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Manual Of The Baratero: The Art of Handling the Navaja, the Knife, and the Scissors of the Gypsies - 1849


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The instruction for wielding the navaja is divided into four parts.

The first part contains lessons on the characteristics of the weapon and its different techniques.

In the second the guards are analyzed, the manner of attacking the enemy is explained, to give a small idea of the various ways in which it is performed, and the tretas are discussed. In the third is the method of wielding the cuchillo(1).

Finaly, in the fourth are lessons on the method of wielding the tijeras as in practice among the jitanos.

The first part is divided into eleven lessons, the second into 12, the third in six, and the fourth in two, in the following manner.

(1)Under the heading of "Instruction for wielding the navaja" is also found the method of wielding the cuchillo and the tijeras, at the end of which there are lessons to further clarify



Lesson one... The navaja. ...4

Lesson two... Their most common names. ...4

Lesson three... Positions or stances. ...5

Lesson four.... Methods of attack and defence. ...5

Lesson five.... The terreno. ...6

Lesson six...The jiros and the method of making them. ...6

Lesson seven...The contrajiros. ...6

Lesson eight...Cambios. ...7

Lesson nine....The golpes. ...8

Lesson ten...The quites and huidas. ...10

Lesson eleven...The recursos. ...11


Lesson two...Golpes de frente. ...14

Lesson three...Golpes de costado. ...15

Lesson four....Corridas. ...15

Lesson five....Molinete. ...15

Lesson six...Throwing the navaja. ...16

Lesson seven...Pases de mano y de sombrero. ...16

Lesson eight...Recortes. ...17

Lesson nine....Suerte de la culebra. ...17

Lesson ten...Engańos. ...17

Lesson eleven..Tretas. ...18 THIRD PART.

Lesson one...The cuchillo. Lesson two...Positions.

Lesson three...Golpes, method of throwing the puńal. Lesson four....Quites y huidas.

Lesson five....Recursos y tretas.

Lesson six...Defenses from the cuchillo or puńal. FOURTH PART. Lesson one...The Tijeras.





The navaja is a weapon too well known in our land, we won't burden our lessons with a detailed explination of its uncomplicated mechanism. It is enough to know that they come in different sizes, and that not all are suitable for our purpose.

In Spain there are several cities notable for the good character and temper that they give to the blades of their navajas, admired for their keen edge and fine finish, that neither break nor bend after having pierced two hard coins or a block of wood two inches thick. Albacete, Santa Cruz de Mudela, Guadij, Solana, Mora, Bonilla, Valencia, Sevilla, Jaen and many other places have masters of the forge, from whose hands come more perfect work in this genre

than that which is produced abroad, and are reccomended to the

afficiandos. Yet since the figure of the navaja isn't always adequate for the use that will be given in the course of our lessons, we say that the blade must have a length of one palm or more, and be perfectly secure between the handle scales, preference given to the navaja de muelle* over any other.

The figure of the blade is of great interest, since not with just any can the diestro dare to strike all the golpes indiscriminately. So, then, the chosen should be of much belly towards the point, have three to four fingers of breadth, and a point somewhat prolonged, for giving the floretazos; all as shown in the present illustration.

*navaja de muelle="switchblade"



The navaja is known by various names among the people who wield it. We won't list all of them here, only those which are more frequently encountered in use, since each province gives it one of its own.

In Andalusia they are called mojosa, chaira and tea, in Seville those of great length are called las del Santólio; but in the garrisons and prisons, and among the barateros of Madrid and other places it is known by the names of corte, herramienta, pincho, hierro, abanico, alfiler and some others. In our lessons we will call it by the common name of navaja.




Those skilled in wielding the navaja take their first position or stance, in a similar manner to that of the espada and sable, which is called guardia. After taking the navaja in either of the hands place the thumb upon the first third of the blade, whose edge should lie towards the inside, place yourself in guardia at a reasonable distance from your opponent, better far than near, with the unoccupied hand held against the body at the waist and in front of the abdomen, and in such a disposition so as to be ready to recieve the navaja when you wish to make a cambio; the feet and legs are placed at equal distance from the oponent, a little open, and in such a manner that all the body faces front and none to the side, as is seen in the present figure: but not when a hat, cap, jacket or mantle is used in either of the hands, in which case you should arrange yourself with the leg on the same side as the arm in which is the hat or cap, towards the front and in the manner of the figure found in lesson eight, the Cambios.

