Showeth of seven principal rules whereon true defence is grounded.
|1. A good Guard
2. True observing of distance.
3. To know the place.
4. To take time.
|5. To keepe space.
7. Often practice.
The first is to learne a good and a sure guard for the defence of thy body, as when you come to the use of weapons, as hear presently after shall follow, and when thou hast thy guard it is not enough to know it, but to keep it so long as thou art within reach or danger of thy enemie.
To observe distance, by which is meant that thou shouldest stand so far off from thine enemy, as thou canst, but reach him when thou dost step forth with thy blow or thrust, and thy foremost foote and hand must goe together, and which distance may be twelve foot with a rapier, or with a sword four foote ling, and yet thy best foote which should be the hindermost foot of a right handed ma, should bee mored fast and keepe his standing without moving an inch, for then he will be the readier to draw backe thy fore foot and body into the right place of distance againe for thou must doe upon every charge, whether thou hit thy enemy or not; whereas if in stepping forth with thy fore-foot, when thou dost charge thy enemy either with bow or thrust, thou suffer thy hinder foot to dregge in after the other, then thou breaketh thy distance, and thereby endangereth thy body.
There is no way better to get the true observation of distance, but by often practice either with thy friend, or else privately in a chamber against a wall, standing twelve foot off with thy hindermost foote, and thy weapon four foote long or there about, for a good guard and distance are the maine and principal points of all.
To know the place, this may be taken in three wayes, as this, the place of thy weapons, the place of defence and place of offence: the place for the holding of thy weapons, thou shalt know when thou commest to it as I said before, but it is chiefly meant here the place offence; thou must marke which is the nearest part of thine enemie towards thee, and which lieth most unregarded, whether it be his dagger hand, his knee, or his leg, or where thous maist best hurt him at a large distance without danger to thy selfe, or without killing of thine enemy.
To take time, that is to say when opportunity is proffered thee, wither by his lying unregarded or upon thy enemies proffer, then make a quicke answer, I meane it must be done upon the very motion of his proffer, thou must defend and seeke to offend all at once, for thou must not suffer thy enemy to recover his guard, for if thou doe thou looseth thy advantage. But thou must answer him more quicker than I can speake it, for if thou loose thy answer, and charge thy enemy when he is guarded, thou giveth thy enemy that advantage which thou mightest have had thy selfe, for he which maketh the first assault doth endanger himselfe most, if he be not very expert and cunning in his businesse, otherwise a man of reasonable skill may hurt him by making a quicke answer.
To keepe space this may be conceived two wayes; the one in the space between thy enemie & thy selfe, this I call distance, and I have already spoken of it; but the space which in this place I will speake of, is to advise thee to keepe a certaine space betwixt every assault, I meane if thou charge thy enemy thy enemy either with blow or thrust, recover thy weapons into their place, and draw thy selfe into thy guard againe, and so preparing thy selfe for to defend, and likewise to make a fresh assault with discretion, but not chargeth thy enemy rashly or furiously, for hastinesse is foolishness: for if fury have the upper hand, and so you both strike and thrust, without reason and judgement, I say in such a case the skillfulest man that is, may be so well hit as he hit another.
The next is patience, and that is one of the greatest virtues that can be in a man: the Wise man saith, he is a foole which cannot governe himselfe; therefore though thou be hastie or cholericke by nature, and by crossing thou art moved unto anger; yet I say, let the bridle of Reason and Judgement so governe and over-rule thy hastie affections, that in no case Anger get the upper hand; But of this there is more at large spoken in the eight chapter. Now the last thing that I will note here, is often practice, for without practice the Proverbe sayes, a man may forget his Pater noster: for practice (with moderation) is, not onlie the healthiest thing in the world for the bodie: but it is likewise as defensive for the same. For skill to everie reasonable man is a friend, so that with moderation it be used, and so long as it remained in those of good temper; for unto such, skill bringeth no more presumption nor furie then as if they had it not: for in the field, those which I meane will use it as if they were in a Schoole, by which meanes such have great advantage of the ignorant and unskillful; for those which are unskillful, are neither certaine of their defence or offence; but what they doe is upon a kinde of foolish bolde hardinesse, or as I may say by hap-hazard or chance noddy: and therefore (gentle Reader) resolve upon skill and knowledge which follows here immediately.
The true guard for the defence, either of blowe,
or thrust, with Rapier and Dagger,
or Sword and Dagger.
Keepe thy rapier hand so low as the pocket of thy hose at the armes end, without bowing the elbow joint, and keepe the hilt of thy dagger right with thy left cheeke, and the point something stooping towards the right shoulder, and beare him out stiff at the armes end, without bowing thine elbow joint likewise, and the point of thy Rapier two inches within the point of thy dagger, neither higher, not lower; but if the point of thy rapier be two or three inches short of touching thy dagger, it is not matter, but if they join it is good; likewise, keepe both your points so high as you may see your enemie clearly with both your eyes, betwixt your rapier and dagger, and bowing your head something toward the right shoulder, and your body bowing forwards, and both thy shoulders, the one so near thine enemie as the other, and the thombe of thy rapier hand, not upon thy rapier, according unto the usual fashion of the vulgar sort, but upon the naile of thy fore-finger, which will locke thine hand the stronger about the handle of thy rapier, and the heele of thy right foote should ioyne close to the middle ioynt of the great toe of thy left foote, according to this Picture, yet regard chiefly the words rather than the Picture.
Carrie the edge of thy rapier upward, and downward, for then thou shalt defend a blow upon the edge of thy rapier, by bearing thy rapier after the rule of the Backe-sword, for this is the strongest and surest carriage of him.
But now it is but a vaine thing to goe about to practice after my direction, except thou understand my meaning, and follow my counsel, as by works so plaine as I can, I have set downe, both before and after: for if thou observe one thing, and not an other, it will profit thee but little, and thus: if thou place thy weapons in order; and then it will be to small purpose to proceed in thy practice: againe, if thou frame thy bodie right, and thy weapons, and thy hand, and thy foote; yet if thou do not observe a true distance withall, then thy practice will be little available to thee: wherefore at the first beginning of thy practice, take a good advisement, and be perfect by often reading of this Booke, so to beginne well; for if thou hast beene used to set thy feete abroad in thy former practice, as most men doe, then it will be hard for thee to leave thy old wont.
Now, if thou wilt breake thy selfe of that fashion and practice after my rules, then will I shew thee by and by; for when thou hast my fashion, thou mayest goe to thine owne againe when thou wilt, if in trial thou finde it better.
The best way to bring thy feete to a sure standing, both for defence and offence, is when thou dost practice with thy friend or companion; at first get thy backe to the wall, and let him that playeth with thee stand about twelve foote distance, and set thy left heele close to the wall, and thy right foote heele to the great ioynt of the left foote great toe, and when thou intendest to offend thy enemy, either with blow or thrust, then steppe forth with thy right foote, and hand together, but keepe thy left foote fast moored like an anchor, to plucke home thy body and thy right foote into his place and distance againe; use this fashion but three of foure times, and it will bring thee to a true standing with thy foote, and it will be as easie to thee as any other way; whereas if thou practice in a large roome without any stoppe to set thy foot against, then will thy foote be alwaies creeping away, so that although thou wouldest refraine the setting abroad of thy feet, yet thou canst not, especially if thou hast bee used to set them abroad heretofore.
