Defence Against Sotto Dagger Attack

I’m not feeling very well as we’re riding the bus to class. Were it an extra lesson or some other hobby I would’ve stayed home, but I don’t want to fall behind on the beginner’s course. I find myself wondering what would happen if the teacher got ill. I don’t suppose the class would be cancelled…

As it turns out, the teacher is sick. The assistant teacher takes over after the salute, and the class starts normally. We have our warm-up and footwork repetition, then move on to daggers. We’ve already learned defences against the mandritto and riverso attacks, so it’s time to complete the triangle: what do you do when the dagger is heading for your liver instead of the sides of your head?

Like with all defences, the first step comes pretty naturally: I don’t want to die, so I stop the dagger.

To stop the dagger you simply need to reach forward and grasp the other’s hand and arm. At the same time you take a small accressere off the strada, the opponent’s line of attack, to make sure that the dagger doesn’t hit you.

Once you’ve got the opponent’s hand under your control, twist the dagger towards the floor to free it from his grip. Then proceed to strike him wherever it’s convenient, be it the chest or the head.

It’s a simple exercise, and yet it does have its quirks and difficulties. The biggest problem for me is taking the dagger. I seem to only have quarter of my opponent’s strength, so I need to hit the exact right angle in which to turn the dagger. My pairs are kind enough to give me what advice they can, including lifting the opponent’s hand up, holding the dagger by the tip and turning it towards their knuckles. It feels a little strange to get bogged down at such a basic issue nobody else seems to have problems with.

Like most exercises this one requires me to remember a ton of little things, which makes it a challenge. I need to react in time, take the step, lift the opponent’s hand, twist the dagger out of it in the right way and then find a way to reach the enemy while gripping the tip of the dagger. When we move on to the next thing I find myself wishing we could practice this more.

3 thoughts on “Defence Against Sotto Dagger Attack

  1. Must be sort of terrifying to fall behind when there are daggers involved! I don’t envy you having to learn all these details!

    • I’m actually more afraid of the swords :D But you’re right, it’s really not good to fall behind on this course. Normal beginner’s classes (not tied to the beginner’s course) are not taught in any special order, but on the course each new lesson is built on top of the previous ones.


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