Upon coming on guard take care to draw in the abdomen all that is possible, for which effect it will be neccesary to stoop a little, or else the face will be exposed too far forward, will recieve a blow, and be disgraced. The eyes are always fixed on those of the enemy; in an unwavering manner, even if provoked with feints, words or gestures; it is neccesary to point out that good wielding of the navaja lies essentialy in the swiftness of the eyes and feet, as we now move on.


MODES OF ATTACK AND DEFENSE. After the combatants are in their guard, both are careful

not to attack their enemy in haste, and rather wait for their opponent to strike first so that his attacks may be met and his destreza known.

For the sake of understanding the best mode of attack and defence, we will now go on to explain in the successive lessons what is meant by terreno, jiros, contrajiros and cambios, words whose significance and familiarity is for us essential.



The area encompassed by the full extension of the arm and navaja of the diestro is called terreno, within which only can you strike at your adversary.

Therefore there are two terrenos, one being the terreno propio(yours), and the other the terreno contrario(your adversary's).



In the jiros lies the greater difficulty of this art, for executing them well great speed is required, which will be gained through much practice.

With the combatants in position, one in front of the other leaving between their terrenos aproximately the space of their opposite, the diestro makes a jiro to throw himself upon the enemy and reach out to wound him, suddenly advancing one of the feet and turning the body abruptly upon its point.

When the tiradores are on guard, they cannot reach to wound eachother without getting closer, and the method more rapid and secure for doing this is with a jiro that can be duplicated and triplicated, if the first is recieved with an evasion.

The jiros themselves may be made from the right side and from the left side.

For making them from the right side, and consequently reaching the opponent on his left side, it is neccesary to advance the with the left foot and jirar upon it quickly; that done, if the adversary does not make a contrajiro or a huida, it is certain that he will be wounded. For making from the left side, jira upon the right foot, taking care to place the navaja in the left hand at the same moment that the golpe is given; if it has not previously been placed in said hand.

LESSON SEVEN. THE CONTRAJIROS. The contrajiros are no other thing than the jiros which the diestro who is attacked with one of them makes, bearing in mind that they are to the opposite of those made by his opponent; that is to say, if the jiro comes from the right side, jira upon the foot of that same side, and slip the side that is being attacked backwards, thus delivering it from the golpe and making it possible to atracar your opponent generaly for the hinder part of the chest. The jiro is always advancing, the contrajiro is always retreating. In that manner a jiro struck is negated by a contrajiro, which is negated with a second jiro, and this with a second contrajiro, and so on; it is very beautiful and offers the best representative perspective for the wielding of the navaja. See the illustration above.



Of the various ways there are of wielding the navaja, the best and most secure is he who is acomplished with both hands, that is to say, can use either one for wielding the navaja, although some place on one of the arms a cape, mantle or jacket, or better still the hat in the hand. Yet despite this manner of wielding the navaja having a few advantages, it brings with it many disadvantages that should be taken into consideration. Actualy, if we pay attention

only to the ease with we can obscure the vision of the

opponenent with the hat in the hand, and to the obstacle which this presents, in the manner of a shield, to the golpes that come at the diestro, surely we should adopt this ancient custom; but if we stop to examin the many disadvantages of not being able to execute the cambios nor attack except from the side of the armed hand, and the exposure and risk that is inherent to the guardia which is required by this manner of fighting, as represented in this figure, we deduce without any doubt that the method most secure and with the most recourses is that using both hands for the fight, or that is one hand armed and the other unarmed and free, but in a disposition to be able to take the navaja from the other hand which is then left unarmed. Such is the speed that is necessary for this way of fighting, which is called cambio, that when two tiradores are set in combat, the eyes of one can scarecly determine in which hand of the other the navaja may be found; and from here he does not risk to attack except with a greater agility, which in similar circumstances is needed for the other manner of tirar which has been refuted above.

