Endpiece

Endpiece – Master

Folio 46 v. a

Translation

This master has tied a strong rope to the saddle of his horse and the other end is tied to the foot of his lance. First he strikes the player, and then he throws the bound lance over the left shoulder of his enemy, to be able to drag him from the horse.

Interpretation

This is a very interesting play which takes a degree of planning and coordination, although it is very simple in its concept. In contrast to the lessons of the first eight masters of horseback combat, this play is not concerned with how, or even if, you hit your opponent. It is something of a backup plan for if they are still mounted after your best effort.

Take about three metres of strong rope. If your rope is too short, the play will not work, but if it is too long, you will tangle yourself up. Tie one end firmly to the butt of your lance. Using a quick release knot, anchor the other end to your saddle. Exactly where you tie this is dependent on the saddle design. Directly behind you in the saddle centre, as the picture shows, is the safest and mechanically best place. Next best would be to attach it to the pommel, although if you do this, the rope will cut across you as the rope pulls taut.

After the contact of the initial tilt, if your opponent is still on their horse, then you use this play. Throw your lance, or its broken stump if that is all you have left, straight out to your side and fairly high up. There is very little time, and the sudden change from the driving forward momentum to a sideways toss is a little strange, but it does not need any power, or even much accuracy. As long as the line crosses your opponents chest or neck, momentum will take care of everything else.

As they charge through, the rope will wrap around your opponent. Although it is impossible to say exactly what the lance will catch on, it is an awkward shape, and will surely catch on something. With a sudden and violent reef on your saddle, the rope will pull tight behind you. This is why you want it tied to the back of the saddle. Your opponent will be pulled backwards as their horse gallops out from underneath them.

If you are jousting for sport, the play ends here. If you are fighting to the bitter end, then take advantage of your quick release knot. Untie the rope and let it fall to the ground before closing in on your opponent. You do not want to tangle your own horse.

Horseback - 8th master, Uncategorized

Horseback – 8th master

Folio 43 v. d

Translation

Also this Posta Coda Longa (Long Tail Guard) is good when one comes to meet him with his sword held on the left, as this enemy does. Know that this guard works against all blows from right and left, and against anyone who is either right or left handed. Here begin the plays of Posta Coda Longa that always beat aside in the way that is previously described in the first Posta Coda Longa.

Explanation

With your right arm held across your body, and your right shoulder turned slightly to the front, you are positioned here to beat any attack across to your right.

As you make the beat, be aware that if you perform this with the same diagonal cut you are used to making on foot, you are likely to strike your own horse in the head. To avoid this, your cut must first lift up and then beat across the top of the horse. It moves in more of an arc than a straight line.

Not surprisingly, the scholars of the 8th master are not new techniques exactly, but previously described plays in the context of mounted combat.

There are several different examples both on foot and horseback of posta coda longa being used throughout Fior di Battaglia. You will see it in

Horseback - Grappling plays

Horseback – 1st scholar of grappling

Folio 45 r. b

Translation

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

Explanation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

Horseback - 8th master

Horseback – 4th scholar of the 8th master

Folio 44 r. d

Translation

This is the fourth play. The scholar wants to strike his head and then take his sword in the way that you see drawn here.

Interpretation

This play does not concern itself so much with the strike as what to do next. Beat your opponents sword to the right and strike along the inside line, similar to the 1st scholar of the 8th master. Having hit, but not necessarily killed or unhorsed your opponent, you are now disarming them.

Scoop your right hand back towards yourself so that you are contacting the inside of your opponents forearm with your own. Hook your hand so that the pommel goes over the top of their arm as shown. The movement of the horses will slide your forearm down to the wrist until your hand goes under the crossbars of the sword, levering it from their grip.

Although shown working from the inside of the arm, this play works equally well from the outside. If you make your initial strike from the left, as shown by the 2nd scholar of the 8th master, you can just as easily drop the pommel onto the inside of your opponents arm, sliding your forearm along the outside. Although the application is slightly different, the mechanics of the disarm are the same.