Now your bodie and weapons being thus placed as aforesaid, if your enemie strike a blow at you, either with sword or rapier, beare your rapier against the blow, so well as your dagger according to the rule of the Backe-sword, for in taking the blow double you shall the more surely defend your head, if the blowe doe chance to light neare the point of your dagger, for if you trust to your dagger onlie, the blow may hap to glance over the point of your dagger, and endanger your head, and having defended the blow double (as aforesaid) presently turne downe the point of your rapier towards your enemies bodie, as you lift your selfe; and with your thrust steppe forth also with your foote and hand together, and so making a quicke answer, you may endanger your enemie in what place you will your selfe, before hee recover his guard and distance againe, and alwaies set your rapier foot right before the other, and so neare the one to the other as thou can; and if thou be right handed then thy right foote must bee formost, if left handed, then thy left foote, and standing thus in thy guard, looke for thy advantage, I meane where thine enemie lieth most unguarded; but first thou must be perfect in the knowledge of true and perfect guard thy selfe, so shalt thou know the better where thine enemie lieth open, the thou must steppe forth with thy fore foot, and hand together, to offend thine enemie in such a place as thou findest unguarded; but so soone as thou hast presented thy thrust, whether thou hit or misse, fall backe againe to recover thy guard and distance so soone as thou canst, but stand alwaies fast on thine hindermost foote, I meane whether thou strike or thrust, and then shalt thou recover thy guard; and having recovered thy weapons in their right place, then thou must also travers thy ground so leisureably, that thou mayest be sure to have one foote firme on good ground before thou pluckest up the other; for else, going fast about, thou maiest quickly be downe if the ground be not even. Also have a speciall care that thou be not too busie in making of play, though choller or stomache provoke thee thereunto. Furthermore, in standing in thy guard, thou must keepe thy thighes close together, and the knee of thy fore legge bowing backward rather than foreward; for the more that thou holloweth thy bodie, the better, and with lesse danger shalt thou breake thine enemies thrust, before it cometh neare to endanger thy bodie; and when thou breakest a thrust, thou must but let fall the point of thy dagger, but not thy dagger arme, for some will throw their dagger arme backe behinde them when they breake a thrust; he that so doth cannot defend a second thrust if his enemy should charge againe suddenly.
The reasons of this guard.
First, the points of your weapons being closed, your enemy cannot offend you with a wrist blow, which otherwise may be strucke to your face betwixt your points: likewise, there is falling thrust that may hit any man which lies open with his points by following it into his face or breast, and thrusting it home withall: also, if you carrie your rapier point under your dagger, your owne rapier may hinder you, for by turning downe of your rapier point, to defend the bodie from your enemies point, according unto the first of the foure defensible waies, as hereafter followeth: then your owne dagger may hit your owne rapier, and so your rapier will be as it were a stumbling blocke, so that you cannot discharge your enemies thrust cleane from your bodie; and also by striking your dagger upon your rapier wilbe a hindrance unto you, that you cannot make a quicke answer, by chopping out your point presently upon your defence: for if you have anie hindrance at all, then you chiefe time of offence is spent, for before you can recover your rapier, your enemie will have recovered his guard, and he being in his guard your proffer of offence is in vaine: for if you will hit your enemie, your offence and defence must be done all with one motion, whereas if you continue a space betwixt your defence and your offence, then is your best time of offence spent, for when your enemie chargeth you, either with blow or thrust, at that verie instant time, his face, his rapier, arme, shoulder, knee, and legge are all discovered, and lie open, except the oppressor be verie cunning in recovering his guard hastily againe, or he may defend himselfe with his dagger, if he beare him stiffly out at the armes end, for in your offence the dagger hand should be bourne out so farre as the rapier hand goeth, which must be done by practice and great carefulnesse; for many when they doe make their assault, they will put out their rapier, and plucke in their dagger, thereby endangering themselves greatly: for except that the dagger arme be kept straight, and borne out stiffe, it is hard to defend either blow or thrust.
A thrust may be defended foure waies.
The first is with the dagger, onlie by turning of the point downe, and turning thy hand-wrist about withall, without bowing the elbow ioynt of thy dagger arme, but onlie turning thy dagger round, making as it were a round circle, and so presently bring up the point of thy dagger in his place againe.
Now the second defence is with the dagger likewise, but then you must beare the hilt of your dagger so lowe as your girdle-steed, and the point more upright than is described in the first picture, and your defence of a thrust, you must beare your dagger hand stille over your bodie, without letting fall the point but still keeping him upright.
The third waie to breake a thrust, is, with the single rapier; this defence will defend all thy bodie from a thrust against a rapier and dagger; and likewise it is a sure defence for thine hand, if thou have not a closed hilted dagger, when thy enemie doth proffer a thrust, plucke in thy dagger hand, and put out thy rapier arme, and beare him over thy bodie. the point blowing towards thy left side, breaking the thrust with the edge of they rapier, keeping thy point upright: but when I come to the single rapier, then you shall see it more at large.
The fourth way is to defend a thrust with both your weapons together, and that you may doe three manner of waies, either with the points of both your weapons upwards, or both downward, upward you may frame your selfe into two guards, the first is according to as I have described before, the points being close together according to the picture, so carrie them both away together against your enemies thrust breaking towards your left side; the other high guard is to put your rapier on the out-side of your dagger, and with your dagger make a crosse, as it were, by ioyning him in the middest of your rapier, so high as your breast, and your dagger hilt in his usual place, and to defend the thrust, turne down the point of your rapier suddenly, and force him downe with your dagger, by letting them fall both together: this way you may defend a thrust before it come within three foot of your bodie; and this way defendeth the thrust of a staffe, having onlie a rapier and dagger, as you shall heare more when I come to the staffe: for it is good to be provided with the best way, if suddenly occasion be offered: and so for the blow of a staffe, you may verie easily defend with a Rapier and Dagger, by bearing him double; so having defended the blow, goe in hastily upon him, for there is no standing out long against a staffe, and so likewise upon defence of a thrust you must be verie nimble in your going in within the point of his staffe, I meane as soone as your enemies thrust is passed under your Rapier arme, for that way the thrust of the staffe should goe.
Three manner of waies for the holding of a Rapier.
These are three waies for the holding of a Rapier, the one with the thumb forward or upon the Rapier blade, and that I call the naturall fashion, there is another way, and that is with the whole hand within the pummell of thy Rapier, and the thumbe locking in of the fore-finger, or else they must both ioyne at the least: this is a good holding at single Rapier.
Then the third is but to have onlie the fore-finger and thy thumbe within the pummell of thy Rapier, and thy other three fingers about thy pummell, and beare the button of thy pommel against the in-side of thy little finger; this is called the Stokata fashion, and these two last are the surest and strongest waies: after a little practice, thou maiest use all three in thy practice, and then repose thy selfe upon that which thou findest best, but at some times, and for some purpose all these kinds of holding thy Rapier may stead thee, for a man may performe some manner of slips and thrusts, with one of these three sortes of holding thy weapon; and thou canst not doe the same with neither of the other; as thus, thou maiest put in a thrust with more celeritie, holding him by the pommel, and reach further than thou canst doe, if thou holde him on either of the other tow fashions.
