Marozzo’s Dagger Defense: A Modern Approach | Kaja Sadowski

Kaja Sadowski || Valkyrie Western Martial Arts Assembly || Vancouver, BC

Hidden away at the back of Achille Marozzo’s “Opera Nova” is a list of 22 techniques for unarmed defense against a dagger attack. They’re often overlooked in favour of his swordplay, but Marozzo’s Presas are a fascinating and effective lesson in 17th Century self-defense.

This workshop presents the 22 Presas in a modern framework that draws out their common features, and develops them into a simple, coherent approach to dagger defense. We’ll cover the principles of these techniques, and work them against varying levels of resistance and threat. We will begin in their original historical context, and then look at how they can translate into modern knife defense with relatively little modification. You’ll come away with a deeper understanding of Marozzo’s approach to combat, a sense of the ties between historical knife combat and its modern analogues, and some flexible tools to bring into your own self-defense training.

Gear: Synthetic and/or wood knife and dagger trainers (assortment of sizes/styles is preferred, so students can experiment with applying the same techniques to different tools).