Horseback - 8th master

Horseback – 2nd scholar of the 8th master

Folio 44 r. b

Translation

This is the second play from the previous beat. I strike this man over the head, for I can see that the head is unarmoured.

Explanation

This play is the same as the 2nd scholar of the Sword in one Hand. The only difference here is that it is delivered from horseback rather than on foot.

From the Master play of Posta Coda Longa, cut over your horses head and strike diagonally upwards, beating your opponents weapon up and to your right. Be sure to finish the beat in a properly formed Posta Fenestra. The forward momentum of the horses will put you in range to cut back down along the same line, striking your opponent in the head as shown.

Pollaxe - Plays

Pollaxe – 2nd scholar

Folio 36 v. c

Translation

Also the scholar who is before me can do this play when he is in the narrow, as you can see. The right foot steps on the players pollaxe, and drawing his own back, he then thrusts it into the players face.

Explanation

This play is an application of the 11th scholar and the 12th scholar of the 2nd master of sword in two hands adapted for pollaxe. You have broken the thrust in the master play with a step and a pass. As you pass with your right foot, place it on the head of your opponents pollaxe. The leverage may be enough to pull it out of their hands or damage the head of the weapon.

Be aware that if your opponent slides the pollaxe as your foot comes down on it, this may also cause your foot to slide. Take care to avoid this happening. If they twist it, either the beak or the hammer may also catch on your foot, sweeping it and causing you to lose your balance. This will disrupt your attack and leave your opponent with the advantage.

As a translation note, the text actually says to pin the weapon with your left foot. This is neither consistent with the drawing nor the other examples of this play being used. I am treating this as a transcription error on Fiores part and have translated the text to match the picture.

Since you won the break, your pollaxe is free to move. Lift it to Posta Breve la Serpentina and thrust the point into your opponents face.

Sword in two hands - Wide play

Sword in two hands – 2nd master – Wide play

Folio 25 v. a

Translation

I am also crossed in the wide play, but at the middle of the sword. And immediately that I am crossed, I slide my sword down onto the hands, and if I want to pass with my right foot off the line, I can put a thrust to the chest as drawn hereafter.

Explanation

As the 2nd master, you are in Posta Frontale crossing swords with your opponent in the middle of the blade. Your hands are relatively safe and can be withdrawn by pulling them back to a more neutral position. You can even disengage competely by stepping with your front foot out of range.

For a safe and easy attack, cut straight down the line of your opponents blade as if cutting to Posta Mezzana Porta di Ferro. Strike your opponents left hand or forearm on the way through.

Alternatively, you can step through and offline to the right with your back foot. This will bring you within the range of narrow play, and give you a clear line to stab your opponent in the face or chest, as shown by the 1st scholar of the 2nd master.

Sword in armour - Plays

Sword in armour – 4th scholar

Folio 33 v. c

Translation

When I saw that there was nothing the sword could do to you, I immediately took this grappling hold. I believe, see and feel that your armour is not worth anything now that I have you in the strong lower bind. In the next picture, I will show you.

Interpretation

Having made the crossing of the master play, your sword and left hand are pointing towards the centreline of your opponent, as shown by the drawing of the 1st scholar. Due to your opponents armour, however, you can see that continuing the attack with your sword will be inneffective.

Step in deep with your left foot. Extend your left hand under your opponents elbow, and reach behind their shoulder. Keep your own sword hand back at your hip out of the way to give the technique some space, as shown in the drawing.

Pivot on your left foot, arcing your right foot around behind you in a clockwise circle. Your left foot should end up level to or slightly behind your opponents right foot. Your hip should be pushing against theirs. Keep your left elbow locked against your hip and lever your opponents shoulder down into a ligadura sottano (lower bind).

There are numerous examples of the lower bind throughout the Fior di Battaglia. You will see it used in the following plays.

Sword in two hands - Wide play

Sword in two hands – 3rd scholar of the 2nd master – Wide play

Folio 25 v. d

Translation

The scholar before me learned this play from his master and mine. I do it here. To do it well takes little effort.

Explanation

The 3rd scholar of the 2nd master is one of the rare examples of kicks being used in armizare. In a quirk of Fiores writing style, the 2nd scholar gives the clearest description as to what the 3rd scholar does. The 2nd scholar states.

‘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.’