Having completed the play, you can safely turn to finish off your wounded and disarmed opponent. Although it does not appear earlier, there is absolutely no reason why you could not use this disarm with a sword in one hand when fighting on foot.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 1st Master

Hrs M1 p1
Folio 41 r. b

Translation

I carry my lance in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tusk Guard) because I am well armoured, and have a shorter lance than the player, so I can beat his lance offline diagonally upwards. And if I strike with my lance an arms length along the shaft, my lance will find his body and his lance will pass offline away from me. In this way I will do it.

Explanation

Carrying the lance low like this allows you swing it it diagonally up, knocking the players lance offline and leaving yours on target. There is a degree of timing required to get this to work well. Aim to contact the players lance in the middle of the shaft for best effect.

Horseback - 8th master

Horseback – 5th scholar of the 8th master

Folio 44 v. a

Translation

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

Interpretation

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

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

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

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

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

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

Horseback - Grappling plays

Horseback – 2nd scholar of grappling

Folio 45 r. d

Translation

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.

Explanation

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.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – Counter to 1st Master

Folio 41 r. c

Translation

This is the counter to the previous play with the lance, when one rides against the other one with steel and one lance is shorter than the other. When the one with a short lance carries it in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro, the one with the long lance similarly brings his lance low, because the short lance cannot beat the long. This is shown here.

Explanation

When two horsemen ride against each other, and both carry their lances in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro, the one with the longer lance will win the exchange. Each is trying to perform the play of the 1st Master, but the longer lance will arrive at its target first. This enables it to reach underneath the shorter lance and beat it out of the way.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 2nd Master

Folio 41 v. b

Translation

This is another way to carry a lance against a lance. This master has a short lance and carries it in Posta di Donna la Sinistra (Lady’s Guard on the Left), as you can see, to beat aside and strike the player.

Explanation

You carry a short lance as the 2nd Master. Your opponent will win a straight tilt due to their extra reach. You could carry your lance low, as the 1st Master did, however, your opponent may know the counter to such a move.

To resolve this problem, carry the lance in Posta de Donna Sinestra. After your opponent has committed thier line of attack, but before they make contact, beat diagonally downward with your spear, knocking their point offline. It does not have to be overly powerful, just enough to ensure that the point misses. At the end of this, the point of your lance should be aiming at your opponent. The momentum of the horses will drive it home.

Although it appears slightly different when done with lances from horseback, you should recognise this as an exchange of thrusts. Other examples of exchanging the thrust can be seen in

  • Sword in two hands – 8th scholar of the 2nd Master
  • Sword in armour – 1st scholar
  • Sword in armour – 2nd scholar
  • Spear on foot – scholar of the 1st 3 Masters
  • Spear on foot – scholar of the 2nd 3 Masters
  • Spear vs cavalry – 1st scholar
Horseback - Grappling plays

Horseback – Counter to the 2nd scholar of grappling

Folio 45 v. a

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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.

Horseback - 8th master

Horseback – 6th scholar of the 8th master

Folio 44 v. b

Translation

This is the sixth, who wants to take the sword of the companion. When taking the sword, keep lifting straight up, and his sword will certainly fall from his hand.

Interpretation

This play takes place after the initial contact. Your swords will be crossed in the middle. From there, drop your right hand down, reaching across your opponent and rolling your blade to the opposite side of your opponents horse. Twist your body to do this rather than reaching across with your shoulders. If you lean too far, you are in danger of being tangled in your opponent and stripped from the saddle. You should find yourself in the position shown.

Having wedged your hand behind the pommel of your opponents sword, drop your weight into the saddle and pull your right elbow back across your body, raising your right hand as you do so. Although pulling your elbow back makes you more stable, it is the lift which actually strips the weapon.

The angle of your hand and pommel severely restricts the movement of your opponents sword hand. The higher you lift, the safer you are and the more your opponents fingers are pried open. The sword should fall behind your left shoulder, leaving you safe to turn and pursue your now cursing opponent.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 3rd Master

Folio 41 v. d

Translation

This master also carries his lance in Posta di Donna la Sinistra (Lady’s Guard on the Left) to beat aside the lance that the player throws. And the beat he does here with a lance, can also be done with a baton or short sword.

Explanation

This Master uses exactly the same technique as the 2nd Master of horseback. Only the context has changed, highlighting the adaptability of this defence.

