Dagger Disarm Flowdrill

We now know how to defend against three dagger attacks: one targeting the right side of the head (from the attacker’s perspective), another targeting the left side, and a third aiming for the stomach. So, we’ve learned most of the basic dagger defences (a.k.a. disarms)… or have we? Just knowing isn’t necessarily enough. Defences like these have to be instinctual on some level to be practical. How do we achieve that? Practice, practice, practice. Or, in other words, the dagger disarm flowdrill.In the flowdrill all three attacks and defences we’ve learned are put together to form one continuous exercise:

First comes the mandritto attack and the defence against it. Person B, on the right, is the attacker. Person A grabs B’s wrist and takes the dagger into his right hand.

Second, A becomes the attacker and strikes a riverso attack. B defends. Please note that the viewpoint in the next two pictures has switched to their other side.

B is now in the ideal position to attack with a sotto, and he does just that. A takes the dagger from him and goes on to strike with a mandritto attack, starting the round over.

As you can see, there’s no real beginning or end to the flowdrill. You can go on doing it for hours, but thankfully we only do it for a handful of minutes. Remembering the proper order of the attacks is a bit of a challenge at first, but soon enough this exercise starts to go smoothly. A little too smoothly, in fact. The teacher warns us against getting sloppy and letting the exercise turn into a sort of dance where we just pass the dagger around instead of attacking or countering. You should always put intent behind your attack, he explains, even when you know that the other is not supposed to let it land. That doesn’t mean your attack has to be quick or done with much force, just that if the opponent doesn’t block it the attack should actually hit him.

That ends this lesson’s dagger practice. Up next: what to do when your mandritto fendente is blocked.

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