Do not think that we disaprove on all occasions of the diestro occupying one hand with the hat; on the contrary it is acceptable in some cases, consider it as a specialized area of the art, an isolated school, nevertheless as worthy of being retained as any other.

When using this way of fighting during combat, we advise the diestro to not remove the hat from the head and to not let it fall to the ground in the various corridas and huidas that are made, with the object of seizing it on opportune occasions and placing it in the unarmed hand, or throwing it at the eyes of the enemy, or for feigning only, as will later be discussed. It is of great utility to the diestro to wear a sash around the waist, to cover a part of his abdomen and sides, so as to resist to some extent at least a few of the desjarretazos and viajes, also to execute various tretas with it, which will be explained in their respective place.

When the diestro is summoned or provoked to fight take care, if wearing a cape, to throw it in a spot where it cannot inconveniently entangle itself on your feet; there is no mode fighting with it placed upon the shoulders, because it impedes you very much in your movements, even if it is often good for helping to keep you from being wounded; be advised to always abandon the cape when fighting.


The cape can be removed with speed and in a manner that will not hinder the legs of the diestro. This way consists in making a small shrug of the shoulders, simultaneously giving a slight shake with the middle part of the arms; and the cape gently spreads out on the ground in the form of a half moon or fan. This method of removing the cape without risk of entrapping the feet of the diestro, has an object of not losing sight of the enemy, as would certainly happen if the head were turned away, as is done by those who would try to throw the cape from their terreno; in which case it is obvious they will be attacked before they can even blink; it should be cautioned that, unfortunately, not all of those who wield the navaja, have generosity and good intentions. We offer this warning because, as indicated in the prolog, it is not passion for the art of tirar a la navaja and a desire to spread its teaching, that moves us to write this Manual; it is only for those who are ignorant of its method of use, to inform them of its precepts for when they are attacked by those who abuse them, in the same manner that any other class of arm may be abused.

We want to dispel all worry, show that it is within the reach all people to understand the ways of the art,

sometimes condemnable and of bad character, which the tiradores themselves use for fighting against those who do not even know how to take the navaja in their hand. With the reading of this Instruction and a little easily aquired practice, any almibarado señorito* can at least defend himself from the brusque attack of a baratero.

*almibarado señorito: "momma's boy"


The tiradores are placed one in front of the other with navajas in hand, and trying to wound their adversary, they commence with moving their hands, or that is their heirros, with the aid of the movements of the feet, which are most essencial for giving the golpes.

There are several classes of golpes that can result from the different positions and ways of striking with the navaja; and they recieve distinct denomination according to the manner and place they are given, although all are placed below the general categories of golpes and puñaladas.

Before we start we will say that the body of the diestro is divided into two parts which are called parte alta and parte baja.

By parte alta we mean all the half of the body from the waist to the top of the head. By parte baja we mean all the half of the body from the waist to the feet.


So that the golpes are altos or bajos according to wether they are given in the parte alta or in the parte baja.

If the puñalá or mojá, as say the jitanos, is thrust into the belly, then this technique is called atracar, and the golpe itself is called viaje; thus it is said among the barateros "vamos á echar un viaje" for "vamos á reñir ó á darnos una puñalada*."

When one of the tiradores presses himself too much upon his adversary, he can be very easily wounded with only a quick extension of the arm and presentation of the point of the navaja most times in the parte alta, whose golpe recieves the name of floretazo, and nothing could be more appropriate for its similarity to the thrust given with the florete under equal

circumstances, as seen in the following figures.

The floretazo is not always given in the parte alta, since there is a technique, which occupies first place among the more secure and lethal, which requires this same golpe in the center of the parte baja;-the method of making it will be discussed at an opportune moment.

