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Medieval and Renaissance Dagger Combat
by Jason Vail
Paladin Press
ISBN 10:1-58160-517-X
ISBN 13:978-1-58160-517-4

Relying primarily on Fiore, Meyer, Talhoffer, the Gladiatoria, and the Codex Wallerstein, with some material drawn from Paulus Kal and the Solothurner fechtbuch, this book brings together material from a number of sources into a single volume to give readers an indication of the breadth and depth of medieval European knife work. It is intended both as an overview of the field and as an introductory manual for independent study.

The book begins with introductory chapters on the evolution and forms of the dagger, and includes stories of dagger homicides, some of them drawn from the London coroner's rolls of 1330-1375, others recounting famous knightly duels that were decided by the dagger.

Then the book describes initial covers (interdictions, deflections and grasps) and fundamentals such as primary guards both for armed and unarmed defense, and introductory footwork (which won't surprise anyone since it is the same as in swordplay).

After those preliminaries, there is an extensive chapter on unarmed defense. These defenses are as effective as those found in any martial arts in the world.

Next, the book covers selected dagger vs. dagger work. Given the large array of techniques available in the fechtbucher, many are not covered. However, from the large number that are here, there should be techniques that should suit any student's build and personality and that the student will be able to apply spontaneously with sufficient practice and study.

The author rounds out the book with an exposure to dagger vs. sword techniques and a discussion of George Silver's principles of place and distance as applied to dagger work.

The material is presented in a step by step fashion that should allow the reader to replicate the techniques in his own.


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