After several weeks of working the longsword, it was time to switch gears and do some dagger work. Class started with a brisk game of Trollball to warm up (don’t ask…), followed by some attack flows drills combining footwork to get people moving across the room using a simple moulinet, with the goal of completing the warm up and integrating footwork practise.
This was followed with an attack flow drill using Meyer’s cutting diagram as a base. And you thought it was just for sword, eh? Students moved through a series of four attacks using Meyer’s first pattern of the 4 pattern sequence, as follows:
- Begin in porta di ferro, pass forward with a mandritto (mezani dritto)
- Attack roverso with an acressere
- Pass back (tornare) and switch grips
- Pass forward, attacking upwards with a sottani
- Recover with a volta stabile, switch grips again and pass with a rising roverso from dente di cinghiale
- Lather, rinse, repeat.
This was followed by a brief (really, I swear) discussion of the context of dagger use. In short, it wasn’t a duelling weapon when used out of armour, but rather employed for wilful murder (I admit to thinking of my friend Christian Cameron as I said this). So, while we often practise in perfect measure with well-timed attacks against ready partners, the reality was wholly a different affair. In light of this, we ramped up the practise so that it incorporated more of an aggressive stance. a quick exercise with the attacker trying to “Norman Bates” his partner (I showed my age here, apparently…), and the defender trying to defend against an aggressor repeatedly attacking while you attempt to cover – no mean feat.
We reviewed the base play of the first remedy master (the cover), then moved to the disarm and ended with the ligadura mezana under some pressure by the partner. It wasn’t pretty, but neither is someone attacking you with a 12-inch blade.
Next week will briefly review this, then we apply the third remedy in the same manner. Advanced class will cover these two simple attacks, dynamically, from varying postures and states of readiness, and we’ll see how we fare.