The jabeque or chirlo is the golpe given to the face, which imprints in it a seal of ignominy towards the barateros; since in effect, of all the golpes which in a fight the diestro may recieve, there is no other that with more truth manifests weak destreza, and reveals the disregard with which he has treated his opponent.

The act of wounding in the face is itself called enfilar.

The golpe given in the parte alta and behind the side and over the shoulders, is called

desjarretazo; and is one of those which prove the skill of he who strikes it, sometimes opening with a wide wound, the vertebral column, vulgarly known as as espinazo. It is mortal, and is generaly given in the jiros.

By plumada is meant the golpe or puñalada struck from right to left generaly describing a curve.

The golpe struck with the hand turned towards the outside and from left to right is called revés.

The plumada and the revés according to the previous explanation are understood to be struck with the right hand; since if they come from the left hand, the plumada is from left to right, and the revés is from right to left.

*("we are going to strike off on a journey" as a way of saying "we are going to fight or give a stab." viaje=journey puñalada=thrust or stab)



By now you should now have enough understanding of our lessons to know that the art of tirar á la navaja is not founded solely upon the caprice of some prisoners or men of bad living, and that on the contrary, it is subject to rules and principles as exacting as those of fencing and the saber. When we come to speak on some of the tretas that are used in the wielding of the navaja, we will give reason to the more enraged detractors of this arm, in regard to those, by their being in the major part born of inadequate education and the most ignoble sentiments; but until then, and doing without the facts which reprobate those men who themselves have something, being of a class that wants, we will maintain that the art of tirar a la navaja deserves to be considered in the same way as the art of all other arms.

We have already explained the methods of attack, and the various types of golpes more worthy of attention, we go now to give the explination of the quites that are in practice for defence; a very essential part in the wielding of all edged weapons, since without it your destreza is unreliable and of no value regardless of whatever is said relative to the manner of offence.

It is believed by many that the most secure method of tirar a la navaja consists in having the body continualy in motion, implying that the diestro should always be jumping and circling the adversary. And surely nothing has less appearance of truth; the diestro fights with much calm and serenity, and although he can jump great distances and fight with prodigious agility, he is sure and very opportune in his executions on these given occasions, his movements at times not leaving a circle of three feet.

The serenity makes the diestro oportune in his movements, and this is only aquired with much practice; in such way, that accustoms the vision to measuring distance, and awaiting with tranquility and without fear of the golpe which the adversary strikes, when he knows that it will fall short of reaching the body by an inch or even half an inch.

If the golpe enters only a little into the terreno of the diestro, he can defend against it by withdrawing the part of the body that is threatened, and without needing to flee or jump. But if the exact nature of the action of the adversary is unknown to the diestro because of its great velocity, or the glope that has been struck will enter into the center of the terreno, he evades with the huida jumping backwards or to the side, to a distance appropriate to avoid being reached, and if possible, for reaching the attacker; taking great care to not trip over his feet, and resting upon the balls of the feet, with the object of not being taken off guard and being ready to quickly make two, three, four or more such jumps.


This manner of quitar is the most frequent; but there is another that is more risky, although secure, if the timing is correct, and it consists in setting aside with your unarmed hand the armed hand of the adversary when he reaches to strike. In the floretazos this quite may be executed with great success, sometimes being able to seize the wrist of the adversary; for that reason we warned that those golpes must be struck very rapidly and in a disposition to cut the hand or arm that goes to quitar, using in effect one quarter a plumada.

Fighting with the hat in unarmed hand, quites may be made with it, with the intention to disarm by giving a strong shock to the hand of the attacker.

Also be made with frequency is one way of quite, which is the most risky of all, and is of the following method. When the armed hand of the enemy approaches the terreno of the diestro for the parte baja, this may be defended against by striking out with a strong kick to the fingers that hold the navaja, which causes the adversary to release his grip leaving him unarmed. We have already said that it is risky, and so is the truth; since if the diestro fails to strike the target with his foot, surely he will be wounded by his opponent in a most terrible manner, from which only one thing may save him, throwing himself to the ground and at the same time giving a kick to the lower belly of his adversary.


