Dagger – 1st scholar of the 2nd master

Folio 13 r. d


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.


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.

Horseback – Counter to the 1st scholar of grappling

Folio 45 r. c


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.


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.

Grappling – Master

Folio 6 v. a


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.


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.

Grappling – 1st scholar

Folio 6 v. b


The scholar of the first master says that I am sure to put this one to the ground, or break his left arm, or dislocate it. And if the player that plays against the master first took off his left hand from the shoulder of the master to make another defence, immediately I exchange reaching for his right arm with my left hand, and I take his left leg, and my right hand I put it under his throat to send him to the ground as you see drawn in the third play.


This play rolls seamlessly from the Master. There are no sharp moves or straight lines involved. In a quirk of his writing style, Fiore gives a clearer description here of the 2nd scholar than he does of the play depicted.

In the Master play, you will be able to feel a fairly even tension in each of your opponents arms. You also will have jammed their right hand. As they take the pressure off it to try for another approach, this frees up your own left hand to go on the offensive.

Roll your right hand over your opponents left arm. This should be a smooth ‘sticky’ kind of action. You want your forearm to be immediately above their elbow. The rolling motion you use will adjust their arm to a point where it is locked straight, thus creating a 3rd class lever. Grab onto your wrist with your left hand to stabilise it.

You next need to make a large anticlockwise rotation with your hips. You can step your front foot across, as shown, which will give your throw a long shallow arc. Alternatively, you can turn your back foot around behind you which will spin your opponent in a short, tight spiral. They are effectively the same thing. Your choice really comes down to what feels best with the distance and movement in the moment, and also where you want your opponent to fall.

By turning your body and dropping your weight, you will lever your opponent to the ground. Stepping of the central line allows you to add more torque to the lock. The aim is to pull your opponent diagonally forward rather than straight down.

A fast, tight movement will rip open the elbow joint. You can easily adapt this to a controlled takedown by moving a little slower, and dropping your weight until you are kneeling on your right knee. This will leave your opponent face down with their arm still locked.

Be aware that your opponent will be aiming to disengage the lock by twisting their left arm anticlockwise and dropping the elbow, thus breaking the lever and allowing them to escape.

Grappling – 2nd scholar

Folio 6 v. c


The scholar who is before me speaks truly that his grip will put him on the ground or dislocate his left arm. Also I say that if the player removes his left hand from the shoulder of the master, that the master arrives at the third play similarly to how you see it drawn. So that the first play and the second are one single play where the master sends him to the ground on his face, and the third one sends his shoulders to the ground.


The play of the 1st scholar follows seamlessly from the master play of grappling. At the transition point between the two plays, if the opponent feels the pressure on their left arm, they can avoid the arm lock of the 1st scholar by dropping their left elbow and slipping away.

This will cause them to twist slightly clockwise. As the 2nd scholar, you want to take control of this movement and add to it.

Strike your right forearm into your opponents neck and collarbones. It will create a shock, but is not intended as an attack in its own right. With a clockwise twist of your hips, curl your right arm down and carry their head to your right hip.

Once your opponent is unbalanced, scoop your left hand under their knee. They must already be destabilised before you try this. If you go to scoop too early, not only will it be unsuccessful, but you will lose the advantage and be exposed to a counter throw.

With correct timing and having successfully caught the knee, lift it right up and step through. You will be left standing in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro with your left foot forward. Your opponent will be lying on their back to your right hand side. Be sure to strike them hard before they have the opportunity to recover.

Horseback – 2nd scholar of grappling

Folio 45 r. d


This scholar wants to throw the player from his horse by grabbing the stirrup and lifting up. If he does not fall to the ground, he will surely be in the air. Unless he is tied to the horse, this play cannot fail. And if he does not set his foot in the stirrup, grab him by the ankle, which works just as well in the same manner as I just described.


For this play to work, there needs to be relatively little movement between the horses. When the direction of the horses are opposed to each other, as drawn, the context would most reasonably be the crush of a melee where the horses are wheeling around each other.

