Dagger, Dagger - 2nd, 3rd and 4th Masters, Grappling

Dagger – 1st scholar of the 2nd master

Folio 13 r. d


This grip is so strong that I believe I can kill anyone with it, because I can break your arm and I can throw you to the ground, and I can take your dagger. I can also tie you in the high bind. And from these four things, you will not be free.


Although it sits within the dagger section, this is essentially a grappling technique. It works especially well against an overhead hammerfist style attack, such as is delivered with a mandritto or fendente dagger strike. The real key to making this work is to catch the attack after it has been chambered, but before it has been properly launched. As with all grappling techniques, timing and flow are critical.

With your left arm, make an upper block to jam your opponents dagger hand. You want their forearm to be no further forward than upright if possible. Make initial contact with the outside of your forearm and roll it roll it so your palm faces away from you.

Quickly step through with your right foot. You will need to get in close. Use the hip rotation to throw your right arm under your opponents right arm. Reach up with your right hand and grab on to your left hand.

You have now created a crank handle as pictured. Your opponents upper arm rests in the crook of your right elbow, creating a pivot point. Their forearm is a lever, which you about to push back and down.

Step through with the left foot, giving your body a slight clockwise twist. You want to lever the forearm past your opponents shoulder and behind them. If it goes too wide, and the angle of the arm exceeds 90 degrees, they have a chance to twist free. Keep it tight.

Lock your right elbow onto your hip and push your hand straight down. This will apply a great amount of torsional leverage to your opponents shoulder. If their knees dont give way first, it will tear the shoulder joint. Either way, your opponent will fall straight down in a crumpled heap at your feet.

Grappling, Grappling - Plays

Grappling – Master

Folio 6 v. a


This is the first play of grappling and every grappling guard can arrive at this play, and in this grip. Namely, take the left hand inside his right elbow and the right hand up behind his left elbow. Now immediately make the second play, that is, having gripped him in that way I give a turn with the body and he will go to the ground or else his arm will be dislocated.


The player grabs with the left hand to the neck and the right to the hip in an attempt to roll into a lock or throw in either direction.

As the master you need to jam the players right arm in the crook of the elbow. Step either forward or backward dependant on distancing, twisting the hips anticlockwise and removing the target from the players hip grab.

The players left hand arm is also blocked above the elbow. You need to push with the inside of the forearm upward into the opponents triceps. Your forearm should not be directly vertical. Be sure to move your elbow inside the line of the hand, allowing the inside of the forearm to push upwards.

You are not stopping the grab from arriving, but rather, taking control of the momentum in the instant it arrives. Tense your neck a little to help with leverage. The same hip twist which moves your left hip back, pushes your right arm up. Using the grab point as a fulcrum, you have just created a third class lever. Contacting the players arm in this way will create a small shock in their elbow.

Tempo is important. The leverage needs to be applied in the last moment of the players reach, not before it arrives, nor after they have completed the grab. If the grab is completed, the player can anchor their arm and resist, causing the play to devolve into a match of strength.

Grappling, Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 2nd scholar

Folio 6 v. c


The scholar who is before me speaks truly that his grip will put him on the ground or dislocate his left arm. Also I say that if the player removes his left hand from the shoulder of the master, that the master arrives at the third play similarly to how you see it drawn. So that the first play and the second are one single play where the master sends him to the ground on his face, and the third one sends his shoulders to the ground.


The play of the 1st scholar follows seamlessly from the master play of grappling. At the transition point between the two plays, if the opponent feels the pressure on their left arm, they can avoid the arm lock of the 1st scholar by dropping their left elbow and slipping away.

This will cause them to twist slightly clockwise. As the 2nd scholar, you want to take control of this movement and add to it.

Strike your right forearm into your opponents neck and collarbones. It will create a shock, but is not intended as an attack in its own right. With a clockwise twist of your hips, curl your right arm down and carry their head to your right hip.

Once your opponent is unbalanced, scoop your left hand under their knee. They must already be destabilised before you try this. If you go to scoop too early, not only will it be unsuccessful, but you will lose the advantage and be exposed to a counter throw.

With correct timing and having successfully caught the knee, lift it right up and step through. You will be left standing in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro with your left foot forward. Your opponent will be lying on their back to your right hand side. Be sure to strike them hard before they have the opportunity to recover.

