Copyright 2006 T. Sheil & A. Sheil  All Rights Reserved

Milihistriot Quarterly

The Journal for Military Miniature Enthusiasts

Medieval Poniard and Dagger


The weapon of last resort throughout history has been the dagger.  Every soldier carried a knife, as well as his regular weapons.  It might have been the dirk in Scotland, the poniard in Medieval France and the trench knife in World War I.  For combat purposes, the dagger was the weapon used when there was nothing else.

            The Medieval dagger had evolved into the poniard, a long weapon with strong handle and a pointed blade.  The blade itself was either the dagger type or a round spike.  If a dagger, edges were blunt as with Medieval swords.  The edge was about as sharp as a screwdriver.  A downward thrust was used because it had the power to penetrate a jack or mail coat.  (An experiment by an acquaintance showed that the downward thrust could be strong enough to spread and split a ring of chainmail.  This was not the case for an upward thrust).

            The techniques show here were intended for a weapon with blunt edge.  They would not work well with a modern ,sharp knife.  DO NOT TRY THEM FOR YOURSELF!  They have the ability to do some serious damage to both user and target.  Modern knives will not work with these techniques.



Man on left has blocked dagger and placed the spike behind his opponent's wrist.  By pulling down, he might lever his opponent's dagger out of his hand..


Two-handed block against an upward thrust.


Two handed block against downward thrust.


This block can lead to a trapping technique.


The man on the right has trapped his opponent's dagger


Placing the dagger under the opponent's ankle and pulling while pushing his arm can throw him to the ground


By pulling back on his dagger and pushing, he can throw his opponent to the ground.


Man on the left blocks a thrust.  Man on the right catches a downward strike.


Disclaimer: the fighting methods shown here are for illustrative purposes only.  They are not intended as actual instruction in Medieval fighting and should not be used as such.  Close combat training is dangerous.  It can be as dangerous for the user as it is for the target.  If you wish to learn close combat, seek a qualified instructor. One should never attempt close combat without the instruction and supervision of a qualified expert instructor .


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