Againe, thou maiest turne in a slippe, or an overhand thrust, if thou put thy thumbe upon thy Rapier according as I have set it down, calling it the naturall fashion, and is the first of three waies for holding of thy Rapier; and this fashion will bee a great strength to thee, to give a wrist blowe, the which blow a man may strike with his Rapier, because it is of small force, and consumes little time, and neither of the other two fashions of holding will not perform neither of those three things; for if thou holde thy rapier either of the second waies, thou canst not turne in a slippe, nor an over-hand thrust, nor give a wrist blow so speedily, nor so strong: wherefore it is god to make a change of the holding of thy weapon for thine own benefit, as thou shalt see occasion: and likewise to make a change of thy guard, according as thou seest thy best advantage; I meane if thou be hardly matched, then betake thee unto thy surest guard, but if thou be matched with an unskillful man then with skill thou maiest defend thyself, although thou lie at randome.
The reason that your points should be so high as you may see your enemie plainly and clearly under them, is for a sure defence of a blowe, if your enemie should charge you therewith to either side he head, then beare them both double together, and having defended the blowe, presently turne downe the point of your Rapier towards your enemies thigh, and with a turning your knuckles inward, steppe forth with foote and hande together, whether you hitte or misse, retreat nimbly into your guard and distance againe.
And although I doe advise you to keepe the point of your Rapier so high, yet withall I doe warne you, that you maie have a speciall care to fall your point, and withall thrust him out, whether it bee upon choller, or upon stomake, or upon a kinde of foolish bold hardinesse, or if he make a passage upon you, or if hee doe breake distance by anie of those waies, although hee doe it never so actively, yet may you defend your selfe with your Dagger and either offend your enemie with a suddaine falling of the point, and with the same motion chop in with a thrust to that part which liest most discovered as you may quickly perceive when you see his lying.
The cunningest man that is, and if hee meete with one skillful, with whom is hee is to encounter withall, cannot before hand say in such place I will sure hit thee; no more, than a gamester when he goeth to play can say before he beginne, that he will sure win, for if he doe, he may be proved a lier if his cunning were never so food.
So that before hand you cannot determine where to hit your enemy, but when you see your enemies guard, then it is easie to judge when it is open, if thou knowest a close guard thyselfe, for hee which cannot write himselfe, can give but small judgement whether another write well or ill, and if thine enemie doe incroach within thy distance, then be doing with him betimes in the verie instant of his motion whether it be motion of his body, or the motion of his weapon, or in the motion of both together; put out thy point, but not too farre, but as thou maiest have thy rapier under command for thy owne defence, and also to provide him ready againe to make a full thrust home, in the instant of thy enemies assault, thou maiest endanger thy selfe if thy enemie doe falsifie his thrust, and therefore make your thrust short at the first, or if your enemie doe beare his points anie thing abroad, then you may fall in betwixt them, either to his face or breast, or if his fore foote stand two foote distant or lesse from the other if hee stand not close, then you may hurt him in the knee or legge, either with thrust or blow as hee standeth in his guard without anie danger to your selfe, and that is no killing place.
Likewise it is said before looke under both your weapons, if with on eye you looke over either of weapons, you will be hit one the same side, either face, head, or shoulder, either with thrust or blow before you can put up either of your weapons in his place to defend it, and his know and remember it well, it is the nature of an Englishman to strike with what weapon soever he fighteth with all, and not one in twenty but in furie And anger will strike unto no other place but onely to the head, therefore alwaies if you fight with rapier and dagger, yet expect a blow so well as a thrust, and alwaies defend the blow double as aforesaid, but if your rapier point be downe under your dagger, you cannot put him up time enough to defend a blow, but must take it single on the dagger, or on the pate, for if your skill were never so good trusting to the dagger onlie you may bee deceived by reason of the sharpnesse of your dagger, if the blow light neere the point it may glance over, and so hit you on the head, and also by reason of the shortnesse of your dagger which are now most commonly worne of all men, for I have knowne men of good skill deceived by trusting to the point, or dagger onely for the defence of a blow, the dagger is not sure to defend it.
But when you make anie plaie to your enemie whether it be offer, or answer, stop, right as a line forwards from your left foote, for if you stop halfe a foote wide with the forefoote of the straight arme as it were by rule, then you loose halfe a foote of your space betwixt you and your enemie, and if you step likewise a foote wide, then you loose likewise a foote of advantage. For your instruction herein, when you practice in a chamber, looke what board you stand upon, you should in delivering either of blow or thrust, alwaies steps foorth with your right foote upon the same board which the left foote standeth on, for looke how much your left your fore foote wide of the straight line towards your enemie, you loose so much in your reach forward, as in your practice you maie see the triall and used often in practice in some Chambers with your friend untill you are perfect, and in your practice, keepe your left foote fast moared, that as an Anchor pulleth home the ship, so the left foote must pluck home the right foote and bodie into the right place of distance againe, or as the helme guideth the ship, even so the left foote must guide the bodie, alwaies bearing thy full belly towards thy enemie, I meane the one shoulder so neere as he other, for if thou wreathe thy bodie in turning one side neare to thy enemie then the other, thou dost not stand in thy strength, nor so readie to performe an answer, as when thy whole bodie lieth towards thy enemie.
[Left margin note: For looke how much you step wide you loose so much ground forwards.]
The manners of a passage.
A Passage is to bee made advisedlie with a nimble activitie and celerity of the bodie, for hee which will go in with a passage & escape, or clear away withall, the which is very hardly to bee done if thy enemie be skillfull. and therefore in the performance thereof, thou must have great skill, much practice and good judgment, especially in observing the point of thy enemies weapon, and like wise thou must consume one iote of time in thy performance, for so soone as thou seest thy enemie beare his point steadie in anie guard, whether it bee high or low, as if hee doe beare his point aloft, then step in with thy left foote with a sudden iumpe, and clap thy Dagger under his Rapier crosse-waies, and so bearing up his point over thy head, and at the verie same instant that thou ioynest with his Rapier, then chop in with thy Rapier point withall to offend him, but thou must consume no time in staying anie space betwixt thy Defence and Offence, for thou must not make two times of that which may be done at one time, and againe, it is thy greater advantage to doe it quickly, if thy enemie doe lie in a steadie guard, but if hee keepe the point of his Rapier variable, then it is not to bee done but with the greatest danger of all.
The second opportunity to passe upon your enemie you have, if your enemie to carrie the point so low as your girdle stead, or thereabouts, then you must step in with your left foote, and with your dagger strike awaie the point of his Rapier, and with the same let your Rapier passe unto his bodie, as beforesaid, I meane both at one time.
The third advantage is if your enemie doe laie the point of his Rapier neere, or upon the ground, then step in with thy hindermost foote and crosse your Dagger overthwart his Rapier, keeping his Rapier downe, so that hee cannot raise his point before that you have hit him, and are recovered to your distance againe.
