movement with your arm. Do not let you own elbow stray from your body.

It is a push, not a strike. The power comes from making a strong and sudden anticlockwise twist of your hips. Whether you twist on the spot, or adjust your distancing by either stepping forward with right foot, or pivoting back with the left, the important thing is that you pivot around your fulcrum.

The elbow will almost immediately start to hyperextend. A gentle push will send the player spinning across the room. You can either direct them into something, or control them to the ground as the 2nd scholar of the 3rd Master of Dagger. A strong push will quite literally rip the arm almost in half.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 3rd master

Folio 13 v. b

Translation

Here begin the plays of reverse strikes with which countless lives have been lost. And the plays of my scholars will follow, showing the cover that I do with the right hand. This is a simple play to do, for this way I will throw him to the ground.

Explanation

The 3rd master and all his scholars defend against a reverse dagger strike. In all cases, you are moving to the outside line of your opponent. As they stab, lunge forward with your left foot and twist your hips clockwise. Cover with your right hand using a hooking block to catch the attackers wrist.

When making the cover, lead with your thumb. Your forearm comes under the dagger blade, and you catch your opponents wrist with your own wrist at the base of your thumb. As soon as you make contact, roll your wrist over into a grab.

As you make the grab, step behind with your right foot so you are to the side of your opponent. You are not aiming to stop the attack, so much as stepping around it.

While controlling the dagger with your right hand, strike with your left hand into your opponents throat using a backhand attack of your own. With your thumb down, extend the thumb and first two fingers into a pincer. These do the actual grab. Curl your bottom two fingers as if making a fist. The knuckles create a spike in the middle which push into the windpipe as you complete the grab. If you have stepped too far back, you will miss the throat, and hit the side of the neck instead. You need to be about 90 degrees from the initial line of attack. This is the situation depicted in the drawing.

Step back with your left foot. As you do so, drop your weight and turn your hips anticlockwise in a volta stabile. Throw your left hand down to your left foot in a straight line. Your opponent will fall on their back with their head by your left foot.

Transfer you opponents dagger hand from your right hand to your left. Kneel on their ribcage with your right knee to pin them down. Holding their right hand palm up, the arm will be locked straight. Place the elbow over your left thigh, creating a first class lever. Finish by pushing down, breaking the elbow.

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 2nd scholar of 1st Master

Folio 11 r. a

Translation

This is a good cover for twisting the hand with the dagger. Also from taking this grip I will bind you well and if I place my right hand under your right elbow I will put you to the ground, so well do I know my art.

Explanation

As a note on translation, the text actually says to place your right hand under your opponents right knee. This is not only not what is depicted, but it also makes no sense. I have made the assumption that it is a scribal error and is intended to say elbow.

This is a neat defence which puts an extreme twisting pressure on your opponents right shoulder. Practitioners of karate will recognise this as mawashi uke.

As the 1st Master you have defended against any downward attack with a hooking block. You caught your opponents attacking wrist with the hook formed between your own wrist and the base of your thumb. Then you rolled your hand over, catching their wrist and completing the master play.

As the 2nd scholar, you simultaneously pivot your hips square to the opponent. With your palm up, use your right hand to cup your opponents elbow. Wrap your fingers around to give a firm but gentle grip. Ideally you want your opponents hand directly above their elbow.

Visualising your own hands as being on the top and bottom of a wheel, turn them 180 degrees anticlockwise. Keep your elbows in. You will be mechanically strongest the closer you can do this to your body. Take care, of course, not to impale yourself on your opponents dagger.

You are using your opponents arm as a crank handle. By the time your hands have swapped position, your opponent will be falling to your left.

Complete the throw by holding your left hand still. It should now be at the bottom of your circle, and you can now safely bring it right in to your centre of gravity. Using that as a new pivot point, keep cranking with your right hand in an anticlockwise direction. Step through, either forwards or backwards depending on the momentum of the situation, so that your right foot is forward.

Your opponent will be left lying on their back, with their head at your feet and a badly dislocated shoulder.