33 thoughts on “Medieval dagger grips, defending against sword and blade length

  1. kuntaosilat sweden says:

    Ive seen this block argued by many, i never seen anyone manage to do it with a large degree of sucsess in sparring. But I assume its better to try this than to just stand there and get chopped, so as a last ditch effort sure. But as for the length of the blade, where I come from we say that a bladed weapon the length of your arm or shorter can be wielded in an icepick grip, generally speaking if its bigger then a normal grip is more to be prefered (sure there may be some few exceptions, but generally speaking)

  2. Jive Miguel says:

    One good parry like that would hurt but could/would make you able to close the distance and win the fight against a sword. Maybe…. Is tackling a man not good dueling tactic or just poor sportsmanship?

  3. eejit4hire says:

    And "…if a historical source tell you that someting's right, it doesn't have to be that way…" or something like that. When it comes to hand-to-hand combat, or even fighting with knives – ppl 500 yrs ago "knew" less.

  4. eejit4hire says:

    Watched recently a vid about "point-up" and "point-down" grips. Most (but not all) is reasonable from 7:00 onwards. Everything between 0:00 and 7:00 makes lesser sens 🙁 in general your historical and generally sword vids are way better than knife/dagger vids 🙂 They got lesser accurate considirations.

  5. HeavensBlade TrollMaster says:

    but if its double edged dagger wouldnt in hurt your hand? is this technique only works with single edged dagger? I mean the strong blow with sword would just drive second edge into your hand anyway. I would use it only with single edged weapon because swords can hit pretty hard.

  6. Witcher Lambert says:

    This technique has one problem (not that big but still an issue) when you block like you showed in the video then the enemy can simply change his posetion and cut your arm or even thrust you so its kinda hard to defend couse you need to whatch out for all these things . if i rember right maybe Skallagrim did a video about reversegrim with a sword and it has the same issue (better if you deffend this way then no defence i agree) so you CAN make this technique work but its quite hard i guess.
    But maybe im wrong im not an expert im "just" a learner. Whats your opinion about this?

  7. GregTom2 says:

    You don't fight against a sword with a dagger. It's a survival situation. Either you kill or you run, but you don't stick around like a fool.
    Ideally the other guy doesn't know you're armed yet, and the strike isn't filled with the rage of combat. You parry with the dagger like a tonfa and hopefully you're already grappling and repeatedly stabbing the other guy in the throat.
    Which is also why the ice-pick grip is preferable. Because you're not fighting a duel you're doing a murder race.

  8. Karina says:

    Maybe the difference between a dagger and a sword should be judged off of the length of your forearm.
    On a side note, your forearm is roughly the same length as your foot.

  9. Adam Van Ael says:

    +Philip Dyer
    "Painful or otherwise reducing of efficiency to the extent that one possessing alternative courses of action would be inclined or advised to choose said other options preferentially"

  10. Philip Dyer says:

    Also, the grip of holding it in your arm like was very common. I'm thinking, this it's a two to three pound blade small knife as demonstrated in another video, using it as passive shield isn't the point. If you are letting man with longer, heavier weapon swing and you are only armed and sword lighter and nothing else, you are at extreme disadvantage. With such a posture. You can draw, the knife, stife the energy out of an the man's attack, grab him or his weapon with your other hand an either try to disarm and stab him moving the blade off him his sword, and/or slide so the elbow connects to his face while in the process of knocking him over, then once he is either disarmed, on the ground, or both, stab him to death.

  11. OakenheelsGallery says:

    I know a fellow who works at a sword store. His prefered fighting method is axe and seax. He says that he likes to wear bracers because he can catch and trap swords between his arm and seax, allowing him to give a couple blows with his axe before he has to back off.

  12. Adam Van Ael says:

    I'm thinking, regardless of whether it's the flat or the edge, should you actually hold the blade against the arm at all? Maybe medieval clothing was thicker and offered a bit more padding, but with the impact of a hard sword strike on it, isn't that probably still going to be pretty unpleasant for your ulna unless it's a very glancing blow? Not the first concern in a life-or-death situation, of course, but I was reminded of the similar way sai are used in Okinawan kobudo, and with those they make sure to push out away from the arm when parrying (their blades and sleeves are thinner, so it might be more of a concern, but still).

  13. hurrderr says:

    it sounds like war daggers play to your natural characteristics in unarmed combat, it seems like it'd help you live long enough to close in on the target and use your hands/stab into the neck/shoulder area or even underarm while they're playing with a big metal object and you use the other arm to interfere with that – just like how you'd block/strike/grapple basically

  14. Thomas Hyle says:

    bakters; Most medieval and a great many modern European daggers are single edged, at least for most of their length. We see one reason here. Another is that the edge on a good one would usually be a labor intensive inlay of expensive high quality steel. Daggers were a common weapon of all social classes, but as a rule only the upper crust would wear ones with either a swordlike hilt or double edges (notable exception for the specialized and short lived maine gauche). As you note they often had a flat or cross-shaped pommel for the left hand to add power to a thrust, though this move is largely reserved for an opponent who is down or otherwise incapacitated.

  15. bakters says:

    I believe you don't understand that the techniques those people were learning were supposed to work against people in armor. Overhand stab with an ice-pick grip is the strongest move you can do with a dagger, and even that wasn't often enough. They were using both hands to force the dagger into the gaps in armor, hence those extra hand supports on some models.

    Quick stab or slice would not even tickle those guys. You often had to wrestle them down and slowly push the blade under armor.


  16. bakters says:

    He could have put it flat against the skin with equal ease, and in case of a double-edged dagger with a cross guard he wouldn't even have a choice.

    Oh, this one is single edged. Stiffer in a forceful stab through maile, or something. I don't know.

  17. Vojtěch Nosek says:

    I'd like to ad one thing on daggers. Durring full contact sparing, we realised, that durring some techniques with daggers, it is really easy to fall. (Since it is comonly used in the last part of the fight) There we realised, why you have a disc as the pomel. When you fall durring the dagger combat, it is really likely to get the dagger in between the bodies of combatans. Than you can deliver a strike, using the weight of your body, without moving your hand.

  18. Borjigin says:

    The blade you're holding looks to be sharpened on both sides, so that if you were to use your forearm to block a sword strike edge-on-edge you'd be positioning the dagger to cut into your forearm with the full weight of the sword strike behind it. Wouldn't it make more sense to hold the blade flat against the arm, and so parry edge-on-flat? Really interesting topic, but the video was so short! Please discuss dagger-against-sword in more videos 🙂

  19. scholagladiatoria says:

    Yes, most techniques from all European systems involve edge to edge contact. Edges get damaged regardless of whether you want them to or not, it is irrelevant. What is important is staying alive and incapacitating your opponent.

  20. scholagladiatoria says:

    The technique in the original 15th century treatise is to use the dagger against the forearm to cover against the sword cut as you close distance, then you stab them in the chest. No need to imagine or speculate – the original treatise is there for all to see.

  21. sunnyboyswitzerland says:

    Hi, Nice video! My counterargument is this. If you fight, you need to attack to win. Holding the knife this way realy puts you in a bad spot against a swordfighter. If you want to attack, you can only attack in motion that realy puts your forearm in danger. Lets say you want to stab him (from above) so he can block your attack with his sword swinging at your exposed arm. Block the attack and cut the arm you hold your weapon in. This grip is called the icepick and thats it's disadventage.

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