The fourth waie is you being both in your guard according to the first picture, or anie other guard according to your practice, and then faine a thrust downe to his knee, but presentlie raise your point againe with a iumpe foure foote side-waies towards the left side of your enemie, and mount up your Rapier hand withall, and put in your thrust over your enemies Dagger, into his Dagger shoulder, and so with all possible speede recover your guard and distance againe, by springing or iumping towards the left hand of your enemie, and so you fall away from the danger of his point: but in falling backe againe, your Dagger must be prepared to defend a second, or parting thrust, if your enemy should charge you therwithall immediately.
Yet there is another kinde of passage,and that is an answer upon your enemies proffer, if your enemie do offer a thrust at you, defend it with turning downward the point of your Dagger, and at the very same instant slippe in with your left foote, and put in your thrust into his bodie, for by stepping in with the left foote it goeth in strongly, that it is hardly to bee prevented.
Some that are ignorant will say that it is not proffible to defend a passage, but I say there is no devise to hit a man neither with thrust nor blow, but there is a true defence to be shewne by one that is skillful. but yet not every one that professeth himselfe to be a Fencer cannot teach true defence, but it must be such as have beene grounded in the true art of Defence by great practice, such a one it must be to teach defence.
The danger of a passage is to be prevented
The first is by an active and nimble shift of the body by falling back with the right foote, & the danger being past to change hastily upon your enemy again, but the best way is in lying in your guard according to the first picture, as your enemie commeth in with his passe suddenly upon the first motion, fall your point, and in the very same time put him out withall, and with your Dagger onely defend his passage, if it be charged at your body, by turning your point downeward, but if hee put it into your Dagger shoulder in manner of an Imbrokata, then you must not let fall your Dagger, except you leave your Rapier to be a watchman for the defence of your shoulder or with bearing them both together it may be defence.
Another defence of a passage
The single Rapier alone, being carried according unto the rule of the single Rapier, as hereafter shall be described when I come to that weapon, now if your enemie doe take the point of your Rapier, the which hee may very well doe by reason of the carriage of him, if you bee not carefull to fall your point when you see him comming in, well if he doe make seisure of your point, yet hee cannot stay your Rapier hand, but that you shall have two foote of your Rapier and the hilts at your command for the defence of your bodie, which by swerving or beating him over your bodie, towards your left side, and a little turning your bodie by falling backe with your formost foote, this is a good defence for a passage: but indeed a man must have practice, and hee as wee call them a good scholler , that is such as bee skilfull; for a passage commeth with such celerity, that one which is not used to it, cannot discern the coming of it, for there is no thrust so swift, nor so dangerous as the passage, but yet there is no thrust, no blow nor passage, but by skill and cunning it is to be defended and avoided, for a man shall discerne the coming of passage so plain as a Hawke, when shee intendeth to flie at Check, fitting upon the Pearch a man verie easily perceive by the setling of her selfe to flie, indeed it is dangerous and deadly, except you minde bee upon your businesse, for when you are at your play, you must expect a passage and false play as well as true play, or plaine thrusts, for the hurt of the passage is most dangerous of all and most mortall, for with a passage a man cannot day I say I wil hurt my enemie but a little, as you may with any other thrust, being put in at the length, I meane observing a true distance, for hee that otherwise breaketh distance may be assoone hit himselfe, as hee hit another; therefore the passage is seldome or never used in fight, although they both be never so skilfull in putting, or if one can passe, and the other cannot, but hee that can passe will be doubtful left, the other will entrap him in his owne assault, for why may not thy enemy bee as skilfull as thy selfe, once if he meete thee in the field, he sheweth himself valorous therein, and if it be thy fortune to hurt him by want of skill in a manner amongst men, hee is reported to be as good a man as thy selfe, in regard he adventured himselfe with that small skill hee had, and then in respect of an honest minde, oughtest to show him some favor, if he be not too forward, whereby hee is like to endanger thee, but yet rather hurt, then be hurt, and rather kill, then be killed, if there be no remedie.
False play at Rapier and Dagger.
You must proffer, or faine a thrust a foote above your enemie head, but presently plucke backe your hand againe, and put home your thrust which you meane to hurt your enemie withall under his Dagger arme, either unto his body or thigh, as you will your selfe, but step not forth with your foote when you faine a thrust, but with the second thrust which you meane to speed your enemie withall, let then your foote and hand goe together, for in faining it over his head, it will seeme to him that you meane to hit him in the face, so that sodainely hee will lift up his Dagger, thinking to save his face, but he cannot put him downe so quickly againe but that you may hit him as aforesaid: againe if you proffer or faine a thrust to your enemies knee, I meane moire quicke then I can speake it, thrust it into his Dagger shoulder, or to his face whether you lift, for you shall finde them both unguarded, for when hee putteth downe his Dagger to defend the fained thrust, hee cannot lit him up againe before you have hit him as beforesaid, if his Dagger arme were never so strong, nor never so ready, he must put downe his Dagger and so hee will, or else you may hit him in the breast, for no man can tel whether the fained thrust will come home or not, but hee which doth thrust it, if the defence were never so skilfull, but now the onely way to defend a false thrust, is with the single Rapier, for when that the Dagger falleth to cleare the fained thrust from the body, then the Rapier must save the upper part, I meane the face and shoulder, by bearing him over your bodie as you doe at the single Rapier, and so by that meanes the Rapier will defend all the bodie so low as your knee. By false play a Rapier and Dagger may encounter against a Sword and Buckler, so that Rapier man be provident and carefull of making of his assault, that hee thrust not his Rapier into the others Buckler: but the false play to deceive the Buckler, is by offering a fained thrust at the face of him that hath the Buckler, and then presently put it home to his knee or thigh, as you see occasion; for he will put up his Buckler to save his face, but can not put him downe againe before you have hit him, as aforesaid.
Likewise you may proffer or faine a thrust to the knee of the Buckler man, and put it home to his buckler shoulder, or face, for if hee let fall his Buckler to save below, hee can not put him up time enough to defend the upper parts of his body with his Buckler. but must trust for his defence, to his single Sword: wherefore it behooveth everie man to be skilfull in the Backe-sword. The best way to make a false thrust, is to strike it downe by the out-side of your enemies Rapier hand, but not to thrust it home, and so presently bring up the point of your Rapier, and thrust it home to his left shoulder; for if you thrust the fained thrust within the compasse of his Dagger, then it may be he will hit the point of your Rapier, in offering to breake the fained thrust; and if he doe but touch your Rapier in your first proffer, then you cannot recover your point to put home your second thrust, before hee hath recovered his guard, and so will prevent you: therefore, if you doe make a false thrust, present it without the circle or compasse of his Dagger, that in his defence he may misse the hitting of your point, then hath hee but the single Rapier to defend your second thrust, and he must make his preparation first before hand with his Rapier, if such an occasion be offered, otherwise it cannot be defended.
