Tonight’s class was focused largely on dagger, specifically the first remedy master, versus a mezani dritto. We began with some basic footwork drills to warm up, segued into some footwork drills with sword in hand, then rolled out the mats.
We began with the first play, the disarm. I lined everyone up in two facing rows, had one row attack on my signal, and the other row would perform the cover and disarm. They would then all shift right by one, and those on the end would switch rows. This kept everybody moving at a brisk pace, and let everybody work with everybody.
After that, we worked the takedown, which for all intents and purposes is the gambarola with the dagger. I classify this as a backward takedown using posta longa. I then demonstrated changing grips, around the chest, held by the belt on the far side, etc.
We moved into a backward takedown from poste frontale on the same side as the dagger. By grapping the near shoulder or lapel, the Player can effect what is pretty much the same takedown – a backward takedown using the leg, but by using the shoulder as a handle.
For fun, I decided to more or less combine the two previous version, and have students grip on the near shoulder, but collapse their arm, striking the Companion in the chin with an elbow as they enter, offering a “softening up” blow that simultaneously forces the chin up and back, helping to further break structure.
I also demonstrated how by stepping closer to the Companion, many of these rear leg takedowns become hip throws. Since we don’t practice high-amplitude falls much, I decided to forgo this exercise, but it’s on a to-do list for later.
Finally, I took the play’s principle one step further and turned the play into a forward shoulder throw. If, for whatever reason, you don’t push into the attack, like Fiore seems to prefer, you can step across, effectively performing a tutta volta. Keeping in front of him, drop your hips beneath his while tugging on the arm to break structure. lock it to your body with dente di zenghiar, pop the hips, and the Companion is loaded onto your hips for a shoulder throw. Just roll them off your back.
If you step too deep, you and up behind their leg, and this becomes a really nasty rear hip/shoulder throw. If, for some reason, you can’t get in front of their lead leg with your step, and step between their feet, the play still works as advertised, the pivot point just changes, and you take out their rear leg.
The second half of class was devoted to some controlled/directed freeplay. I had them fight using certain constraints – obliged to open with a thrust. Designated attacker and defender. Designated beginning poste, etc.
We ended with a bit of free form play to cap off a good night. Well done, folks. Let’s do it again!