Destreza: Sword and dagger, in Oplosophia

Okay, as promised: Here is a very, very rough initial translation of the dagger section (which now includes the correction provided by Eric Myers in the Destreza in the SCA Facebook page). Unlike previous translations, I’m not including the bulk of the work in the body of this post; I have <checks document> 41 footnotes over eight pages. And one of those footnotes spans more than one page. One thing to note here is that this is not Rada’s or Texedo’s or Viedma’s dagger. Read the whole thing through (he makes a lot of noise in the early bits saying his way is different but obviously superior if you just try it, etc. etc.), then read it again. If you need help visualising some of these things, the scholar class notes from the Brisbane School of Iberian Swordsmanship may help. 

CLICK HERE for translation of sword and dagger section in Oplosophia.

That said, one of the neat things Figueiredo does is include a section in the book with aphorisms for a bunch of different subjects. The dagger section has a list of interesting stuff, and I offer that here so you’re not just coming by and downloading. Although, is there anything wrong with that, really? Probably not. And as always, if you want to pick up a copy of the original, you can find a print edition of Oplosophia (in the original language, not English) here

Anyway. Aphorisms!

  • The dagger was naturally invented for the defence of the off-hand[1].
  • The proportion of the dagger is universal.
  • The centre of the dagger is the origin of the off-hand arm[2].
  • The dagger, in its applications, should never move the centre.
  • The dagger, within the measures, can wound[3] just as well as the sword.
  • The dagger is most suitable for people who are not strong.
  • The dagger deviates[4], atajos, and serves in some parries within the measures.
  • The dagger cannot be subjected well sue to its short length.
  • The dagger enters with atajos and deviations at the start of circular motions of the opponent’s sword.
  • The movements of one who only has a dagger should be supported by footwork, and the profile of the body.
  • The dagger resists the sword on the sword’s weak parts.
  • The dagger, without moving the centre, can make all its circles with just the wrist.
  • The dagger should always be applied in deference to the sword.
  • In every angle in which the dagger is controlling the sword, the body can enter.
  • The dagger will always be applied in the moment and place where the opponent begins to liberate their sword to strike[5].
  • The circles made by the dagger interfere with the opponent’s thrusts.
  • Against the circles made by the opponent in the proportion of the sword, it is dangerous to apply the dagger.
  • The dagger cannot resist the natural movements of the sword on its weak parts.
  • The dagger arm should only very rarely be curved or bent.
  • The dagger should be held in such a way that its guard covers the centre of the dagger arm.
  • The blows[6] given with the sword and dagger should be made below the dagger.
  • The dagger is obligated to cover for the swords faults [in other words, the dagger saves the destrx’s bacon when the sword screws up]
  • The dagger is better than the rodela when within the measures.

[1] Figgy says ‘left hand’, but we’re being hand-agnostic here.

[2] Origin: ‘nacimento’, literaly birth. Where the arm emerges.

[3] Wound: ‘ferir’

[4] Desvía: deviate – push the opponent’s oncoming thrust or point to the side, not up, and not an atajo.

[5] Strike: ‘ferir’

[6] Blows: ‘golpes’

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