Now there be divers other guards to be used at the Rapier and Dagger, but most of them will aske a great deale more practice, to be perfect in, then this first guard, and yet not anie one of them more severe for defence both of blow and thrust then this first guarde is, and therefore, I doe account it the master guard of all other, yet in a Schoole, to make change of your play, the the more guard the more commendable, so they be performed with discretion and judgement: therefore I have described those which I thinke necessary, although not so at large, as hereafter you shall have them in a seconde booke, for at some times, and for some purposes, one guard may better serve then another: for change of guards may crosse come mens play, whereas if you use but one guard, may in often play be worne threed-bare, therefore learne as many fashions of lying with thy weapons as thou canst, and then in thy often practice make triall which dost fit best withall, and that repose thy selfe upon at thy most neede: for I have knowne many that could well defend themselves at one gard better then at another, although hee be a cunning teacher, yet he cannot make all his Schollers frame themselves unto true defence, all using one guard, wherefore there must be triall made; for if they Scholler be dull of conceit in one guard, yet it may be he will fit better unto another, so those which I have found by my triall and practice, to be guards of defence, I put them downe briefly as followeth, but I thinke it were good left them undone, as begunne and not end them, yet thou shalt have a taste, for by a taste men shall see what wine is in the Butte.
The crosse guard.
Carry the point of our dagger upright, and the hilt as low as your girdle-stead without putting your thumbe against the blade of your Dagger, but griping him fast in your hand, and the point of your Rapier under your Dagger hand according to the picture.
[Transcription note: No picture appears in the text at this point]
Lying this in your guard, your bellie or breast will seeme to open o unguarded, so that he will make no doubt but to speede you in his first assault; but he charge you with a thrust, for your defence, if it above the girdle-stead, then carry your Dagger steady over your bodie, keeping the point upright and beare him towards your right side,but in your defence, doe not turne the point of your Dagger downewards, but presently bring him offer or making of play, if he charge you above the gerdle-stead, then defend it with Dagger, and presently steppe in with your left foote, and thrust withall unto what part of his bodie you list, bu if h charge you under the gerdle-stead, then defend it with your Rapier,striking it downeward; now you must make your selfe ready to take your time of advantage in your answering: I meane in the very motion of your enemies assault, defend and offend both with one time: if you both lie upon this guard, looking who shall make play first, then make you a short thrust, but presently clap into your guard againe, and so you shall draw him to make play, and yet be firme and ready in your guard to take your greater advantage, which must be done upon your enemies charge; for when he hath charged you with his thrust, and you defended you selfe, as before-saide, then steppe in with your left foote to answer his assault, presently upon your defence. Now if your enemy lying in this guard, and will not make play, then the best advantage which you have of your enemy, is charging him (in a manner) as it were with a wrist or a dropping blow to his face, breast, or knee, putting it in slope wise, by turning your knuckles inward, and when it is lighted on the place which you determine to hit; then thrust it home withall, and this thrust being put in slope wise, is the best thrust to hit him which lieth in the crosse guard, and the defender must be ready and nimble with his Dagger for his defence; or a fore-right plaine thrust, it is with more ease defended by him which hath the perfectnesse of his guard, then it is by lying in anie other guard.
Now if your enemy doe lie this crosse guard, you may proffer a fained thrust at his breast, and presently put it into Dagger shoulder on the out-side of his dagger arme: this false thrust may be defended with a quicke bringing backe of the Dagger againe: but then the defender must not over carry his dagger to defend the false thrust, yet hee must carry him against every offer.
Another defence belonging to this guard is lying in this crosse guard, if your enemy charge you under the gerdel-stead with a thrust, strike it by with your Rapier, but letting fall your Rapier, by letting fall your Rapier point towards the ground; but if it come above, the defend it with our Dagger, as before, but do not carry your Dagger above a halfe a foote; for if you over-carry your dagger, you may be endangered by the the false play. Againe, if you make the first proffer, and your enemy lying in this guard, then, so soone as you have made your thrust at him, presently let fall the point of your Rapier to the ground-ward, lifting up your Rapier hand , and defend his answer with your Rapier, by striking it outward, I meane towards your right side, for your Dagger will not defend your enemies answere so well as your Rapier, especially upon this guard.
Many have had a good opinion of the stokata gard, but (in my minde) It is more wearisome unto the bodie, and not so defensive for the body, As the first gard following the first Picture; my reasons are these, the hilt nd rapier being borne so farre back behind the bodie, it cannot defend a blow, for the blow will light before you can beare out your rapier to beare the blow backsword-way, as it should be done, neither can the rapier defend a false thrust, and a false thrust must be defended with the Rapier onelie: Also the point of the Rapier being borne so lowe as this guard restraineth them, the face and breast lieth open, or else into a single defence which is not sure; therefore keepe two strings to thy bowe, it is safe riding at two anchors a head, but if a man were put it to an extreamitie, then it were better to have a loase then no breade, better to defend it single, then to take it on the skinne, and so I will with words describe this guard, and some other.
The Stokata guard
You must (if you will frame your selfe into this gard) keepe the Dagger point out-right, and so hie as your cheeke, and your Rapier hand so farre backe, as something low as yuo can, and your feete three foote distance at the least, and this guard manyProfeesours doe reach as the chiefe and maister guard of all other; Now the reasons which they shew to draw men into this guard, is first say they, the ehad bowing backe, then the face is furthest from danger or a thrust or blpw: now to answere this aaine, I say, that although the face e something further from the enemie, yet the bottome of the bellie, and fore leg is in such danger, that it cannot be defended from one that is skilfull; and to bee hurt in the bellie is more dangerous then the face, whereasss if thou frame thy guard according unto my direction following the first Picture, then shalt thou finde that thy bellie is two foote (at the least) further from danger of a thrust, and so is the foote likewise, and the leg safe and out of danger both of blow and thrust: and now thy face will seeme to be, and is the neerest part towards thine enemie, but then thou hast thy dagger being in his right place, nearest unto thy face, readie to defend him: againe, hee which standeth abroad with his feete, will alwaies be in jealousie of his fore leg, the which must be defended by plucking him up nimbly at every blow and thrust, and yet that will not surely defend him from a thrust, but admit you do defend the leg by plucking him up, then doe you loose your time of answering your enemie, which should bee done in the same time which you plucke up your leg, and before you can come in againe with you answer, your enemie will have recovered his guard and distance againe: There are many other guars, some of then I will touch alittle, and some of them I will leave untill an other time: there are three high guardes, but it likewise crosseth all other guards, and it followeth in this maner.
Keepe your thumbe long wayes upon the blade of your Rapier according unto the naturall Arte; the common holding of the vulgar sort, and your feete so close together, as you can and the hilt of your Rapier so hie as your cheeke, bowing the elbowe-ioynt of your Rapier arme, and your Dagger hilt so lowe as your gerdle steade, and beare the point of your Dagger upright, and the Rapier point on the in side of your Dagger, both close together, looking under your Rapier, and beare out your Dagger at the armes end, without bowing your elbow ioynt, and if your enemie charge you with a thrust, carrie the thrust with your Dagger toward the right side, keeping the point of your Dagger upright, not turning him in your defence this not that way, but beare him steady over your body, and so you may defend any maner of thrust: for if you beare your dagger (as aforesaid) your enemies point will passe cleere under your Rapier arme, but-having once defended, in the very same motion you must lift up the hilt of your Rapier. and turning your knuckle upward, and withall. turne your point downe into your enemies rapier shoulder, stepping foorth with the right foote and hand together, your defence and offence must be all done with one motion. Now if your enemie charge you with a blow, you are as readie to defend it double on this guard as in anie other: but if thou charge thine enemie, or make the first assault, prepare thy defence for the Rapier shoulder, by carrying thy Dagger over thy bodie, keeping the point of thy Dagger upright. This defence is good to bee used against a left handed man likewise.
