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  372, MS 345, 144r (p. 158/4)

For the Bolognese swordsmen their art was not only fencing but a complete martial art suitable for friendly exchanges just as well as competition, the duel and life-threatening encounters on the streets and alleys. This is exemplified by some of the plays where gentlemanly conduct and complex actions asking a great deal of skill are discareded in favor of straight-forward, rough and tumble grappling.

This play is one of these examples, describing how you are to act should someone have been able to gain a presa on your sword.

Translation

If in any way you find yourself with crossed swords with your enemy and he wishes to make a hold with his left hand of your sword, you cautiously finding yourself with either foot forward, at the time when he wishes to take the hold, gather backwards the foot that is in front, turning a mandritto to the hand with which he imagines to make the hold, or to the sword hand.

And so likewise take heed that should you perhaps wish to grab his sword, he can turn a mandritto to the your hand.

But should it arise that indeed he grabs a hold of your sword with the said left hand, you can immediately push the sword towards his body, like you wanted to stab the sword to his waist, and then with the greatest vigor and force give a pull towards yourself, in which way you can easily free the sword from the hand, perhaps not without great harm to his hand.

But if perchance this plan turns to be in vain, and he wishes to attack with his sword, you can make an act of throwing yourself forward, and with your left hand grab his where you best can.

Or you can entangle with him in a grapple and force him to fall to the ground.

You can also grab the blade of your sword with your left hand and give it a turn with both hands in a way that is most convenient for you in order to free the sword from his hand.

You can also tangle the foot against his will, or you can give a knee or a kick to his testicles with all of your strength, and having him regaining his senses I think the sword will soon be free.

Commentary

This play has multiple options for an annoying but likely situation. The techniques are violent and to be performed without tarrying at all.

We decided to be quite expressive with this video and took some freedoms in performing the plays. We ommitted some of the options, such as cutting the sword hand and performing the “tangling of the feet”, or intrigo di piede.

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