It is worth noting that neither combatant is armed in the picture. If you try this against an armed opponent, they will need to be highly distracted, as your head and back will be fully exposed at the crucial point of the play. While holding the reins and stabilising yourself by holding onto the saddle with your left hand, reach down with your right hand to grab your opponents ankle or stirrup. Due to your exposure, this is the hardest and most dangerous part of the play. Keep your eye on your opponent at all times.

As you sit up, you will be able to lift your opponents foot over the horses withers. Your opponent will roll back in the saddle causing them to fall to the opposite side of their horse. If you attempt to pull the foot behind your opponent, the throw will not work.

As a slight variant on this play, it is also possible to perform this play when both horses are moving in the same direction. You will need to be moving slightly faster than your opponent so as to able to lift the leg forward.

Grappling – 3rd scholar

Folio 6 v. d


This is the fourth play of grappling by which the scholar can put the player on the ground. And if he cannot put him on the ground in this way, he will seek other plays and grips that we will now see drawn below. I tell you that you can well know that the plays are not all equal at all times, so that if you have a grip that is not good enough you should quickly gain one, so that you do not give the advantage to your enemy.


The 3rd scholar of grappling is a variant on the 2nd scholar. The easiest way to arrive at this position is by mistiming your efforts at making the play of either the master or the 2nd scholar. If you are too slow in either of these applications, your opponent will step in close, and grab you by the hip and shoulder in preparation for a throw of their own. It is still possible to recover, and turn this situation to your advantage.

With your left hand, grab your opponent in the small of their back, on the top ridge of their right hip. Pull it towards you, locking it against your own hip. This will jam their right arm and bend their waist back slightly. By doing so, you are starting to steal your opponents balance point.

As you pull on their hip, push back on the opponents jaw, twisting their neck clockwise. This will simultaneously bend your opponent backwards and off to your right. Your grip on their hip prevents them from stepping back to recover.

Once their balance is lost, the action progresses in much the same way as the 2nd scholar. Move your right hand, and your opponents head with it, in a spiraling curve out and down to your right hip. Grab onto their belt with your right hand, and lift it up towards your right shoulder. Step through as you do so to move into what was your opponents space.

You should end up more or less in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro with your left side forward and your opponent lying on their back off to your right.

Grappling – Counter to the 4th scholar

Folio 7 r. b


I am the counter to the fifth play that is shown before. And I say that if I use my right hand to lift the elbow of his hand which is harming me, I will make him turn in such a way that I will force him to the ground, as you see here, or I will gain a hold or lock. And I will have little care for his grappling skills.


The 4th scholar has attempted a throw against you by pinning the small of your back against their hips and then stepping through with their right leg, pushing back and to the outside on your throat.

To counter this, you need to act early. The first step of your opponents attack is to try and grab your right hip with their left hand and pull it forward. The aim is to lock your hip in place and cause you to bend slightly backwards.

As soon as they attempt this, slide your right hand back. Your hand is inside theirs, so use that to your advantage. Use your elbow to prevent their hand from making a grab. Turn your right hand and grab their elbow from the inside, pushing it up and rolling across your body past your face as shown.

Shuffle your right foot up if necessary, then pivot on it. Swing your back foot out of the way in an anticlockwise arc. This will get you out of your opponents grip and completely remove you from their line of attack.

As you step out of the way, grab your opponents left hand with your left hand. This will give you a good elbow lock. The 2nd scholar of the 3rd master of dagger gives an excellent description of this same lock on the opposite arm. Use it to spin your opponent down in an anticlockwise circle.

Horseback – Counter to the 2nd scholar of grappling

Folio 45 v. a


This is the counter to the previous play. If someone takes you by the stirrup or the foot, quickly throw your arm around his neck, and in this way you can unhorse him. If you do this he goes to the ground without fail.


The 2nd scholar of grappling from horseback is attempting to throw you off your horse by grabbing your foot or strirrup and lifting it up. Although this is an effective method of throwing someone from their horse, it leaves the person making the throw exposed at their mechanically weakest moment. This is the moment you are taking advantage of when making the counter.

The lower your opponent can grab you, the more leverage they get for their throw, but the more exposed they are to a counter. As they go to grab, they will be leaning right forward and possibly a little out to the side. You are aiming to extend this movement beyond their tipping point.