Now he which is well experimented in this guard hee will fine it verie dangerous for offence to thine enemie, and defensive for thy selfe, above all other guardes, especially of thou have discretion to lie at watch discreetely, and to take thine opportunities and advantage, when thine enemie proffereth anie kinde of play upon thee.
The carelesse or the lazie guard
Lay thy point of your Rapier upon the ground a foote wide of your left side overthwart your bodie, and let the hilt of your rapier rest upon your right thigh, and your dagger under your rapier about a foot forward of the hilt, and so leaving your whole belly or brest, will seeme a verie faire baite for your enemie to thrust at, but when hee chargeth you with a thrust, your defence must bee by the lifting up of your Rapier point, with your Dagger, throwing him over towards your right side, but lift not up your Rapier hand in the time of your defence in anie case, for so it may endanger the face, but so soone as you have turned it cleere over your bodie with both your weapons as aforesaid (it may be done with one of them, but not so sure as will both together) then upon your defence recover your point hastily againe and chop him in with an over-hand thrust, turning your knuckles upwards into his right shoulder where you may easily hit him if you bee quicke in taking your time before hee recover his distance, or get out of your reach. This is no painefull guard, but verie easie and quickly learned, and it is verie sure guard to defend any manner of thrust, now upon this guard if your enemie doe falsifie a thrust upon you by offring it at breast or face, whereby to make you lift up your weapons, thinking to hit you beneath with a second thrust by reason of your lifting them up to save the other parts the which you must doe but fayling of it above, bring downe your Dagger quickly againe to defend below the second thrust.
The fore-hand guard at Rapier and Dagger.
Put thy Rapier hand under the hilt of thy Dagger, alwaies keeping the point of thy Rapier something variable, and yet something directly about the girdle-stead of thy enemie, and the point of thy Dagger in a manner upright, or a verie little leaning towards thy left side, and both thy Dagger and thy Rapier hilts together, and both so low as thy girdle-stead: those being guarded, if thy enemie doe charge thee with a thrust, carrie thy dagger quicke over towards thy right side, and make a present answere by chopping out the point of thy rapier, and so hastily into thy guard againe, expecting a fresh charge.
The broad Warde.
Beare out both your armes right out from your bodie stiffe at the armes end, and a foote at the left a sunder, and turne both the Rapier and Dagger hilts so high as your brest or hier, leaving all your bodie open, or ungarded to seeme to, and when your enemie doth charge you with a thrust, strike it with your Dagger towards your right side, and withall answere him againe with an over-hand thrust unto his Dagger shoulder, but you must keepe your thumb upon the blade of your rapier, so then shall you put in your thrust the more steddier, and the more stronger.
The names of the chiefest thrusts, which are used at
Rapier and Dagger, with the manner how
to performe them.
A Right Stock, or Stockada, is to bee put in upwards with strength and quicknesse of the bodie, and the guard for the putting in a stoke is leaning so farre backe with your face and bodie as you can, and the hilts of your Rapier so neere the ground, or so low as you can, but of this guard I have spoken sufficiently alreadie.
A slope Stocke is to be make unto your enemies breast, or unto his Rapier shoulder, if hee doe looke over his Rapier, but in putting it in, you must wheale about your Rapier hand, towards your left side turning your knuckles inward, this thrust being put in slopewise as aforesaid, will hit thy enemie which lieth upon the Crosse-guard, or the Carelesse-guard, or the Broad-ward, when a right Stocke or plaine fore right thrust will not hit.
An Imbrokata, is a falsifying thrust, first to proffer it towards the ground, so low as your enemies knee, and then presently put it home unto your enemie Dagger-shoulder, or unto anie part of his Dagger-arme, for hee will put down his Dagger to defend your fained thrust, but cannot recover his Dagger againe before you have hit him in the Dagger arme, Shoulders of Face, whether you will your selfe, for in proffering this thrust, there is no waie to defend the upper part, the Dagger being once downe, but onely with the single Rapier, and except a man doe expect it, it cannot be so defended neither.
An other thrust called a Reverse.
A reverse is to be make, when your enemie by gathering in upon you, causeth you to fall backe with your right foote, and then your left foote being foremost, keeping up your dagger to defend, and having once broken your enemies thrust with your dagger, presently come in again with your right foote, and hand together, and so put in your reverse unto what part you please, for it will come with such force that it is hard to be prevented.
A thrust called a Mountanto.
The Mountanto is to be put in with a good celeritie of the bodie and in this manner, you must frame you guard when you intend to charge your enemie with this thrust, beare your Rapier hard upon, or so neere the ground as you can, lying verie low with your bodie, bowing your left knee verie nere the ground also, and either upon your enemies thrust or in lying in his guard you may strike his rapier point towards your right side with your dagger so that is may passe cleere under your rapier arme, and with same motion as you strike his rapier, sodainely mount up your rapier hand higher then your head, turning your knuckles upward, but turne the point of your Rapier downwards over his Rapier arme into his breast or shoulder, and you must be quicke in the performance of this thrust, and likewise nimbly you must leape out againe. This thrust must bee put in by the stepping forward of your left leg: now if you use this thrust more then once, your enemie will expect your comming a loft with him as you did before, but then out it in the second or third time underneath, and you shall hit him about the girdle-stead, and so because at this time I will not bee over tedious I leave to speake of maie other thrusts.
The best way for the holding of a Dagger, either to breake
blow or thrust, and foure waies bad as followeth.
First, if you hold your dagger to high, you may be hit under the Dagger-arme.
Secondly, and if to low, you may bee hit over the Dagger-arme, either in the arme, shoulder or face.
Thirdly, & if you beare your dagger too much towards your rapier-shoulder, then you may be hurt on the out-side of the armes by bearing narrow, for so we call the carriage of him, being borne in this manner before spoken of.
Fourthly, if to side from your bodie you may bee hurt on the in-side of the arme, face, or breast: if the dagger-elboe ioynt bee crooked, then there is small force in the dagger-arme for the defence of blow, or thrust, but the dagger being borne out stiffe at the armes end, defendeth a blow strongly, as you shall heare by and by.
Foure waies naught to breake a thrust
First, if you breake a thrust downe-wards, it may hit you in the bottom of the bellie.
Secondly, if you breake him upwards it may endanger you in the face.
Thirdly, and if breake your enemies thrust towards your Rapier-side, it may hit you in the Rapier-arme.
Fourthly, or in breaking a thrust, if you let the weight of your Dagger carrie your Dagger-arme backe behinde you, then your enemie may with a double thrust hit you before you can recover up your Dagger in his pace againe.
A good way to defend a thrust or a blow.