In the same way that you beat diagonally downward to knock aside an opponents lance, you can also beat aside a thrown spear. The Master demonstrates a concept more than anything else. Anything you hold which can reasonably be expected to be strong enough to swat aside a thrown weapon will work just as well here. Chamber whatever you are holding at the left shoulder and use a diagonally downward cut over the top of your horses head to knock projectiles out of the air from in front of you.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 4th master

Folio 42 r. b

Translation

This master that flees is not armoured, and has a good fast horse. He repeatedly throws the point of his lance behind him to strike the player. And if he turned to the right, he could enter Posta Dente di Zenghiaro or Posta Donna la Sinistra with his lance, and beat and finish as in the first and third plays of the lance.

Explanation

You are being pursued by your opponent. Given your lack of armour, if they come within reach, you will be speared through the back. Being unarmoured and on horseback, your strategies largely revolve around speed and mobility. For this reason, you are riding your courser, a good fast horse. In this play, you use your speed and mobility to turn adversity to advantage.

The primary aim is to gain enough space so that your can turn around to face your opponent. You do so with this excellent example of offensive defence. Ride with your lance couched, and keep checking over your right shoulder to guage how close your opponent is. If they are closing in, flick your lance over your shoulder, then turn your body and extend your arm, throwing the point at your opponents face or their horses head. Assuming the lances are the same length, you will outreach them by at least an arms length.

Although this will cause you to slow down slightly, and possibly veer a little to the right, the need to defend themselves will disrupt your opponents pursuit. Keep doing this as often as is necessary. At some point, you will gain enough space to go fully on the attack.

As you judge that your pursuer has dropped sufficiently behind, expand the glance over your shoulder into a complete turn to the right. Either drop your lance point low into Posta Dente di Zenghiaro as the 1st master, or lift it into Posta Donna la sinistra as the 2nd master, depending on the circumstances in the moment.

Your opponent will be closing in fast. Beat their lance aside as described by the appropriate master play, and allow them to run onto the point of your lance.

Horseback - Grappling plays

Horseback – 3rd scholar of grappling

Folio 45 v. b

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 5th master

Foilo 42 r. d

Translation

Carrying the sword like this against the spear is very good to beat the lance when riding on the right side of the player. This guard is good against all other hand held weapons, such as pollaxe, staff, sword, etcetera.

Explanation

The master here carries the sword in Posta di Donna la Sinistra. Because it is a single handed sword, and also because you have to sit squarely on your horse, it cannot turn so far around you as when making the same posta with a sword in two hands. The torque you lose from the reduced body mechanics, however, is more than compensated by the momentum of the horse.

From here, you can cut over your horses head on a downward diagonal to the right, beating aside your opponents weapon. This is an effective defence not only against mounted opponents, but also as a general defence against any opponent with any hand held weapon.

In addition to beating your opponents attacks down, you can also make powerful cuts or thrusts of your own from this position. You should also be able to enter any of the plays of the 8th master.

Horseback - 1st to 7th masters

Horseback – 1st counter to the 5th master

Folio 42 v. a

Translation

This is the counter to the previous play. The master carries his lance low so as to strike the horse in the head or chest. The player cannot beat such a low attack aside with his sword.

Explanation

The 5th master rides against you with their sword held in posta di donna, aiming to beat your spear aside and then strike you.

Counter this by ignoring your opponent and attacking their horse instead. Due to the length of the spear and your targeting, you will hit your opponents horse long before your opponent comes within reach.

The surest target is the centre of the horse at the base of its neck. If you hit here, you will drive your lance into its chest with the full momentum of both horses combined. This will kill the horse and pull the lance from your hand. It may seriously disrupt your own balance.

At the other end of the scale of potential targets is the horses face. If you strike there, you will keep a hold of your lance, but remember you are aiming at a moving target. The horse will try to avoid the lance. It doesnt want to be stabbed in the face any more than you do.

At the very least, your opponents horse will uncontrollably bolt, pigrooting and bucking in pain. If you strike it cleanly, it will collapse to the ground and thrash madly as it dies, doing unpredicatable damage to the rider as it does so. Take advantage of the confusion to ride down your opponent before they can recover.

Horseback - Grappling plays

Horseback grappling – Counter to the 3rd scholar

Folio 45 v. c

Translation

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.

Interpretation

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.