Grappling from the Falsemount


In any knight’s career there is likely to come a time when you find yourself deprived of your sword.  No matter, grappling is a valid and common tactic from the saddle.  For the blue spur you need to demonstrate how to:

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

The three grapples we are looking for occur when both mounts are facing the same way.

A comradely pat on the back is really a sneaky grapple
A comradely pat on the back is really a sneaky grapple
near side counter
Sweeping the arm in the near-side counter

1. Shoulder grab.  This is an attempt to pull the opponent from her horse by grabbing either the near or far shoulder.  Approach the other rider from behind and pull her shoulder back and towards you, maintaining your own upright position in the saddle.

2. Counter to the near shoulder grab.  To counter someone pulling or pushing on the should closest to them, shoot your hand straight up in front, circle it down between your bodies, and then bring it back up, catching your opponent’s elbow.  The motion is similar to a rising shoulder cut.  This will break the opponents grip and put them in a bind similar to Fiore’s ligadura mezzana or an upper key.

3. Counter to the far shoulder grab. When your opponent reaches around to your opposite shoulder your arm circles the oppositie way: down and back, then up, over and down in front of your own body, trapping the opponent’s arm in a middle key similar to Fiore’s 1st scholar.  Paulus Kal calls this the ‘sheep grip’.  Think of the motion as a mandritto squalembratto.  It is important that your hand ends up by your opposite hip and your torso stays upright.  This will pull your opponent across the front of your saddle and out of her own.

The sheep grip
The sheep grip

In all of these motions care must be taken not to lose your own balance while trying to take your opponent’s.  Keep your heels down and weight in the stirrups as much as possible.  This is one time in riding when we advocate gripping slightly with the upper thighs if necessary.  Be aware that gripping with your lower legs may cause your horse to move forward, unseating you before you’ve taken away your opponent’s balance.  In both counters think of reaching through the opponent’s arm rather than pushing on it.

At the Mounted Skills workshop in the salle you will have the opportunity to practise conducting these grapples from moving falsemounts (unlike our stationary ones at the barn, the indoors falsemounts have wheels!).

Mounted Skills Workshop

Sunday 18 May, 1-4pm
Academie Duello, 412 W Hastings St, Vancouver
cost: $60 + gst

At our Mounted Skills workshops we work on swordplay, spear and wrestling from both the ground and falsemount.  Perfect your technique without the distraction of live horses, or the worry of hurting them!

Open Barn

Monday 19 May, 1-4pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond

Open time to work on your riding or horsemanship. Free to attend, use of a school horse is $10 (or free if you donate a bit of time to our concurrent work party).

Cavaliere Classes

Saturdays 24th May, 21st & 28th June (note new June dates)
4-7:30pm
Red Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road

This is the class to take to work on your Horsemanship and Riding in group lessons by level,  followed by 45 minutes of sword drills.

Mounted Games Practice

Fridays, 5-7pmRed Colt Equestrian Farm Co-op, 12320 No 2 Road, Richmond
cost: $5 with own horse; $15 with school horse; $25 for non-members

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 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.