Events begin with the 2nd master, where your swords were crossed in the middle. As both the 2nd and 3rd scholar, you then immobilise your opponents sword by grabbing the tip with your left hand and then using a single handed attack to either cut or thrust at your opponent. However, where the 2nd scholar simply steps through, the 3rd scholar makes the pass with a kick.

Fiore gives us two options. In both cases, you should strike with the sword first, and then the foot. Once you deliver your kick, you will be too close to use either the blade or point of the sword without stepping again. To ‘hit him with my foot over the back of the leg’ refers to a round kick with the instep of the foot. To hit ‘under the knee’ refers to a stamp, which is what is shown in the picture. Unfortunately, the picture is drawn showing very poor mechanics.

The two kicks are quite different to each other, and worth exploring in some depth.

To deliver a round kick, as you step, lift your knee to point to where you want your kick to land. In this case it is just a fraction below your opponents knee. Be sure to keep your weight low, and you head moving in a level plane. Control your arms and keep them still. Keep the sole of your foot parallel to the ground. Many beginners drop their toes, which will slow your attack and cause your balance to waver. Be sure to avoid it.

Once the line from your hip to your knee points at your opponents knee, pivot on the ball of your left foot, swinging your foot in an arc. The instep of your foot should contact with the inner side of your opponents knee, with your toes behind the leg at the back of the knee. Keep your knee in place and return your foot along the same arc. It moves faster coming back than going out. You should kick yourself in the arse with your heel. Only then do you place your foot on the gound.

Many people interpret the second kick as a knee stomp. While this would certainly be an effective attack, it is not what is either drawn or described. Fiore clearly tells us to attack below the knee. This makes it more of a push than a stomp.

As you step through, raise your knee high, pull your toes back and turn your foot inwards. Pivot on the ball of your left foot and flaring your right heel forward, place your foot firmly on the inside of your opponents shin. This is the moment shown in the picture. As you drop your weight forward, it will push your opponents leg out from under them.

You have already wounded your opponent with the sword. Whichever method you use to take out the leg, their knee will push out to the right, ripping the ligaments as it goes. They will fall straight down in a graceless heap.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 1st scholar of the 3rd master

Folio 13 v. c

Translation

In this way you will be thrown to the ground. And I would be even more certain if you were wearing armour. But even without armour you cannot do anything to me. And I could do this to you even if you were stronger than me.

Explanation

This play begins with your opponent making a backhanded roverso stab against you. Make the master cover by stepping to the outside so that your right foot is forward, and defend yourself with a right hooking block.

Keep your elbow close to your body and move your forearm in a tight arc, with your palm up, leading with your thumb. As your wrist contacts your opponents, roll your hand over to control their hand. Step through with your left foot so that it is behind your opponent.

Move your front foot in an arc around your opponents right foot so you are effectively standing behind your opponent. As you do so, grab their left shoulder from behind with your left hand. Let go of their dagger hand and throw your right hand up to the front of your opponents left shoulder. It is more a grab across the top of the chest than by the neck. You should be in the position depicted.

Without moving your feet, drop into a deep stance. Flare your knees out and get your thighs parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight and upright. As you drop down into the stance, drop both elbows to your hips.

Your opponent will fall on their back with their head directly under you. Their right arm will be pinned under yours. Lever it over your right thigh to break the elbow.

This is an excellent throw. Fiore says this play works even better in armour, as it completely dispels any opportunity for the player to injure you with their dagger as they fall.

Horseback - Grappling plays

Horseback – Counter to the 1st scholar of grappling

Folio 45 r. c

Translation

This is the counter to the previous play and it goes like this. Use this counter with such a hold as soon as you are grabbed from behind. You must immediately switch hands on the reins, and take him with your left arm in this way.

Explanation

The 1st scholar of horsback grappling has come from behind and is attempting to pull you back and to your left off the horse.

As you notice them approach, use your right hand to simultaneously hold the reins and take a firm grip on the pommel. Timing is important here. You want to catch your opponent just as they are fully stretched reaching out, but before they have taken a good grip.

Turn quickly to the left. lifting your elbow as high as possible and moving back in a circle. You are aiming to pin your opponents hand against your back to act as the fulcrum of a third class lever. Ideally, you want to catch their arm at or above their elbow. The higher up their arm you can apply pressure, the greater your chances of success.

