Mair’s Sickle fight 1: Incisio Superna Falcis Frumentariae De Latere Utroque

From the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Starting positions, Agente on left, Patiente on right

Translation by Rachel Barkley

An Incision of the Grain Sickle from Above Down on Either Side

If you two are mutually engaged with a proper[1]  sickle, you should put forward the right foot. You should grasp the sickle with the right hand next to the left side of your head, you should reach out against the enemy with an open left hand, and thence following him with the left foot, you should plough up his head from the right side.

But if the adversary advancing toward you does the same, you putting forward the left foot, holding the sickle with the right hand and the head falling back left on the left shoulder when you are attacked on the right side Then you will repel the adversary with the sickle, you turning your right side. Thence, seizing the enemy’s right hand with your left hand,  you will wound the right side of his head.

If the adversary has attacked you from above similarly, quickly having seized his right hand you will turn away from his incision by this reckoning. Thence if by example you will have drawn up[2] the right hand, you will attempt to plough up the left foot of the enemy.

If he will attempt the same , then you cover the[3] inner right arm with the left hand . Thence if you will have dragged up[4] the right hand, you will force the sharp point of the sickle to his head and you will retreat backwards.

Notes:

[1]Latin: “Rite Regenda”, interpreted “properly controlled”

[2]Latin: “Adtraxerus”  This seems to describe a “pulled back” or “withdrawn” weapon, a recovery to guard after a blow.

[3]Here the inner right arm covered is that of the opponent.  This serves to block the opponent’s incoming attack.

[4]Latin: “Retraxeris”, pulling back the sickle, through the opponent’s hand.  “Dragging Up”, “Ploughing Up”, and “Slicing” are the main descriptors used for attacks throughout.

 

Interpretation by Owen Townes (who really wishes he could insert a table for this)

 Setup:

Agente:
Right foot forward
Sickle over Left shoulder
Left hand extended towards opponent to ward attacks

Patiente:
Left foot forward
Sickle over Left shoulder
Left hand extended towards opponent to ward attacks

Play:

Agente:
Step in with Left foot, offside to head

Patiente:
Step forward with left foot
Hook Agente’s sickle and pull to left side[1], rotating torso to left[2]
Seize Agente’s right hand with left hand, offside to head

Agente:
Grab Patiente’s right hand with left hand
Rotate torso to right, pulling your right hand free[3]
Onside low strike to Patiente’s left foot

Patiente:
Block Agente’s forearm with left hand
Rotate torso to right, pulling right hand free
Onside or offside to Agente’s head as available

 

Observations and Notes:

[1]Keep right arm and sickle above left arm

[2]This action will not work if Agente’s attack is not performed with full intent, as it relies on redirection of Agente’s momentum.  Those familiar with Aikido will recognize this as a variation on a fairly basic Aikido action.  There are only so many ways to kill a man.

[3]It seems that this is best accomplished by pulling the hand upward, too, to expose Patiente’s low line.  Rotation of the hips to drive the wrist holds is also necessary, and also fundamental in Aikido.

Overall, this play relies on terminology like “Onside” and “Offside” as rough descriptions of the actions, but no easy translation to Oberhau/Mittelhau/Unterhau suggests itself.  With the fight occurring at close measure, a rising cut can be delivered to the head, a descending cut to a foot.  Ultimately targeting and sided-ness dictate the form of, and suffice to describe, the attack.

1 comment to Mair’s Sickle fight 1: Incisio Superna Falcis Frumentariae De Latere Utroque

  • Wistric

    In our practice with the Purpleheart Armory simulators, we’re finding that, as mentioned briefly above, intent makes these work. Swinging with force, stepping with aggression, and gripping opponent’s arms with force (a better example comes up in plate 2, but consider the difference between an open hand block with a soft arm vs. a firm grip with a resisting arm, in stopping the momentum of an incoming attack) all are essential.

    We’ve started finding out all sorts of modifications to our original interpretations, so I’ll be making addenda in comments throughout.

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