Reach across with your right hand and grab on to the back of your opponents neck as shown. Try to catch their momentum as they are reaching out. Keep pushing their head down. It will help if you can move your own horse off to the side slightly. If you push straight down past the shoulder of their horse, they will be able to hold onto the saddle. If you pull them out to the side, they will have no support.

As with all throws, you will need to be quick and smooth, so as to keep your opponent off balance. Once past the tipping point, they will topple onto their head between the horses, to be trampled underfoot.

Grappling – 5th scholar

Folio 7 r. c


Because of the hold I have earned, and the way I lift you from the ground, I will lift you with my strength and put you under my feet, first with your head and then your body. And you will not see a counter to this.


This play appears in both the Pisani Dossi and the Florius manuscripts. As can be seen below, both these other documents show the throw being performed on the right leg, instead of the left, as shown in the Getty. It makes more sense to throw the right leg.

From the master play, you will have contact with the inside of your opponents right elbow. Drop your weight onto your back foot to disengage from your opponent. As you do so, slide your hand down their forearm and grab onto your opponents right wrist. Pull them forward off balance. You need them to take a step forward. With your weight on your back leg, swing your foot around your opponent to their right side.

Place your foot in between your opponents. Get it right up close to the inside of their right foot. Bend your knee and sink your weight low in your front foot. The back and forward motion will create the momentum you need to smoothly lift your left hand up, putting your opponents arm across the back of your shoulders. Scoop your right hand under their thigh as shown in the Pisani Dossi or Florius manuscripts.

Straighten your legs and bend at the waist. The combination of your straightening leg and the thigh lift, will pick their right leg up and throw them off balance. Your opponent will fall backwards, landing in front of you. As you have bent over, their right arm will slide over the top of your head. Since you control the wrist, you will be able to pull on it, causing them to spin on their back slightly. You can now safely lock the wrist and finish your opponent with the remainder of Fiores five things.

Grappling – 6th scholar

Folio 7 r. d


When I give you my thumb under your ear, you will feel so much pain that you will go to the ground without a doubt. Or I will make some other grip or lock that will be worse than torture. The counter that he can make is the sixth play against the fifth, where he puts his hand under the elbow. That can be done to me as a counter, without doubt.


From the position of the master play, your opponent has grabbed your right forearm and left shoulder. By making a volta stabile, they are attempting to make a forward twisting throw, pulling you down in front of them.

Slide your right arm over your opponents left shoulder. Wrap your fingers around the back of their neck. Push your thumb into the neck between the earlobe and the corner of the jaw. Straighten your right arm and allow your opponent to pull you onto them. This is the moment shown in the picture.

Your thumb is driving into a very sensitive pressure point. The more your opponent attempts to throw you in this direction, the greater the pain they inflict on themselves, and the more they will disrupt their own balance as a consequence.

Step through with your back foot, continuing the momentum which your opponent has begun. Push their head forward and down as you do so. This will throw your opponent face down on the ground in front of you.

Be aware that your opponent may attempt to counter this by changing the direction of their movement to an anticlockwise turn. If they can successfully switch feet while lifting and catching your left elbow, they will throw you same as the counter to the 4th scholar of grappling.

Grappling – 7th scholar

Folio 7 v. a


You take me from behind to throw me to the ground and I turn like this. If I dont throw you to the ground, you will have gotten a good deal. This play is a finishing move, but it must be done quickly so that the counter will fail.


There are a number of ways you can arrive at this position. Fiore gives us the context that you have been grabbed from behind. While this certainly works, it is not limited to such a scenario. As long as your hands are free and you are at extremely close range, you can use this play.

The 9th scholar of the Sword in One Hand uses the same entering throw, starting from wide play and then rapidly closing in on the opponent from directly in front. The 6th scholar of Sword in Armour also makes a very similar throw after closing from the front.

Swing your front foot around behind your opponent. You want it to be between their feet. As you do so, extend your front arm across your opponents chest and throat with the hand over their shoulder as shown.

Flare your knees and drop your weight down so low that your thighs are parallel to the floor. This gives you an extremely solid base. As you drop your weight, extend your arm through your opponents space. Dont twist yourself, but rather push straight along the line of your legs.