With your left arm, grab onto your saddles pommel, your belt, or anything you can use to lock your arm tight against your body. Turn your body and horse to the right as you do so. If your horses rump pushes into the shoulder of your opponents horse, all the better.

You are levering your opponent out of their saddle forward and to the right. Be sure to keep in front of them at all times and keep your arm locked tightly to your body. This will prevent them twisting out of your hold. With the massive force that horses provide, you will shatter your opponents elbow as you drag them from their horse.

Spear on foot

Spear – Posta di Fenestra Destra (Window Guard on the Right)

Folio 39 v. a

Translation

I am the noble Posta di Fenestra Destra (Window Guard on the right), and for beating and wounding I am always ready, and I care little against a long spear. Also, with a sword, I could wait for the long spear standing in this guard, which beats aside and obstructs every thrust. And I can exchange the thrust, and beat to the ground without fail. I want to finish in the play that is after this.

Explanation

Posta di Fenestra translates easily across the different weapons of armizare. It is used not only with the spear, but also the sword in one hand, sword in two hands and pollaxe. It can be used equally well on either side of the body.

With the left foot forward and in a rear weighted stance, hold the spear in much the same way as you would a sword. The left hand is at the base of the spear shaft, with the right hand on top. Fiore shows holding the weapon quite a long way down the shaft. The closer your right hand sits to the balance point, the less reach, but more control you have. Your right hand should rest next to your ear.

This posta is ideally suited to exchanging or breaking the thrust. In beating aside incoming attacks, slide the front foot offline and step through with the back. Cut down and across with your arms, but keep the head of the spear as still as possible. This will give you much greater control and balance, as well as leaving you well placed to deliver a counter strike.

Sword in armour - Plays

Sword in armour – 5th scholar

Folio 33 v. d

Translation

In the lower bind, a strong key, I have held you in such a way that you cannot escape, no matter how strong you are. Trouble and death I can give you. I could write a letter that you could not see. You have no sword, no helmet, small honour and little to celebrate.

Interpretation

The 5th scholar of the sword in armour continues directly from the 4th scholar. The two plays essentially show the start and finish of the same technique.

From the master play, step through with your left foot and roll your opponents sword over to your right. You will land in the position shown by the 1st scholar. Release your left hand from your sword and lunge forward. Slide your hand over your opponents right forearm and then up behind their arm to the back of their shoulder as shown by the 4th scholar.

Pivot on the left foot and arc your right foot around 180 degrees. Use your hips to shove into your opponents space. It is important to be right on top of them. Lock your left elbow tight against your body and lever your opponent down as shown.

To hold your opponent in place long enough to write a letter explaining how bad they are, you will need to keep your hips pressed tight against their body. The closer you can move up to their armpit, the greater your mechanical advantage will be. Your opponents hand should be pressed against their spine, while you push down on their shoulder.

If you look at the master play, 1st scholar, 4th scholar and 5th scholar, they make a nice cartoon strip of entering into narrow play and applying a lower bind. Once achieved, you can stab, strike or hold your opponent as desired.

Sword in two hands - Wide play

Sword in two hands – 4th scholar of the 2nd master – Wide play

Folio 26 r. a

Translation

This play is called the ‘Peasant Strike’ and is made in this way. Wait in a short stance with the left foot forward for the peasant to strike with his sword. Immediately that the peasant strikes, advance the left foot to the left side. And with the right foot, traverse off the line, taking the blow in the middle of your sword. Allow the sword to slide to the ground and immediately respond with a blow to the head or arms, or with a thrust to the chest as drawn. Also this play is good with a sword against the pollaxe, or against heavy or light staff.

Explanation

The peasant in this play is your undertrained, over enthusiastic opponent. Caught up in the excitement of combat, they make an instinctive and powerful mandritto fendente cut from their right shoulder moving diagonally downward.

Draw your opponent in with a short stance if possible. As they make their cut, slide your left foot off to your left side and block the attack in the middle of the blade with a Posta Frontale as shown in the master play. Your stance will need to be quite wide at this stage.

Step through with your right foot, bringing it across the line of attack. You have effectively switched feet and stepped to the left. As you do so, use the crossing of the swords as a pivot point. Drop the point of your sword and raise your hands, as the drawing shows.