When the rules already given are insufficient for the diestro to defend against his adversary, or to attack him, he has a need to appeal to the recursos; so called because they often give a solution to that which destreza could not.

The art of wielding the navaja has established some of which we will explain very briefly, as their greater part belongs to that which is known by the name of tretas in the second part of this Instruction.

It is good to know that there are recursos or suplementary rules that reach beyond where the others stop; here is where each diestro puts in practice those which he is better adapted to, or those which he himself has invented.

We will give some examples of recursos.

Belonging to the same class as recursos are the engaños or finjimientos, of which we will now speak.

The concealing of his two hands behind the diestro's back, so that the adversary doesn't see in which of them is the navaja, is a very successful recurso, especialy if before drawing out the armed hand he feints with the other. In order to accomplish this it is enough to lean the body a little toward the side of engaño and move the elbow of the arm which is feinting in the same direction; since the opponent believes the attack is coming from that side, and it is very natural to try to avoid it, by throwing the body to the other side in which he will inevitably recieve the golpe.


Dropping himself to the ground with the naturalness appropriate to someone who has slipped, in a manner that the opponent

doesn't suspect that it is an engaño, is a recurso, that well executed can assure the end which the diestro desires; because believing that he has fallen involuntarily, can of good faith strike out at him, who then rises with great speed upon one of the knees and recieves him with the point of his navaja wounding in the lower belly, as represented by the preceding figures. It is a way which requires much agility in the diestro; in such a way, that we have seen it done that the diestro lets the navaja drop from his grip at the same time he falls to the ground, to better decieve his adversary, and in the act of getting himself up recovers it from the ground. The caida is customarily made from the back; and the method of rising is to brace one foot and the unarmed hand firmly on the ground, and with the rest of the body, give a violent push, situating yourself in the position described.





You have already seen in our lessons in the first part of this Instruction; and to the extent that is reasonable for a short Manual like the present, the principle methods of offence and defence that have a place in the practice of the navaja; and we say the principle methods, because it is assured that there are as many as there are tiradores or barateros, and it is meticulous and dificult work to give a complete explination of each one.

Know, then, that the golpes and the quites, are essential to our purposes, we will proceed here to explain the mode of putting them into practice, once the combatants are to fight face to face; that is to say we instruct on how the diestro has to act according to the different guardia in which he finds himself, and what can be derived from aquired knowledge.

It is remarkable how much the quickness of the eyes aid in all kinds of suertes, when in guardia the diestro can approach his adversary until entering into his terreno, at considerable risk of being wounded, whenever he intends not to allow him to move the weapon arm; then when the slightest movement is made wound him in that same arm, obliging his adversary in this manner to stand without attacking. This suerte is very dangerous, because the two combatants share only one terreno where both may wound eachother without any movement of the feet, by only reaching out with the arm of the navaja.

The diestro can set up in guardia using either of the suertes, but with the express condition of not forgetting for an instant the position in which he is, or knowing the points of his body placed within reach of the weapon arm of the adversary.

We have sometimes seen the diestro lie down on the ground, using this suerte as his guardia, and it is in truth one of the most secure and with the least probability of being atracado, without the enemy putting himself in imminent risk of being wounded. The only easy way of attacking one who assumes this guardia is to recieve his golpes with a hat in the hand.


Whenever the diestro attacks his adversary he must attack the parte alta or parte baja, as we have discussed in its place; and from here it follows, that when striking a golpe he risks to recieve a blow in the parte opposite of that which he attacks; that is to say, if he strikes the parte alta he leaves his own parte baja uncovered, and if he strikes at the parte baja he leaves his parte alta uncovered.

