The Disciplines of Armizare

Armizare can be divided into three principle disciplines: close quarter combat, long weapon combat and mounted combat, each of which can then be fought either in armour (in arme) or without armour (senza arme). Close quarter combat forms the basis for many of the grappling and disarming techniques used in later sections of the manuscript, and the dagger section forming the single largest collection of techniques:

Long weapon combat begins with the introduction of the sword and swordplay forms the basis for all other long weapon combat. The treatise also includes several other “knightly” weapons used on foot, both in and out of armour, such as the spear and poleax. There are also several unusual weapons, such as monstrous, specialized swords for judicial combat, and hollow-headed polehammers, meant to be filled with an acidic powder to blind the opponent!

Finally, mounted combat, reintroduces many of the disciplines already presented, this time adapted for combat on horseback, again in or out of armour. 

  • Abrazare
  • Lanza (lance)
  • Spada d’un mano contra lanza(sword vs. lance)
  • Spada contra spada
  • Ghiavarina (a partisan-like weapon shown on foot against mounted opponents)

Within these subsections, dei Liberi taught his art through a series of zoghi (“plays”) —formal, two-man drills akin to the kata of classical Japanese martial arts— that were both technique and tactical lesson.