Grappling, Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 3rd scholar

Folio 6 v. d


This is the fourth play of grappling by which the scholar can put the player on the ground. And if he cannot put him on the ground in this way, he will seek other plays and grips that we will now see drawn below. I tell you that you can well know that the plays are not all equal at all times, so that if you have a grip that is not good enough you should quickly gain one, so that you do not give the advantage to your enemy.


The 3rd scholar of grappling is a variant on the 2nd scholar. The easiest way to arrive at this position is by mistiming your efforts at making the play of either the master or the 2nd scholar. If you are too slow in either of these applications, your opponent will step in close, and grab you by the hip and shoulder in preparation for a throw of their own. It is still possible to recover, and turn this situation to your advantage.

With your left hand, grab your opponent in the small of their back, on the top ridge of their right hip. Pull it towards you, locking it against your own hip. This will jam their right arm and bend their waist back slightly. By doing so, you are starting to steal your opponents balance point.

As you pull on their hip, push back on the opponents jaw, twisting their neck clockwise. This will simultaneously bend your opponent backwards and off to your right. Your grip on their hip prevents them from stepping back to recover.

Once their balance is lost, the action progresses in much the same way as the 2nd scholar. Move your right hand, and your opponents head with it, in a spiraling curve out and down to your right hip. Grab onto their belt with your right hand, and lift it up towards your right shoulder. Step through as you do so to move into what was your opponents space.

You should end up more or less in Posta Dente di Zenghiaro with your left side forward and your opponent lying on their back off to your right.

Grappling - Plays

Grappling – 4th scholar

Folio 7 r. a


The grip that I make with my right hand into your throat will bring you sorrow and pain. And for that you will go to ground. Also I say that if I take my left hand under your left knee I will be more certain to send you to the ground.


The 4th scholar is essentially the same as the 3rd scholar, except that you are pushing directly on the throat rather than turning the jaw.

There are a variety of ways to arrive at this position. One of them could be a failed attempt on your part to perform the master play has led to your opponent dropping their left hand into a lower grab. Another could be that your opponent is retreating and is attempting to pull you forward into a throw.

Regardless of how you arrived here, your opponent has you in a lower grab, and you need to step forward with your right foot outside the attackers left foot. Drop your weight low to avoid being lifted by your opponent. Make sure your hips are lower than theirs. Grab your opponents right hip with your left hand and pull it in as close to you as you can.

Turn your right hand thumb down and grab at your opponents throat in the same manner as the 2nd scholar of baton. With your thumb and first two fingers open to grab, keep the last two fingers closed like they are making a fist. This makes your hand into a pincer with a spike in the middle. Raise your elbow to make an underhand strike at your opponents windpipe.

Pull back on the hip and push forward on the throat. This pushes on the upper body with an external rotation. When your opponent is off balance, drop your left hand down to scoop under their left knee.

Curl your right hand down to your right hip. Lift your left hand up as you step through to Posta Dente di Zenghiaro with the left foot forward. Your opponent will be lying on their back to your right.

Grappling, Grappling - Plays

Grappling – Counter to the 4th scholar

Folio 7 r. b


I am the counter to the fifth play that is shown before. And I say that if I use my right hand to lift the elbow of his hand which is harming me, I will make him turn in such a way that I will force him to the ground, as you see here, or I will gain a hold or lock. And I will have little care for his grappling skills.


The 4th scholar has attempted a throw against you by pinning the small of your back against their hips and then stepping through with their right leg, pushing back and to the outside on your throat.

To counter this, you need to act early. The first step of your opponents attack is to try and grab your right hip with their left hand and pull it forward. The aim is to lock your hip in place and cause you to bend slightly backwards.

As soon as they attempt this, slide your right hand back. Your hand is inside theirs, so use that to your advantage. Use your elbow to prevent their hand from making a grab. Turn your right hand and grab their elbow from the inside, pushing it up and rolling across your body past your face as shown.

Shuffle your right foot up if necessary, then pivot on it. Swing your back foot out of the way in an anticlockwise arc. This will get you out of your opponents grip and completely remove you from their line of attack.