The best holding of Dagger is right out at the armes end, and the hilt even from your left cheeke, and the point compassing your bodie, I mean bowing towards your Rapier shoulder, and when you breake a thrust, turne but your hand-wrist about, letting fall the point of your Dagger downe-ward, but keepe out your Dagger-arme so stiffe as you can, so shall you bee readie to defend twentie thrusts one after another, if they come never so thicke, and likewise you are as readie for a blow; whereas if you fall your arme when you breake your thrust, your enemie may hit you with a second thrust before you can recover your Dagger in his place to defend it, for a thrust goeth more swifter then an arrow shot out a bow, wherefore a man cannot bee too ready, nor too sure in his gard; Now both for defence and Offence of everie blow and thrust, thou must turne thy knuckles up-ward. or down-ward, in-ward or out-ward, alwaies turning your hand according to the nature of the guard, that you frame your selfe unto, or according as when you see your enemies guard, then you must determine before you charge your enemie either with blow, or thrust, in what manner to turne your hand in your Offence or Defence, sometimes after one manner, and sometimes after another, as both before and hereafter shalbe sufficiently satisfied more at large
The true guard for the single Rapier.
Keepe your Rapier point something sloping towards your left shoulder, and your Rapier hand so low, as your girdle-stead, or lower, and beare out your Rapier hand right at armes end, so farre as you can , and keepe the point of your Rapier something leaning outwards toward your enemie, keeping your Rapier alwaies on the out-side of your enemies Rapier, but not ioyning with him, for you must observe a true distance at all weapons, that is to say, three feete betwixt the pints of your weapons, and twelve foote distance with your fore foote from your enemies fore foote, you must bee carefull that you frame your guard right, now you must not beare the Rapier hand-wide of the right side of your bodie, but right forward from your girdle-stead, as before-said.
The Reasons of this guard.
In keeping your point something sloping or compassing your face, your enemie cannot offend you with a wrist blow, which if you keepe your point directly upright, you may verie easily bee hit in the face.
Begin guarded as beforesaid, if your enemie discharge a thrust at you, carrie your Rapier hand over your bodie towards you left side, keeping your point directly in his pace untill you have defend your enemies assault, then presently after let fall the point of your Rapier, turning your knuckles inwards, and discharge your thrust at your enemies thigh, or bodie, as you see occasion.
There are likewise many other guards to be framed at single Rapier, as that one of the short Sword is a good guard at some times, and for some purposes, if a man be perfect in it, by skill and practice aforehand, as heereafter you shall see the manner thereof more at large, when I come to that weapon.
Now another fashion is, by holding your left hand upon the blade, and so with the strength of your forefinger and thumbe of your left hand, you may breake your enemies thrust cleere of your bodie, by turning of your rapier point downe-ward or up-ward accordingly as your enemie chargeth you; and then charge your enemie againe with a quicke answer.
Now another is, by standing upon the Stocke, readie to choppe in upon your enemies assault, but must turne in your left shoulder to your enemie nearer then the right, onelie to be as it were a baite unto him, but when he doth thrust at you, wheele about your bodie, falling backe with your left foote; but withall, thrust out your rapier, and so you may hit, and defend onelie with the shift of the bodie, and you shall find that the oppressor will come upon his won death, by proffering at that shoulder, which you make shew to be open unto him: but you must not offer to defend it with your rapier, but only trust unto the shift of your bodie.
False play at the single Rapier.
If your enemie doe lie in this guard, according to this Picture then proffer or faine a thrust unto his left side, but presently plucke backe your hand, an thrust it home unto his right arme shoulder or face, for hee will carry his rapier over his bodie, to defend the fained thrust, but can hardly bring him backe againe to save your second or determined thrust, except hee be very skillful, active, or nimble: now if he doe not beare his Rapier to defend the fained thrust when you proffer it, then you may hit him with a plaine thrust a second time, if you put it home without falsing it at all.
Likewise, you may proffer or faine a thrust two foote wide of your enemie his right side, and presently thrust it home to his breast, for hee will beare his rapier beyond the compasse of true defence, by reason it will seeme unto a cunning player that your Intention is to hit him on the out side of the rapier arme, so that when he thinketh to strike your point from offending his arme, by that means hee will open his bodie, although he open himselfe but a little, yet with your second thrust you may hit him as aforesaid.
The defence of this false play.
You must be very carefull that you doe not overcarry your Rapier in the defence in anie maner of thrust, yet you must carrie him a little against every proffer which your enemie doth make: for if a man be verie skilfull, yet is he not certaine when his enemie doth charge his point upon him, and proffer a thrust, whether that thrust will come home, or no: wherefor (as I said) you must beare your Rapier against everie thrust to defend it, but beare him but halfe a foote towards the left side, for that will cleare the bodie from danger of his thrust, and so quicke backe againe in his place, whereby to meete his weapon on the other side, if he charge you with a second thrust, thinking to deceive you as aforesaid.
A slippe at single Rapier.
Now if your enemy doe charge you with a blow, when as you see the blow comming, plucke in your Rapier, and let the blow slippe, and then answer him againe with a thrust, but bee carefull to plucke in your rapier to that cheeke which hee chargeth you at, so that if the blow doe reach home, you may defend him according unto the rule of the backsword.
The defence of this slippe is to forbeare striking at all, but if you doe strike, not to over-strike your Sword, but so strike your blow as you may recover him into his place hastily againe; for in fight if you doe strike, you must forebeare strong blowes, for with a strong blow, you may fall into divers hazzards; therefore strike an easie blow, and doe it quicke, but to thrust, and not strike at all, is to thy best advantage.
Put your thumbe long wayes, or forward upon the handle of your rapier according unto the natural fashion, and your enemie lying in this guard, ioyne your Rapier according as the Picture, and so soone as you have ioyned, turne the heele of your hand upward, and your point downeward, and so bring your point, compassing under your enemies right elbow; and then with the strength of the thumb, turne it unto his breast: the like you may doe if your enemie offer to close with you at single rapier, for if hee come hastily upon you, you can not drawe out your point whereby to offend him, but by turning it in as before-said, you may hit the skilfullest man that is in his comming in: Now if hee doe defend your point below, you may by a sodaine turning up your point, thrust it him to his right side shoulder or face, whether you will our selfe.
The defence of this slippe.
If your enemie doe ioyne his weapon with yours, to close or to turne in a slippe, then make your selfe readie quickely, by putting your thumbe upon your rapier, as aforesaid, when he falleth his point towards his left hand, to fetch the compasse of your rapier arme; then fall your point the contrary way, I meane towards your left hand, so shall you meete with his weapon below againe, and this will defend your selfe, and when he raiseth his point againe, then doe you raise yours likewise into his place againe.
If your enemie doe ioyne his rapier with yours, and doe beare him strongly against you, thinking to over beare you by strength of arme, the so soone as hee beginneth to charge you strongly, beare your rapier a little against him, and then sodainely let fall your pointe so low, as your gerdle-stead, and thrust it home withall, and so you may hit him, for by letting his Rapier goe away sodainely, he swayeth away beyond the compasse of defence, so that you may hit him, and fall away againe before hee can recover his Rapier to endanger you.
A dazeling thrust at single Rapier or Backe-Sword.
