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Italian abrazare (lit. to the arms)
English grappling

Abrazare is the medieval Italian art of grappling, primarily from a standing position. Key elements are an understanding of an opponent's balance and structure, and applying various holds to break that structure.

Often, techniques for dealing an opponent's dagger or knife are included in abrazare.

Fiore's abrazare

Like much of Fiore's teachings, abrazare is organized into masters and scholars. A master is a first response to an opponent's presented attack or stance, and a scholar is the evolution of the play from there.

First master of abrazare

Fiore's first master of abrazare is a response to an attack by an unarmed opponent. The opponent grabs the fighter's shoulder (collar, jacket, etc.) with an outstretched hand, stepping forward with the same-side foot. The opponent prepares to deliver a strike to the fighter with the other hand.

The response:

  • to the strike: our fighter places his outstretched mirror side hand in the opponent's elbow (posta lunga)
  • to the grab: our fighter comes to dente al cinghiara on the outside, with the opponent's elbow over his shoulder or elbow. If necessary, the opponent's arm may need to be stripped away first. This can be done by lifting dente al cinghiara over the opponent's wrist, coming to porta di ferro, and back up to dente al cinghiara on the outside.

From here, our fighter will preform one of the scholars. Usually, first scholar is performed; the other scholars deal with different responses the opponent may attempt.

  1. First scholar: posta lunga over the grabbing arm, putting the same arm into a vertical middle key against the fighter's torso, supported by the other arm. Pass around and back with the foot on the other side (a tutta volta).
  2. Second scholar: the opponent's arm escapes the middle key. Our fighter presses forward to the opponent's chin, lunging behind and unbalancing him. The opponent's weight comes off his front leg, which our fighter seizes in his other arm.
  3. Third scholar: the opponent moves in to grapple with our fighter in an over/under position. Our fighter pins the under arm to his side and seizes the opponent's waist with the same hand. With the other hand, our fighter, forces the opponent's chin back with posta lunga.
  4. Fourth scholar: the opponent moves in to grapple in an under/under position. Our fighter seizes one of the opponent's wrists and drags it back; with the other hand, he applies posta lunga to the opponent's chin.
  5. Fifth scholar: a counter to fourth scholar. The opponent lifts our fighter's elbow and pushes it towards the face.
  6. Sixth scholar: a counter to fifth scholar. Our fighter seizes the lifting hand with the lifted hand, dragging it down and back, and striking to the temple with the other hand.
  7. Seventh scholar (fireman's carry): our fighter seizes the wrist of the grabbing hand and passes under the same arm, striking the opponent's hip with his shoulder. The other arm goes through the opponent's legs to lift him up (dente al cinghiara).
  8. Eighth scholar (throw forward): our fighter passes behind the opponent, striking the throat or shoulder with the hand defending the strike, throwing the opponent in front of the fighter.
  9. Ninth scholar (throw behind/gambarola): the opponent steps outside our fighter's front leg with his front leg, attempting to bar our fighter's knee. Our fighter makes a similar step, passing forward, the dente al cinghiara hand going to posta lunga across the opponent's torso, throwing him backward.
  10. Tenth scholar (full Nelson): our fighter passes under the opponent's seizing hand, moving all the way behind the opponent. Both arms go under the opponent's arms; the hands press down and forward on the upper rear part of the opponent's head.
  11. Eleventh scholar: our fighter seizes the opponent's head in a clinch and strikes to the groin or hip flexor with the knee.
  12. Twelfth scholar: the opponent steps in to grapple in an under/under position and resists the chin push of third or fourth scholar. Our fencer uses both hands (posta frontale).
  13. Thirteenth scholar (counter to twelfth): the opponent lifts one of the posta frontale elbows.
  14. Fourteenth scholar (counter to twelfth): the opponent drives his thumbs into our fighter's eyes.