Disarms from the Falsemount

Just as grappling can be done from the saddle, so can disarms.  For the Blue Spur you will need to show how to:

Conduct three disarms from the falsemount at the halt and in motion

"In motion" means at the walk.  Disarms are typically conducted when riders are at a standstill or their horses are yielding in a circle.  Walking away in a straight path completes the disarm, but any other gait is too fast to allow enough time for these motions.

Almost any disarm that will work from the ground will also work from the saddle.  However these three are particularly effective from horseback.

1. The Square Disarm.  This disarm starts when you have met your opponent's sword and ended up bound with your swords in a cross near the fortes.  Yield to the pressure, and let your hilt go past your opponent's sword.  By sweeping your arm down and across you can pin your partner's arm and sword to your chest in a version of the sheep grip discussed in last week's post on wrestling.  In the final position your two swords and arms form a square.

Wrist hook from Paulus Kal
Wrist hook from Paulus Kal

2. The Wrist Hook.  This disarm takes advantage of the single-handed use of the longsword which leaves a long section of hilt free.  From the inside line, hook the pommel of your sword over your partner's wrist.  This alone entraps the wrist, and by turning your sword point down you can strip the sword from your opponent's hand.  Drop your reins and take the blade with your other hand if you want to ride away with both swords. talhoffer

3. The Wheel.  This disarm requires dropping the reins so you can grasp your opponent's sword at the forte and debole.  Sweep the sword in a sottano-like motion, stripping it from your opponent and bringing the point on line.

Even more so than on foot, disarms can easily turn into grapples and throws, particularly if the opponent does not release her grip on the sword.  However, this is a double-edged weapon.  If your seat is not secure and your posture upright and structurally strong you may just as easily be thrown as you try to disarm your opponent.  Use your stirrups and saddle for purchase, and your legs to keep your horse moving underneath you.

Regardless of who initiates the grapple, be prepared to sacrifice your weapon to keep your seat.  Galloping away weaponless will allow you to live and fight another day -- being dragged off your horse is more likely to end badly, whether or not you still have a sword in your mailled fist.

Upcoming Events

22nd North American Horseback Archery Challenge

Academie Duello students are invited to come to the Naha Challenge at beautiful Mount Currie on May 24th & 25th.  If you can shoot one arrow from horseback and meet the safety requirements you can participate.  See the Borsos Torz website for more details:



Mounted Games Practice
Fridays, 5-7pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
cost: $5 with own horse; $15 with school horse; $25 for non-members
Open practice time for mounted games.
Prerequisites: Riding Level 1 or equivalent.  Spectators welcome!

Cavaliere Classes
Saturdays 24th May, 21st & 28th June (note new June dates)
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road
cost: $60 ea
Instructor: Jennifer Landels
Horsemanship, Riding and sword drills for all levels of riders and swordsmen
prerequisites: none, Intro to Mounted Combat recommended

Intro to Mounted Combat Workshop
Sunday 1 June, 10am – 1pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
cost: $149
Instructors: Jennifer Landels & Devon Boorman
A taste of everything in the program.  Learn about grooming and tacking up, get some swordplay fundamentals, and ride a horse with sword in hand.
prerequisites: none

Mounted Combat Workshop
Sunday 1 June1- 4pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
cost: $60
Instructor:  Devon Boorman
Swordplay from the ground, the falsemount, and from horseback.
prerequisites: Intro to Mounted Combat or permission from the instructor

Mounted Combat Skills
Sunday 15 June 1 – 4pm
Academie Duello Centre for Swordplay, 412 W Hastings, Vancouver
cost: $60
This indoor Mounted Combat session is a chance to practice your swordplay, spear and wrestling skills from the ground and the falsemount.  Perfect your technique without the distraction of live horses, or the worry of hurting them!

Package Deals

Cavaliere 4- and 12-packs are available.  These packages are valid for all classes offered in the Cavaliere program, as well as for private or semi-private lessons.

4-pack: $200 ($50 per class)
12-pack: $480 ($40 per class)

When you purchase a package you are automatically signed up for all upcoming Cavaliere program classes.  If you are unable to make a class and let the front desk know in advance, you will be credited for a future class.


Jennifer Landels heads up Academie Duello's Cavaliere Program. She has been swordfighting since 2008, and riding since before she could walk. She started the program as an excuse to combine those passions.
Read more from Jennifer Landels.