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Dagger (daga) Training @ AEMMA

A rondel or roundel was a type of stiff-bladed dagger in Europe in the late Middle Ages (from the 14th century onwards), used by a variety of people from merchants to knights. It was worn at the waist and might be used as a utility tool, or worn into battle or a jousting tournament as a side-arm. The blade was typically long and slim, measuring 12 inches (30 cm) or more; the whole dagger might be as long as 20 inches (50 cm). Rondel means round or circular; the dagger gets its name from its round (or similarly shaped, e.g. octagonal) hand guard and round or spherical pommel (knob on the end of the grip).

Dagger training involes two training units, the first which provides the student with the basics of dagger techniques in terms of off-line evading, re-direct and footwork followed by specific Liberi dagger techniques and plays. All of the techniques learned in recruit level of training involves one dagger per pair, i.e. one person attacks with a dagger, the partner responds with an appropriate defensive/offensive maneuvre. Secondly, all techniques are learned from an unarmoured perspective. Both partners armed with daggers is reserved for scholler level of training. The fundamental combative principles learned during grappling or abrazare are leveraged into dagger training. This training is by no means complete with respect to dagger techniques, however, key elements are extracted from the 60+ dagger techniques and skills in order to enhance the overall experience and skill of the recruit student and position the student to challenge for the prize of scholler.

Brief History

Fiore dei Liberi wrote a comprehensive treatise in 1410 entitled "Flos Duellatorum" [ 1 ] or Flower of Battle, which describes a system of training that included a large and intense section covering dagger combative techniques. He stresses that dagger techniques are leveraged from the earlier grappling (abrazare sections of his treatise which clearly indicates the importance of grappling in developing martial skills. His treatise contains numerous plates (illustrations) that depict variations on the theme of dagger play. Liber's treatise includes 13 plates depicting dagger vs. dagger, 63 plates depicting single dagger techniques, 9 plates depicting dagger and sword, 1 plate depicting dagger vs spear and 2 plates depicting dagger vs staff. What becomes clear during the dagger training is the fact that much of the abrazare fundamentals become obvious during dagger training and the student recognizes the connection between the abrazare and daga training. Liberi was clever in the manner of the structure of his treatise in which the skills learned in earlier sections are in fact leveraged in later sections. The success of his approach or "system" documented by Liberi is clearly the result of nearly 50 years of accumulated experience possessed by Liberi at the time of the writing of his treatise, which is one of the principle reasons that AEMMA has incorporated Liberi into its structured recruit training program.


Recruit training is scheduled on a rotational basis, in which each class is focused on a particular aspect of Liberi's system, such as grappling one day, dagger the next day followed by longsword training on the 3rd day. The cycle then repeats again. Training for recruits is offered three times weekly. For details on the scheduling for recruit training and fees, click here.

For details on AEMMA's training program, equipment requirements, armoured tournaments info, and ranking system, click on "training" on the navigation bar at the top of your browser window.


  1. Fiore dei Liberi - Fiore dei Liberi of Cividale d'Austria was born sometime between 1340 and 1350 in Cividale del Friuli, a small town on the river Natisone in Italy. According to available information, he had been practicing the art of swordsmanship for 50 years at the time of his writing the treatise entitled "Flos Duellatorum" or "Flower of the Battle". Accounts indicate that he trained in swordsmanship under the direction of the scholar and Swabian Johannes Suvenus (a former scholar of Nicolaus con Toblem). The knowledge and skill he developed under Johane's direction elevated Fiore dei Liberi to a master swordsman of his time.

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Released: June 12, 2003 / Last modified: October 16, 2009