It can be accepted as a general rule that the opportune moment in which the diestro should strike at his adversary is that in which, after having struck his golpe, the opponent withdraws the weapon arm that couldn't hallar carne*, to use an expression of the barateros. It requires much confidence, cautiously awaiting this moment so that it may be taken advantage of without delay; and if the objective is not obtained, it is necessary to withdraw your weapon arm quickly and as low as possible so as not to be attacked in turn at the instant of recovering. *hallar carne: litteraly, "find meat", i.e. an attack stiking home


Let us now go to explain the puñaladas that have a place in the various suertes that are

executed in the mingling of the terrenos. It likely appears strange to many of our students that we haven't spoken of these, at the time we treated on the diverse types of golpes that we have explained in the first part of this Instruction; but to them we will say, that we prefer to explain in this second part the golpes de frente and costado seperately from all the rest, because after having spoke in the previous lesson on the guardias, we believe we should do it in this and the following lessons, of the golpes that you strike with the movements that you already know. By golpes de frente we mean those that the combatants strike face to face and without looking for the sides or using the tretas. The diestro placed in guardia, he approaches his adversary until their terrenos overlap, and then quickly raising the weapon arm he strikes a plumada which wounds his adversary if he doesn't huye or quite; doing this by reaching out at the same time as the weapon arm and giving a floretazo.



Golpes de costado are those which the combatants strike when seeking the sides or ribs, and are given in the jiros, contrajiros and many times in the corridas.


The corrida is one of the most common suertes among the tiradores; and we can assure beyond any doubt, that it is a great fundamental of this art, because it encompasses all the methods of attacking the adversary, or as said among the barateros, buscarle el bulto*, and defending or huir the body. In it all classes of golpes are struck, or better said, it is the complete art.

The corrida is no other thing than the description of a semicircle made by each of the

combatants in the course of the fight; but trying always to maintain the original distance until reaching the moment of attack, in which case it is necessary to enter into the terreno contrario and wound the enemy with whichever of the known golpes.

The corrida is executed by progressing towards either one of the sides and without changing the first position of the guardia, sometimes towards the left and others towards the right; since one of the tiradores will always attack the other, the attacked should jiro or huye with a corrida towards the opposite side, or he exits from the terreno by leaping back. These two semicircles which are formed by the combatants, one infront of the other, come together to describe an entire circle, more or less perfect, and of one visual variety.

However great the agility the diestro has in his feet, he will be that much better at executing the corrida, because as we have already said, this art consists more in the agility and cold blood of the diestro than in any other thing; because although the technique is very essential, it is of no service without the assistance of these two qualities.

*"buscarle el bulto": "seek the body"


When the adversary incautiously throws his point upon the diestro, the molinete should be used, which consists in lifting one of the feet from the ground, and upon the other spinning all the body around with much velocity, and parrying quickly, reaches out with the weapon arm for giving the attacker a floretazo.

Keep in mind this is a very dangerous suerte, and the most opportune occasion for its execution is when the adversary strikes a low golpe, it shouldn't be made when the golpe is high; because as already said the floretazo is struck almost always in the parte alta, and for this reason it is necessary that the golpe of the enemy promises to be for the parte baja.


If the diestro finds it very cerrado* on his parte alta, that is to say, if he is attacked by an enemy well within the terreno propio, he should recieve it by dropping the body till one knee rests on the ground and presenting the navaja to the lower abdomen. See the figure in lesson eleven, part one. We should advise that in the molinete at the same time the adversary strikes the high floretazos his weapon arm can be seized, by the unarmed arm of the adversary, who turning the wrist over and returning it with strength towards the throat can wound his enemy with his own navaja.

*"cerrado": closed in


Among many tiradores, and most common among sailors, is the custom of throwing the navaja at the body of the adversary, which is fastened to the waist by a long cord or wire.* The great accuracy with which we have seen the navaja be thrown appears amazing to some of our students, leaving it nailed in the chest or belly, and precisely on the point that the diestro has chosen with his eye; but nothing is perfectly certain, and so such astonishing skill can only be compared between those who throw it and those who the navaja is directed at, in many cases missing its target, till the cord that holds it is seized and cut.

We equaly amdire such great agility and destreza, but we advise the tiradores to never use this suerte because of the inherent uncertainty and danger; in spite of there being men who can execute it with certainty, this should only be attributed to the continual practice they have had since childhood.

*the navaja, not the body of the adversary....



