Dagger Mandritto Fendente Remedy and Counter-Remedy

So, now that we do know all the basic attacks and defences we can move to the interesting stuff. Remember our very first dagger exercise? It’s time to add some variation to it.

The scenario goes as follows: the attacker comes in with a mandritto fendente (with a dagger). The defendant – that’s you – starts in porta di ferro. As usual, you stop the attack with your left hand. But that’s where the familiarity ends. Instead of disarming your opponent in the normal way, you slide into a lock (pictured above). Continue reading

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Defending Against A Straight-On Dagger Attack

Our final lesson begins. Yay? It certainly doesn’t feel like it was only 8 weeks ago that I was still considering backing out of this whole thing.

After the usual warm-up it’s time to do the dagger exercises. Now, we all know the four basic attacks and defences, right? Turns out, no, we don’t. We’ve completely forgotten about the fourth dagger attack! And so before moving on to anything more advanced we have to learn the defence to the fendente dagger strike.

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How Not to Keep Your Balance

This lesson is all about balance again. After a warm-up we are paired up and told to do an exercise similar to the one we began our first ever lesson with. We face each other and try to get the other off-balance.

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Fourth Lesson: Drills and Glossaries

I did okay. This is a new thing to feel when walking home from training. I’m not sad or disappointed in myself (I managed to keep to the rules quite well), but not ecstatic either. Hm. Perhaps I’m just getting more used to this. Continue reading

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. Continue reading

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?

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Revisiting the Third Remedy Master of the Dagger

The week has gone by quickly and it’s time to go to sword school again. Because of heavy snowfall we take care to leave early, and arrive well before the lesson starts. This gives us a perfect opportunity to ask the assistant teacher to clarify last lesson’s dagger exercise. How come the opponent doesn’t seem to be under our control?

He agrees with us that the version we learned does not bring the opponent out of balance (although apparently there’s another version that does so, but which is not as faithful to Fiore’s illustrations). We also don’t have a strong lock in place on the opponent, so he can get out of our grip pretty easily.

From this one might think (indeed, I did) that the technique is ineffective. That turns out to be untrue: there’s a trick to the exercise that we weren’t explained. Distraction.

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