At the end of our move, you should be looking under your right arm at your opponent. The sensation is something like a Posta di Donna Soprano, except that the sword is over the front shoulder rather than properly chambered behind you. Your opponents sword will slide off to your right.

Make a second step to the left with your left foot. Where it lands will determine the distance of your counterattack. The further around you step, the closer you will end up to your opponent. As you land, your hips will be fully wound up.

Unwind your hips and use the motion to deliver a thrust or roverso fendente cut to your opponent. You will need to arc your right foot around behind you to a certain extent as you do so to provide stability and give the exact angle of attack that you want.

This play can be used as a generic defence against any weapon being used to make an overcommitted attack.

Dagger - 8th and 9th Masters

Dagger – 1st scholar of the 8th master

Folio 17 v. a

Translation

This is a guard which is strong both in armour and unarmoured. It is good because you can quickly put your opponent in the lower bind and strong key. This is shown in the sixth play of the third master of dagger who defends against a reverse hand strike and holds the players right arm bound with his left.

Explanation

Against a lower stab, the initial cover you make as the 1st scholar is a simple and safe one. Moving either from or through the grappling Posta Dente di Zenghiaro, move your left hand across the front of your body, and then spin the forearm in a downward semicircle. This will sweep entirely across the front of the body, generating a lot of power by its end point. Practitioners of karate will know this as gedan uke. Brace the last part of your technique with your right hand, pushing your opponents dagger point to your outside line as shown.

To make a counter attack from here, you will need to move quickly through your opponents inside. This is an inherantly dangerous thing to do, as you will be exposed to their left hand.

Their most obvious response will be the counter to the 8th master. You will need to move as quickly as you can.

Lunge forward with your left foot so it is behind your opponents front foot. As you do so, scoop your left arm up under your opponents armpit. Simultaneously reach over your left arm with your right and grab their wrist or forearm to control it.

Pivot on your left foot and spin your right foot in an arc, leaving you standing behind your opponent. Push down on the back of their right shoulder with your left hand. As you do so, push their right hand as far up their spine as you can, locking it in place.

This is ligadura sottano – the lower lock. Your right hand is free to strip your opponents dagger, or draw your own. Alternatively, you could make a volta stabile and spin your opponent to the ground, or you could run them forward into a solid obstacle.

Ligadura sottano and its variations is the most common lock in armizare. You will see other examples of it in…

  • Dagger – Counter to 1st scholar of the 1st master
  • Dagger – 5th scholar of the 3rd master (the 6th play mentioned in the text)
  • Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 6th master
  • Sword in two hands – 1st counter to 13th scholar of the 3rd master
  • Armour – 4th scholar
  • Armour – 5th scholar
  • Pollaxe – 4th scholar
Dagger - 1st Master

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

Folio 11 r. b

Translation

I am the counter to the play that came before me, so that you cannot put me on the ground, nor take my dagger, nor bind me, but you must let go in spite of yourself, or my dagger will wound you at once.

Exaplantion

As you strike your opponent, they make the defence of the 2nd scholar of the 1st master. This involves making a hooking block to your right hand, and grabbing your elbow and spinning them around in a circle. You are in danger of being thrown to the right and having your shoulder dislocated.

Your opponent has the mechanical advantage, so you do not have complete control of your right hand for the moment. In order to complete the throw, your opponent will need to bend their right arm fairly close to their body and step through with their right foot.

Reach forward with your left hand, grab the blade, and direct the point to your opponents arm. Exactly where it lands depends largely on the length of the blade and how much they have bent their arm. It will probably land somewhere on their bicep.

If they continue with the momentum of their throw, they will run themselves onto the point of your dagger. Their only real option is to let go with the right hand and drop it away.

The play ends here. As a possible follow up, you should be well placed to let go of your dagger with the right hand and holding it by the blade with your left hand, strike with a roverso into their face.

Horseback - 8th master, Uncategorized

Horseback – 3rd scholar of the 8th master

Folio 44 r. c

Translation

This is another play, the third one. He beats aside his enemies sword which he takes with his left hand, and strikes to the head. In the same way, you could strike with a thrust.

Explanation

The thing that stands out most about this play is its similarity to the 2nd scholar of the 2nd master of sword in two hands. The set up is different, but the concept of controlling your opponents blade with this grab is identical, and is the heart of the play.