You should arrive in Posta Longa, although your legs will be in a deeper stance than usual. Effectively, you are creating an obstacle with your thigh, and then pushing your opponent over it. Aikido practitioners will recognise this technique as kokyu nage.

Horseback – 3rd scholar of grappling

Folio 45 v. b


This is a way to throw someone to the ground with their horse. To throw both horse and rider to the ground is done in this way. When you fight on horseback, ride on his right side. Throw your right arm over the neck of his horse, and take the bridle by the bit which is in the horses mouth, and forcefully pull it up and over. Let the chest of your horse push through the rump of his horse. And in this way he will fall to the ground along with his horse.


When fighting against a mounted opponent, one of the options available to you is to take out your opponents horse. This has already been explored by the 1st counter to the 5th master of horse and the counter to the 6th master of horse. In this play you are unarmed, so here you throw both horse and rider to the ground.

For the purposes of explaining what is happening here, this play does not in any way take into account what your opponent is doing. Unless they are highly distracted, such as from dealing with another combatant, they wil be trying to fight you off. You will have to make this play in whatever space you can find while fending off their attacks. Given that there is just too much randomness going on there, it is described as used against a fairly passive opponent. Also, although there is a degree of movement between the horses, they are not moving at nearly the speed used in other plays from horseback.

Reach over the opponents horses head and grab the bit right at the mouth. Lift up and over the horses head, pulling back towards your self as shown. This gives an axial twist down the horses neck and into the shoulders, destabilising them.

Keep your own horse moving forward, pushing against the rump of your opponents horse. This causes it to move the back legs, pivoting on its already unsteady front legs. As you do so, push your right hand forward and down as if trying to touch your opponents saddle.

By adding a lateral twist to the axial twist you have aleady put on the neck, while disrupting its rear legs, the horse will be left trying to pivot with all its weight on its front left foot while you push against it. An impossible task, it will fall away from you, hopefully injuring the rider as it does so.

The horse will be angry, scared and probably in a degree of pain, but essentially uninjured. It will thrash around quite wildly as it gets back to its feet and runs off. Bear in mind that its feet will be facing you as it does this. Keep well clear of it while it does this before either making your escape or riding down your opponent down.

Grappling – 8th scholar

Folio 7 v. b


This one is a play with a leg throw which is not well assured in grappling. And also, if anyone wants to make the leg throw, they must use force and speed.


Fiore refers to this throw as ‘gambarola’ – leg throw. There are several subtle variations on exactly what he intended the throw to be, but a good interpretation would be the judo throw ‘osoto guruma’ – large outer wheel.

The object of this throw is to cut out both of your opponents legs as you twist them down. Begin from an upper grapple with your right arm over your opponents left shoulder and your left arm under their right. Shuffle your left foot forward slightly so it is level to or just behind your oppnents foot. Swing your right foot through so that it is completely behind your opponent as shown.

With your right ankle, catch your opponents left leg at the achilles tendon and scoop it upward. Straighten your right leg by raising it behind you. Put all your weight onto your left leg and with a straight back, twist forward at the hips. This will push your opponents shoulders backward as well as twist them to your left. Your opponent will roll over your hip and land on their back in front of you. You will be left holding their left arm to control and lock as you choose.

Be sure to move assertively and with constant flow. At the point just before entering the throw, both combatants are at a point of equalibrium. You hold the advantage because you control the movement, but if you hesitate at the point shown in the picture, your opponent can counter by using the same throw against you. This is why Fiore warns us the throw is not assured and must be carried out with speed and force.

Grappling – 9th scholar

Folio 7 v. c


This is a finishing move and it is a good grip to use to hold someone in such a way that it cannot be defended against. The counter is that the one being held goes back against a wall or other timber and turns in such a way so that the one who holds him breaks his head or back on the same wall or timber.


Here you make a high grab from behind. There are a couple of different ways to get behind your opponent. You can, of course, come from either side equally well depending on the circumstances. For the purposes of description, the play is written as manipulating your opponents right arm.

You can counter an attack of theirs with an elbow push. There are many examples of these throughout Fior di Battaglia. Within the grappling section is the counter to the 11th scholar. You could also, somewhat more proactively, grab at their front hand like the 5th master of dagger. This will pull them off balance, allowing you to step behind. Either way, you will turn your opponent in an anticlockwise direction.