As you step out of the way, grab your opponents left hand with your left hand. This will give you a good elbow lock. The 2nd scholar of the 3rd master of dagger gives an excellent description of this same lock on the opposite arm. Use it to spin your opponent down in an anticlockwise circle.

Grappling, Grappling - Posta

Grappling – Posta Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars Tooth Guard)

Folio 6 r. b


I come against you from the Dente di Zenghiaro (Boars’ Tusk). I am sure to break your grip. And from here I can enter Porta di Ferro. And I will be ready to put you on the ground. And if you defend against me, I will try another way to go on the offensive, namely with breaks, binds and dislocations. In that way I am depicted in the drawings.


This is an extremely versatile posta equally suited to both offence and defence. In practice, I personally hold my elbows in a lot closer than depicted here, rarely letting them stray more than a hands span from the hips.

In a defensive context, your forward arm is able to sweep aside incoming attacks from the belt, up. You can push the elbow forward to jam attacks. You could brace your opponents arm against your body, or grab their hand to roll it either in or out. Your forward arm can also rapidly scoop down to brush aside any kicks, knees, and lower grabs or stabs.

Your rear arm comfortably sweeps aside or jams any incoming attacks from your sternum to your knees. It can also rapidly scoop up to grab an incoming hand, leaving your forward arm perfectly placed to enter into a bind, break or disclocation.

To go on the offensive from here, you can push into your opponent using your forward arm to slide over the their elbow into a ligadura, or use your foward arm to knock their arms out of the way and enter into a grab or throw, or use either hand to shove the opponents elbow across their body and so get behind them, just to name a few. It is easy to begin any of the five things from an attack sequence from this posta. Your options are largely only limited by your imagination.

Grappling, Grappling - Posta

Grappling – Posta Porta di Ferro (Iron Gate Guard)

Folio 6 r. c


In Porta di Ferro (Iron Gate) I wait for you without moving, to earn all the grips within my power. The play of grappling is my art. And spear, pollaxe, sword and dagger are a great part. Porta di Ferro is full of malice. I always give those who come against me trouble and pain. And to those that thought to gain from me, with my strong holds I will make you go to the ground.


Posta Porta di Ferro is one of armizares major guard positions. It appears not only in the Grappling section, but also in Dagger and Sword in two hands, as well as a variant form in the Spear section.

The Sword in two hands section tells us that Posta Porta di Ferro is ‘Pulsativa’ – a pulsing or beating stance. By keeping this stance relaxed, you are able to suddenly spring out at great speed. Despite appearing to leave you wide open, there is a lot of versatility in Porta di Ferro.

Keep your elbows in and rest your forearms lightly on your hips. The key to this posta is relaxing. Any tension in your fingers, wrists, arms or shoulders will slow you down and negate the potential benefits this posta can provide. The sword section tells us that this stance gives ‘great defence and does it without tiring.’ It is the relaxation in your arms which allows this to happen.

From this position you can grab, jam or sweep anything below the solar plexus by scarcely moving your arms at all. It is all driven by pivoting the hips. Because there is no tension in your arms, you can also make high covers with deceptive speed, especially if you drop your weight as you do so.

Grappling, Grappling - Posta

Grappling – Posta Frontale (Forehead Guard)

Foli 6 r. d


Posta Frontale (Forehead Guard) will gain the holds. When I am in this guard I will hurt you. But I will move from this guard and I wil move to Port di Ferro. Then I will make you feel like you are in hell. The locks and breaks will make you pay. And soon it will be seen what I have earned. And I will gain the locks, if I am not forgetting.


Posta Frontale is neither comfortable nor safe to rest in. With your arms extended, they are easy targets for your opponent to grab onto. Should this happen, you will be at a mechanical disadvantage. It is a posta which must be used cautiously, but which still has many uses.

Far more than the other grappling posta, this is a transition point rather than a defensive guard as such. You will see it in the grappling plays being used in delivering an eye gouge, and a face strike against both an upper and lower grab.

From either Posta Dente di Zenghiaro or Posta Tutta Porta di Ferro, simultaneously punch with both your hands. Be sure to keep your back straight and your weight low. Do not over extend yourself. Grab onto your target, then rapidly close the distance by stepping in, and transition into something else.

Examples of this include grabbing your opponent and pulling them onto your knee, or grabbing your opponents overly exposed wrist and elbow, and spinning them into a takedown.