From the cover of the 8th master of horse, strike up over your horses head and across, beating your opponents sword aside. Follow the natural turn of your body. Reach out with your left hand, and grab your opponents blade with your thumb down. For your own safety, the horses will need to be reasonably still, relative to each other. The faster the horses move past each other, the harder it is to grab the blade in the first place, and the more likely it is to slide in your hand and cut you.

Turn your opponents sword across to your left. You are really aiming to just pivot the blade around your opponents wrist rather than pull it out of the way. Your sword will already be chambered in Posta Fenestra as an end point to the beat. Moving your opponents sword like this leaves you a clear line to cut or thrust to their head, as the picture shows.

Pollaxe - Plays

Pollaxe – 3rd scholar

Folio 36 v. d

Translation

The scholar who is before me saw that he cannot do anything to the face of the player with the point of the pollaxe because the visor is too strong. So he advances the left foot and lifts the visor and then thrusts the point in his face with all the strength that he can give to the pollaxe. This play can follow those that come before as well as all those that come after.

Explanation

Although the different weapons will cause you to move slightly differently, this play is conceptually identical to the 2nd scholar of sword in armour. Your opponent is open to be stabbed in the face, but their visor prevents you from doing so. The response lies in understanding armour development at the turn of the 15th century. The strong visor on your opponents helmet wil not be latched closed. If you have a free hand, you can lift it, exposing the face.

All the scholars of pollaxe make their plays having first broken the thrust of the opponent in the master play. Having done this, step through with your left foot. You will need to get in quite close to your opponent. Keep both hands on your pollaxe until the last moment to maintain control of the point. Be sure to keep your opponents weapon out of the way for as long as possible. If you can step on the head of their pollaxe as shown by the 2nd scholar of pollaxe, then do so.

Keeping the pollaxe head aligned to your opponents face, reach your left hand forward. With your palm out and your thumb down, slap them in the face and grab the visor, then lift it up as shown.

Because the pollaxe head is a heavy weight at the end of a long pole, you will get better power and point control if you initially push with your right hip. Once the head is safely lodged in your opponent, continue by extending the arm and pushing them over backwards. As you do so, drop your left arm to control your opponents weapon. This will prevent them making a thrust against you as they collapse with a terrible and probably mortal wound.

Sword in one hand, Uncategorized

Sword in one hand – 2nd scholar

Folio 20 v. b

Translation

I find you uncovered throughout, and will certainly strike you in the head. And if with my back foot I want to pass forward, I can make narrow plays against you, namely binds, breaks and grapples.

Interpretation

The 2nd scholar performs a very instinctive of all the sword in one hand plays. From the guard taken in the Master play, slide your front foot offline and make a diagonally upward cut from left to right, beating your attackers sword to the right. Move your feet forward if need be to gain the correct distance, and then cut back down along the same line. You are aiming to strike at the base of your opponents neck as shown.

If your opponent is well armoured and your aim has been slightly off, this may not have been enough to finish the job. You can still step your left foot through and enter narrow play, pinning your opponent with your left hand and striking again.

This same technique is also used in a different context in the 2nd Sword Play from Horseback.

Dagger - 5th Master, Uncategorized

Dagger – 1st scholar of the 5th Master

Folio 38 v. a

Translation

This is another way to damage the arm. And to come to other plays and locks, I start with this play. Also I say that if I were caught by a spear, with such a strike I would either unpin myself or break the head from the shaft.

Explanation

Although the application here is slightly different, the mechanics at play are the same as those used by the 5th Master. As your opponent grabs you, move your left arm so that your elbow is on your hip and your forearm is horizontal. Rotate your hip slightly clockwise so as to chamber your right hip. Grab your left wrist with your right hand.

Keeping your left elbow reasonably still, rotate your left forearm around to strike against your opponents elbow. Use your right hip to drive forward, simultaneously punching with your right hand and adding that force to the movement of your forearm. You will be in a nice Tutta Porta di Ferro Dopia.

You will hyperextend and damage your opponents elbow by doing this. How much damage is done depends largely on your opponents grip. If their grip is immovably locked into a grab, you should inflict a large amount of pain. At the very least, you will knock their hand free and turn them slightly. Either way, you will be left holding the initiative while standing primed to attack on their outside line.

Fiore notes that this will also work against a spear thrust which may have caught in your (presumably very thick) jacket or armour. Using the same mechanics in a different context, you can either knock the spear aside or potentially snap it altogether.

Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters

Dagger – 2nd scholar of the 3rd master

Folio 13 v. d

Translation

You go to the ground and your arm will be dislocated by the art of my master who is crowned. And there is no counter that you can do. And here I will hold you and make it hard for you.

Explanation

This elbow pin is an excellent technique to learn. It is simple, fast and adaptable to a wide range of scenarios. It can be used against an unarmoured opponent, or any weapon. If your opponent is leading with their left hand, it works just as well on the opposite side. In the context of this play, you are of course defending against a fendente stab from a dagger.

Pivot on the balls of your feet, push your right hip forward, and make a brushing block with your right hand. Reach out and give yourself lots of space so as to avoid running onto the dagger. Put your thumb under their wrist and your fingers over the top of their hand, pushing the dagger aside.

As they withdraw their hand, step across with your right foot to the outside of your opponents right foot. As you step, grab the hand tightly and pull your right elbow down to your ribs. Sweep your forearm across your body so that the arm is bent at 90 degrees with the hand at shoulder height. This will turn your opponent slightly, allowing you to catch their right elbow with your left hand.

Pivot 180 degrees on your right foot arcing your left foot around so that you are facing the opposite direction. The whole movement from your initial block to this point has a very light feel to it, as if you are skipping past your opponent.

From here you have two options. You can either step straight through with your left foot, or you can continue your circular momentum and arc your right foot behind you. Either way you will end up with your left foot in front.

Push your hips under your opponents hips and steal their centre. As you move your feet, throw your arms down into Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro. You should be in the position drawn in the picture.

Throughout the throw, keep your opponents elbow at your centre of gravity. Control your opponent via their right wrist. Keep the wrist bent inwards and pointing forward. This will create a painful spiralling force all the way down the arm. Depending on how much torque you put on the wrist, you will either lock the arm, apply pain, or start tearing the joints of the wrist, elbow and shoulder.

This technique is also made by the 5th master of dagger.

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – Master

Folio 6 v. a

Translation

This is the first play of grappling and every grappling guard can arrive at this play, and in this grip. Namely, take the left hand inside his right elbow and the right hand up behind his left elbow. Now immediately make the second play, that is, having gripped him in that way I give a turn with the body and he will go to the ground or else his arm will be dislocated.

Interpretation

The player grabs with the left hand to the neck and the right to the hip in an attempt to roll into a lock or throw in either direction.

As the master you need to jam the players right arm in the crook of the elbow. Step either forward or backward dependant on distancing, twisting the hips anticlockwise and removing the target from the players hip grab.

The players left hand arm is also blocked above the elbow. You need to push with the inside of the forearm upward into the opponents triceps. Your forearm should not be directly vertical. Be sure to move your elbow inside the line of the hand, allowing the inside of the forearm to push upwards.

You are not stopping the grab from arriving, but rather, taking control of the momentum in the instant it arrives. Tense your neck a little to help with leverage. The same hip twist which moves your left hip back, pushes your right arm up. Using the grab point as a fulcrum, you have just created a third class lever. Contacting the players arm in this way will create a small shock in their elbow.

Tempo is important. The leverage needs to be applied in the last moment of the players reach, not before it arrives, nor after they have completed the grab. If the grab is completed, the player can anchor their arm and resist, causing the play to devolve into a match of strength.

Sword in armour - Plays

Sword in armour – 6th scholar

Folio 34 r. a

Translation

This play is from the first master of Posta de Vera Croce and Posta Bastardo. That is, when the player thrusts at the scholar, who waits for him in this guard, the scholar immediately passes with cover off the line and thrusts to his face and advances with his left foot outside the players lead foot, as shown, so as to put him on the ground so that the tip of the sword advances beyond the neck.

Interpretation

Having made the master cover from either posta de vera crose or posta di crose bastardo, this play begins very similarly to the 1st scholar. Keeping the point of the sword high and the hilt low, step in deep with your left foot as you make your thrust. Although you certainly could drive the point into your opponents face from here, there may be circumstances at play making that unfeasable. So as the 6th scholar, you make use of another option.