Regardless of which method you use to turn them, shuffle in close with your right foot. Step through with your left foot so you are behind your opponent. As you step, swing your left arm under your opponents left arm. Slide your right arm under theirs and using both hands, push forward on the back of the skull, as shown in the picture.

Although pushing the head down, you also need to pull their weight back. You want them to fall in a sitting position with their legs out in front of them and their arms jammed out to the sides. Once your opponent starts to fall like this, kneel down one knee and lean forward into them. This will lock the whole body in place.

Be aware that to counter this, your opponent will be trying to stay on their feet and bend forward at the hips. If they succeed at this, there are several things they can do.

If they get their hips under yours, they can throw you forward over their shoulder. This is particularly the case if they are much bigger than you.

They can lift you off the ground enough to run you backwards into a solid obstacle.

If they are reasonably flexible, they can bend right forward while stepping back and to the side. This would allow them to slide under your arm. They would then be well placed to counter you with the throw of the 7th scholar of grappling.

Grappling – 10th scholar

Folio 7 v. d


This one strikes the player with his knee in the balls to gain the advantage to throw him on the ground. The counter is that immediately the player goes between with the knee to hurt him in the balls, that you take the right hand under the knee and throw him to the ground.


Locked in a grapple in which neither combatant has the initiative, as the 10th scholar, you take the advantage by driving your knee into your opponents groin. Notice that this is not a finishing technique in itself. You are doing this to hurt your opponent so that you can then throw them. Attack on the inside line where your opponent will be more open to impove your chances of success. The scholar pictured would be better using the left knee instead of the right.

Although the play describes a groin attack, you can just as effectively strike to the pelvis or solar plexus. Hitting your opponent successfully with a knee will jar their whole body, rendering them incapable of doing anything for a moment. Because you are holding them at close range, this means that they are usually open to a repeat attack. If your first knee hits home, you should be able to trap your opponent in a vicious cycle, getting an extra two or three in before running out of momentum. Being on the receiving end of a barrage of knee strikes is a memorably unpleasant experience.

There are two slight variations on how you can deliver your attack. For both variants, you need to be at extremely close range.

First and simplest is to raise the knee straight up and into the target. As the knee rises up, push your hip forward. Grab your opponent tightly and pull them down onto it. There is the sensation of leaping into your opponent. This is the attack as pictured. If you have a little more distance to make up, you can also grab your opponent by the shoulders, pulling them forward and down, while driving the knee into the solar plexus.

A second variant is from a low grip, raise your knee to horizontal while keeping your hip back as far as possible. When in position, drive your knee straight forward while pulling your opponent onto it. This will smash through the front of the pelvic bone, creating what is called an open book pelvic fracture. Your opponent will collapse to the ground in great pain and unable to walk.

The right circumstances to effectively use a knee attack are quite infrequent, but due to the fact that it is such a short movement, knees are difficult to counter. You need to keep your weight low and make the initial defence with your thigh. Rotate your hips inward, using the inside of your front thigh to push the knee offline. This will not only save you a lot of pain, but will give you the time needed to get your hand there.

Scoop under the inside of the knee. The player in the picture would be using their right hand to do this. Lift the thigh up, while pulling down with the other hand. Your opponent will twist and fall on their back to your outside. You can see the principles of this throw being used by

Horseback grappling – Counter to the 3rd scholar

Folio 45 v. c


This is the counter to the previous play which wants to throw the player on the ground along with the horse. It is a simple thing to know that when the scholar throws his arm over the neck of the horse to take the bridle, immediately the player throws his arm around the scholars neck, and forces him to drop it, as you see drawn here.


Here, your opponent has reached across your horses head, and is trying to twist both it and you to the ground. To get a good grip on your horses bridle, they need to extend themselves quite a bit. This provides your opportunity for a counter.

In order to throw the horse, your opponent is trying to twist its head not just axially, but also in an arc out to your left, and back across the horses withers.

Form your right arm into a smooth curve. You want the points from your fingertips, wrist, elbow, right shoulder, left shoulder to make the arc of a circle. There is the sensation of flaring out the elbow and leading with the top of the thumb.

