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
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.
The third lesson was a huge success. Not because I succeeded at everything (I didn’t), or because it was less difficult than what I’d feared it to be (it wasn’t), but because I managed to keep to the rules. I did my best not to focus so much on myself, which helped a ton in not being embarrassed about fumbling at exercises. Because I wasn’t thinking “oh noes, whatever do people think of me for that blunder”, I could concentrate on how to correct my mistakes. As far as the self-confidence issue is concerned, this lesson was a triumph.
Alright, enough about footwork and daggers! It’s been far too long since I wrote about swords. This third lesson introduced an awesome but scary exercise, which I’ll get to in a post or two. Before describing it, however, I thought it useful to recap in a bit more detail what we learned about sword attacks during the first and second lesson. It’s going to be a bit terminology-heavy, I’m afraid, but I think it’s useful to have all this info in one place.
The first thing we were introduced to was what I called a “downwards slash”, but which Fiore calls the mandritto fendente. From the last dagger-themed post you’ll know that mandritto is the victim’s left side, and riverso is his right side.