Dagger freeplay

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Freeplay with a dagger may simulate several different contexts: a duel done with daggers (which would usually have been in armour), a feat of arms in which an unarmed knight takes on one armed with the dagger, and of course some kind of self-defence situation.

These can be done with varying levels of intensity and equipment. Bear in mind that this kind of exercise does not simulate response to a surprise attack, so is not applicable to the more common modern self-defence situations involving knives.

Minimum requirements: dagger simulator (rubber or wood) and a mask. If using steel daggers (which must have a rubber tip), fencing jackets and gauntlets are required, and full longsword freeplay kit is recommended.

The usual set-up is a series of three passes: one with the dagger, one unarmed against the dagger, and one with both players armed. If scoring, then a strike with the dagger is worth one point, in either scenario; successful unarmed defence against the dagger is worth two points.

The dagger may also be used in freeplay against other arms (spear, sword etc.) or as a backup weapon with the sword, spear or axe as the primary.

Freeplay-type games with the dagger include the Murder game, Zombie attack, and of course all manner of degrees of freedom working up from set drills. Kit requirements: wood or rubber daggers, masks.

  • Murder game rules:

best played with minimum 8 players; three or more daggers are passed out to random players, and kept in the belt.

With players in a line, eyes shut, the class leader selects any number of players to be murderers, with a silent touch on the back.

Players then mingle, walk about etc. until the murder(s) start killing. One strike=game death=push-ups (determined in advance). Last man standing wins.


  • Zombie Attack

Requires minimum 8 players, better 12 or more. Select an object (e.g. mask, anything will do) and place it at one end of the room. The zombies start at that end.

The other players (Humans) (select between one and half the total class) start at the other end.

Zombies start forwards, striking up and down. Humans must touch the selected object (e.g. sacred mask of doom) to kill the zombies. Game ends when either a human gets through, or the zombies have killed everyone. One strike with dagger = death. Zombies cannot be killed, but may be disarmed, thrown, etc. Only dagger strikes count. Losing team does push-ups.