Grappling (Abrazare)

Grappling in Armizare

Grappling is a universal theme throughout Fiore’s work. Although the grappling section itself only contains sixteen plays, the application of these plays and other grappling techniques are to be found in every section of Fior di Battaglia. A surprising two thirds of Fiore’s plays involve some kind of physical manipulation of the opponent, even more if you count those which involve pulling or twisting the opponents weapon.

Mastering grappling is an essential skill in practicing armizare as it was intended. When Fiore writes of the five things you must do to finish an opponent, four of these five directly rely on grappling techniques. The key to effective grappling is an understanding of applied leverage.

Classes of leverage

The principles of grappling and four of the ‘five things‘ all revolve around creating a fulcrum in a given space for a certain period of time, and then manipulating the load (typically your opponent) around that fulcrum with your own force.

Try to ignore your opponents outward appearance and instead, dispassionately view them as a mobile physics problem. By keeping the three classes of leverage in mind, you will have a greater understanding of what the different techniques are trying to achieve.

It is critical to begin with a stable fulcrum. If your fulcrum is moving, you will not be able to effectively lever anything around it. You will often find yourself creating fulcrums out of wrists or hips.

The closer you can get your fulcrum to your own centre of gravity, the more control you will have over it. You will need to hold your fulcrum still (relative to your own movement) for the duration of your leverage. For instance, if you have pinned your opponents wrist against your chest (5th Master of Dagger), you have created a fulcrum. You can still turn and move to a certain degree, but the wrist must remain pinned to your chest, otherwise you will lose your fulcrum and have to create another one.

Applied classes of leverage

First class lever – 1st Master of Dagger, 7th scholar

  • The fulcrum is the scholars shoulder
  • Force is applied at the wrist
  • The load is the player

Second class lever – 1st Master of Grappling, 4th scholar

  • The fulcrum is at the Scholars thigh
  • Force is applied at two points, with the average being the centre of the chest
  • The load is the players centre of gravity (around belt buckle height)

Third class lever – 5th Master of Dagger

  • The fulcrum is the players wrist (pinned to the Masters chest)
  • Force is applied at the elbow
  • The load is the player