Because we have already seen that the agility and quickness of the eye is that which contributes most to the good handling of the navaja, we will explain the method which the tiradores value for obliging the adversary to flinch or close his eyes. After the diestro has feinted or struck some golpes, and wants to distract the vision of the adversary for the purpose attacking; at the same moment that you intend to, pass the unarmed hand in front of the eyes or towards them, or take the hat which is worn on the head and pass it one or more times in the same manner, at this instant launch your attack upon him towards the parte baja to wound him in the belly.




The recorte is no more than a jiro, with the difference that upon execution the diestro gives the back to the adversary, while the jiro requires that the front is always given.



The suerte de la culebra consists in the diestro throwing his chest to the ground, and

supporting himself on the unarmed hand enters the terreno of his adversary to wound him in the lower abdomen with a floretazo or plumada.


All golpe may be verdadero or finijido.

It is called verdadero, when the intention of he who strikes it, is to wound his adversary. It is finijido, when the diestro's only intention is to decieve his enemy.

Therefore, in the puñaladas de frente, feint to the parte baja, so you can successfuly wound your opponent in the parte alta, and vice versa; since the diestro threatens high in a natural way with his navaja, if the adverversary does not recognize the engaño, he will uncover his low line where the golpe verdadero will actualy go; and to threaten the low line go there with the armed hand, then strike the golpe on the high line, generaly with an enfilar.

It can be established as a general rule, that all golpe verdadero can be converted into finjido or be engaño, and all golpe finjido may be converted to golpe verdadero.

Equaly, jiros and contrajiros may be feinted, so the diestro, for example, feints one to either side, with which, he decieves his adversary who makes the corresponding contrajiro, in this manner uncovering the side where the golpe verdadero will be struck.



We have arrived at the point in which with reason we will set ourselves apart from those who abhor the wielding of the navaja. Surely if we do not pay attention to other things than what results from the use of some tretas which certain tiradores put into practice, we should condemn their practice as immoral and ultimately ignoble; but our students have already seen the fundamental rules that we have given in the course of our lessons, and understand that not everything in the arte de tirar á la navaja is vile and evil, and that on the contrary it should be considered subject to general principles like those of any other weapon. We do not desire to, through the relation of the various tretas dishonorable and cowardly men value highly, form a mindset equivalent to the tiradores of the navaja, when the abuse of them seperates those who do so from the art; those who work with the navaja study it in the same manner as a foil or a

saber. Therefore we abstain from pointing out how repugnant this appears to our eyes, and the distance it is from the object that we propose to write this Manual; but at the same time it is not possible to go without speaking on some that we believe are adaptable in extreme cases, or which are convenient to prevent being attacked without cause.

We have said in the first part, that some tretas may be executed with the sash that the diestro should wear around the waist, and this is true. In the various corridas that the diestro makes in a fight, when the diestro wants to perform a treta with his sash, he has no more to do than loosen the end of it and let it drag on the ground, in a manner that his adversary easily steps on it, in which case quickly pull on it making him fall to the ground or slip dangerously. Another treta may be executed with the sash, and it is; place in the end of it coins, rocks, or whichever thing that has sufficient weight, thrown violently by the diestro at the legs of his adversary, who will find them entangled and unable to move, will be in a position to be wounded.

The hat can be thrown at the face of the enemy, and it is a very effective treta.

Sometimes the diestro takes a handful of dirt, if there is any where the fight takes place, and throws it at the eyes of the adversary, and moves to atracar without delay.

The diestro can also step on one of enemy's feet, and it is a good treta if it isn't avoided. The diestro can also give his enemy a strong kick in the stomach, or trip him with his legs, making him fall on the ground.

The diestro can turn his vision away from his adversary, and look behind him, who will believe that the diestro is looking at something behind his back, turn his head, and at that moment is atracado.


"Tente, que vas á tropezar"* says the diestro to his enemy, with the object of making him look at the ground, and in the act be wounded.

Finaly, there are so many tretas employed by the tiradores, that it requires much time to explain all of them; and so we content ourselves with having given the most common and general.


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