Second Giganti XI: Dagger Fighting

Giganti prefaces the dagger section by pointing out more men are killed with daggers than with swords.  He then promises a third book on fighting with dagger alone against “a variety of weapons.”  Maybe that one’s also in the Wallace collection.

His basic approach strongly echoes his rapier fighting: When they attack, push their dagger aside and stab them.  Given the size of the dagger, he resorts to two tempi: one for the defense, by delivering a cut to their hand or blade, and one for the attack, thrusting to his face while your left hand maintains control of your opponent’s dagger hand.  He describes three or four scenarios, all of which boil down to the same pattern.  In contrast to Silver and others, who teach a more boxing-like approach dagger fighting, this still has the form of fencing, which makes it probably more acceptable on the SCA rapier field.

He also provides instruction for facing sword and dagger with dagger alone, and for dagger alone against spear: Feign weakness, retreating, drawing more vigorous attacks from your opponent, provide an opening on your right side, and when he goes for it, parry his weapon, pass to his outside (away from his dagger if he’s got sword and dagger), and stab him a lot.  Or: Make a trap, spring a trap, close measure quickly, and make the murder happen.  Giganti really only has one plan.

I’m curious as to why he bothers to instruct particularly on these two weapons forms.  The translator and author don’t provide explanation, just note that this is not a scenario found elsewhere in the literature.  My best guess is that, since these constitute the arms of a soldier, this is Giganti’s only real sop to battlefield-related fighting.

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