Strike your opponent in the neck with your left wrist. You will be forced to use the radial edge of your wrist from posta de vera crose, and the ulnar edge from posta di crose bastardo. Make it a solid percussive strike. The sword blade should extend under your opponents jaw. If you extend your reach much past a 90 degree bend in the elbow, you will have overextended your structure, making it ineffective and weak. You need to be very close for this to work. Use your left thigh to lift and push the back of your opponents front thigh so as to disrupt their balance.

Having made this strike against the neck and thigh, you will be in the position shown. To complete the throw, exaggerate the movements you have begun. Drop your weight right down so that your thighs are parallel to the ground and your knees are flared out. This will push your opponents leg out from under them as well as making an obstacle for them to fall over. As you do so, keep your right hand locked to your body and pull your left hand around in an anticlockwise direction.

Your opponent will fall backwards over your thigh. Although the application and mechanics are slightly different, the general principle of this throw can be seen in the following plays.

Mixed weapons

Mixed weapons – 1st Master

Folio 31 r. b

Translations

These are three players who want to kill this master, who waits with the sword in two hands. The first of these three wants to throw his sword against the master. The second wants to hurt the said master with a cut or thrust. The third one wants to throw two spears that he has ready, as shown here.

I am waiting for these three in this guard, which is Posta Dente di Zenghiaro. You can also wait in other guards, namely, Posta di Donna la Sinestra, also Posta Fenestra Sinestra, with the same way and defence that I do from Posta Dente di Zenghiaro. In such a way and with such a defence these guards will do the same. Fearlessly I wait for them one by one, and I cannot fail against either the cut or the thrust or any weapon that is thrown at me by hand. With the right foot which is in front, I advance forward off the line, and with the left foot, I step across to beat aside the weapon from the left. And this way I do my defence, make the cover, and immediately go on the offensive.

Explanation

The Mixed Weapons 1st Master uses a common theme of defence found throughout Fiore’s work. Although drawn as Posta Dente di Zenghiaro, Posta di Donna sinestra and Posta Fenestra sinestra work just as well here.

As the attack arrives, slide your right foot off the line of attack to the left . Strike up with a Roverso Sottano while stepping through with your left foot on a 45 degree angle to the left. This will beat the incoming weapon aside, leaving you in Posta di Donna. Your opponents weapon will be well clear giving you a wide opening through which you can deliver a counter attack.

This theme of defence is shared by

Dagger - 1st Master

Dagger – 3rd scholar of the 1st master

Folio 11 r. c

Translation

And this is a play without any counter, and it is fitting that the player must necessarily go to the ground. The scholar, as you see him doing here to this player, will put him to the ground and use another way to finish him.

Explanation

This play could just as easily sit within the grappling section. If you have studied your aikido, you will recognise this throw as a form of irimi nage. You will also see it being used by the 1st scholar of the 3rd master of dagger, and by the 7th scholar of the 8th master of horse.

Cover a dagger strike with a hooking block to your opponents wrist as described by the 1st master. Having made the cover, your left hand then takes the relatively passive role of simply keeping the dagger out of the way.

Although the throw appears in the picture to be an aggressive pull on the neck, in practice, it is a very smooth technique with no clashing or pulling involved.

If your opponents left hand is in front , catch it with the back of your right hand and throw it down past your right hip. If the circumstances do not allow for this, then do not go out of your way to chase for it. If the opportunity presents itself, however, it will simultaneously clear a path for you, generate a lot of flow and momentum, and also cause your opponent to react by pulling back slightly.

Step through with your right foot, passing to the left of your opponent. As you do so, stay low in your stance. Bend your right arm, and as you step through, scoop it over your opponents left shoulder. Lead with your thumb and roll your arm to cradle your opponents head in the hollow of your right shoulder underneath your chin.

Once your arm is in place, raise your weight and momentum. You are aiming to throw your opponent not only backwards, but also up at a 45 degree angle.

As your right arm reaches the end of its arc, sink your weight onto your front foot. You should finish in a stance with your right foot forward and your back straight. Your right arm will be gently bent, with the fingertips of your open hand just touching the inside of your knee. All steps described above need to happen in a single flowing movement.

Your opponent will be on their back at your feet. Make a volta stabile and strip the dagger from their hand, then make a second volta stabile while delivering a roverso strike. Drop onto your left knee and sink all your weight onto your front foot as you make contact. Be sure to keep the back straight. The biggest and easiest target should be the centre of their chest. You should be able to generate enough momentum that you hit them hard enough to drive the dagger point out their back.