Keeping your core attached to the saddle, extend you arm, curving it around your opponents neck, as shown in the picture. Slide your arm along the neck. You are aiming to get  their head resting in the hollow of your right shoulder. The twist your opponent has given to your horse will cause it to turn slightly to the left. If your opponent does not let go and immediately try to regain their balance, they will be peeled from the saddle, falling backwards by the front right foot of your horse.

The distance of your opponent, and the fact that your hips are bound to the horse means that you will not be able to perform this technique as smoothly as it appears in other plays. Despite this, you can see what is conceptually the same throw in the following plays.

Grappling – 11th scholar

Folio 8 r. a


Because you have taken both your arms under mine, I strike with my hands firmly in your face. If you were well armoured I would leave this play. The counter of this play is that the scholar who is injured by the player in the face puts his right hand under the elbow of the players left arm and pushes strongly, and the scholar will remain free.


The 11th scholar does not feasably flow from the master play. Instead, your opponent leaps in to grab you around the waist, pinning your arms inside theirs in an attempt to throw you to the ground.

As they close in, step back to give your self some space, and bring your hands into the centreline close to your body. Put one hand on top of the other and hold them with the palms forward. Fiore shows the right hand on top, but it really makes no difference, just as long as one hand supports the other.

Put your hands into your opponents face as shown. As your opponent applies the grip, they will pull you towards them. Emphasise this move by extending your arms and lunging your front foot forward. This will push their head right back, unbalancing them and leaving them open for a throw.

There is some scope for variations in exactly how you place your hands here. You could open the fingers on your front hand into two pairs, and drive them into the eyes. You can use the heel of your hand to strike at the base of the nose and break it. You can grab the point of the chin and lever it backward. You can cup your front hand slightly to stengthen it and drive the fingertips into the hollow of your opponents throat. Although each of these will give slightly different results, they are all extremely painful and unpleasant to recieve.

As should be fairly evident, and as Fiore points out, if your opponent is wearing a helmet, this play will not work. It can also be countered which is explored in the next play.

Grappling – Posta Longa (Long Guard)

Folio 6 r. a


I am Posta Longa (Long guard) and I look like this. And in the hold you want to do to me, I will surely bring my right arm under your left arm. And I will enter the first play of grappling, and with that hold, I will make you go to the ground. And if that hold is likely to fail me, I will transition to other plays which follow.


This is a waiting guard providing a good invitation. From here you can enter into the first play of grappling.

Be sure to keep the forward arm on a diagonal across the body, covering the left side, so as not to leave open possibilities for attack from the player. The left arm remains relaxed covering the lower quarter.

Like all posta, the arm and body should not be rigidly held in the same position and you can adopt variations as needed. You can, and should, be comfortable changing sides so as to open different lines.

Grappling – Counter to the 11th scholar


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.


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

Grappling – Posta Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tooth Guard)

Folio 6 r. b


I come against you from the Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars’ Tusk). I am sure to break your grip. And from here I can enter Porta di Ferro. And I will be ready to put you on the ground. And if you defend against me, I will try another way to go on the offensive, namely with breaks, binds and dislocations. In that way I am depicted in the drawings.


This is an extremely versatile posta equally suited to both offence and defence. In practice, I personally hold my elbows in a lot closer than depicted here, rarely letting them stray more than a hands span from the hips.

In a defensive context, your forward arm is able to sweep aside incoming attacks from the belt, up. You can push the elbow forward to jam attacks. You could brace your opponents arm against your body, or grab their hand to roll it either in or out. Your forward arm can also rapidly scoop down to brush aside any kicks, knees, and lower grabs or stabs.

Your rear arm comfortably sweeps aside or jams any incoming attacks from your sternum to your knees. It can also rapidly scoop up to grab an incoming hand, leaving your forward arm perfectly placed to enter into a bind, break or disclocation.

To go on the offensive from here, you can push into your opponent using your forward arm to slide over the their elbow into a ligadura, or use your foward arm to knock their arms out of the way and enter into a grab or throw, or use either hand to shove the opponents elbow across their body and so get behind them, just to name a few. It is easy to begin any of the five things from an attack sequence from this posta. Your options are largely only limited by your imagination.