Proffer or faine a thrust at the fairest part of your enemies bodie which lieth most unguarded, and then more quicker then I can speake it, thrust it in on the other side, and so changing three or foure times, and then choppe it home sodainely, and you shall find his bodie unguarded, by reason that he will carrie his Rapier or Sword this way or that way, thinking to defend the false thrust, because he supposeth them to be true thrusts: for there is no man so cunning, that kneweth if a thrust be proffered within distance, but that I may hit him, or whether it will be a false thrust, or no, the defender knowes not, and therefore he must prepare his defence against every thrust, that is proffered.
A close at single Rapier or at Backe-sword.
First, charging your enemie with a thrust aloft with an over-hand thrust, directly at your enemies face, and withall follow it in close, bearing your enemies point over your head, by the carrying up of your Rapier hand, and then may you make seisure on the hilt of your enemies Rapier or Sword, or on his hand-wrist with your left hand, and then having made your seizure of his weapon, you may then use what execution you will, I mean either blow or thrust, or trip up his heeles.
(Transcription note: This image is identical to the previous image in the original manuscript.)
The guard for Backe-sword.
Carrie your Sword-hilt out at the armes end, and your point leaning or sloping towards your left shoulder, but not joyning with your enemies weapon, as this Picture seemeth, but so long as you lie in your guard, let there be three foote distance betwixt your weapons, but if your enemie do charge you, either with blow or thrust, carrie your Sword over your bodie against your enemies assault, and so crosse with him according to the Picture, beare also your point steadie over your bodie, something sloping towards your left shoulder; I meane the point must goe so farre as the hilt, but not turning your point the contrarie waie, but carrie both together. I will make it plainer by and by, because I would have thee to understand it wisely, for having with a true defence defended by your enemies blow or thrust by crossing with him, or by bearing your weapon against his assault (as beforesaid) the danger being past, then presently at the same instant, and with one motion turne downe the point of your Sword, turning your knuckles inward, and so thrusting it home to your enemies thigh, but with all, steppe forth with your foote and hand together.
But there is a great observation to be had in your practice concerning the true carriage of your Sword, true, then it is hard to defend either blowe or thrust; for if you carrie the hilt of your Sworde against either blow or thrust, and doe not carrie the point withall levell, even as you lay in your guard according to the Picture; then your hand and face is endangered, but bearing the hilt and the point about a foot over your bodie towards your left side; and likewise to beare your Sword stiffe out at the armes end, without bowing or your elbows joynt: provided alwaies, that your Sword being in your right hand, you must look with both you eies on the in-side of your Sword, for then you have but one kinde of defence, so that the point of your Sword be sloping towards the left shoulder: but otherwise, if you keepe the point of your Sword upright, then your enemie hath three waies to endanger you, especiallie, if you carrie your Sword right before the middest of your bellie, with the point upright, as I have knowne some hold an opinion of that waie to be good, but I say, hee that trusteth to that guard, may be hit in the head with a sodaine wrist-blow, if his practice were never so good: and likewise both his armes are unguarded, and to bee dangered, either with blow or thrust; but if guard your selfe after my direction, then your enemie hath but onelie the left side of your head, and your legges open, and they are easie to be defended; the legge, by plucking him up, the which you must doe upon everie blow, which your enemie chargeth you withall, and with the same defend the head and bodie, carrying your Sword over your bodie towards your left side, the point and hilt both steadie, as I have before said.
Now although I heere speake altogether of a Backe-Sword, it is not so meant, but the guard is so called: and therefore, whether you are weaponed with a two-edged Sword, or with a Rapier, yet frame your guarde in this manner and forme, as before said.
An other very sure and dangerous guard at the Backe-
Sword, called the Unicorne guard, or
the fore-hand guard
Before the Sword hilt so high as your face, keeping him out at the armes end, without bowing if your elbow ioynt, and alwaies keepe your point directly upon your enemies face, and your knuckles of your Sword hand upward; but if your enemie doe charge you with a blow to the right side of your head, then turne but your Sword hilt, and your knuckles outward, still keeping your Sword arme stiffe in his place, turning but onelie your wrist and your hand: this is a very dangerous guard to your enemie, being carried with a strong arme, for by reason that you keepe him out at the points end, being so directly in his face, that hee cannot come neare you without great danger, either of blow or thrust, but indeed if your sword be not carried out with a strong arme, the your enemie may endanger your head by striking of two blowes together, the one being strooke at the point of your sword to strick him down and the other to your head but they must bee strooke both together verie sodainelie, or else there is small danger in them, now if you are warie in watching when hee makes his first blow, sodainely plucke in the point of your sword to you, and so by the slippe his first stroake hee will over carrie him, so that if you turne an over-hand blow to his head, you may hit him before hee can recover his sword to strike his second blow, or defend himslefe lying in this long guard, you may slippe every blow that is strooke, plucke in your sword even as you see your enemie stricke and turne it over to the right side of his head.
A Close at back-sword
Lying in thy guard according unto the picture at single Rapier, and when you meane to close, lift up the hilt of thy word so high as thy cheeke, and charge thy enemie with a thrust directlie at his face, and with the same motion steppe in with thy hindmost foote, turning the knuckles of they Sword-hand inward, and so bearing thy enemies point over thy head, and then catch hold on they enemies Sword-hilt, or his hand-wrist, with thy left hand, but on his hilt is the surest to hold, and then you may either trip up his heeles, or cut, or thrust him with your weapon, and in this manner you maie close with a Rapier also, if you can make your partie good at the gripe or close, for your enemie in bearing over his Sword over his bodie to defend his face from your thrust, he there by carieth awaie his point, so that hee cannot endanger you if you follow it in close and quicke.
False play with the Back-sword.
Your enemie being in his guard, and lying at watch for advantage, you maie faine a blow a the right-side of his head, and presently with the turning of your hand-wrist, strike it home to his left-side, which being done quicke you may hit a reasonable good plaier, for he will beare his sword against the fained blow, and by that meanes unguard his left-side but at no hand must not let the fained blow touch your enemies sword, but give your sword a sodaine checke and so strike it to the contrarie-side, for if your feined blow do ioine with your enemies sword, it will staie his sword within the compasse of true defence, so that hee will be readie to defend your false blow, but otherwise if you touch not his sword hee will carrie him beyond the true compasse of defence, of the seconde blow, which you determine to hit him withall so likewise you may faine your blow at the left-side of your enemies head, but presentlie strike it home to the right-side of his head, in manner aforesaid.
Another false play.
Againe, you may ioine your sword within you enemies sword according unto the picture, but presentlie so soone as you have ioyned, strike it downe to his legge, but nimblie recover your sword in his place againe falling a little awaie withall, for so soone as you have discharged your blow, you may verie easilie before hee can endanger you recover your guard and distance: likewise you maie give a back-blow unto the right side of his head, and presentlie withall, fall downe againe with another blow unto the inside of his legge, stepping home with our second blow, for when you have made your first blow as aforesaid, it may bee your enemie will winke, and so you may hit his legge before his eies open againe, so that you do it quick, but if he does not winke, yet a good plaier will think that when hee hath defended your first blow a loft, he will not expect a blow so sodainelie as this ought to be strooke, and therefore may be hit with a second blow, yea although hee looke well to himself, and the rather that maie doth not alow in there teaching a back-sword blow to be stroken at the legge, but I say a man may give a square, or fore-hand blow to the inside of his enemies legge, and verie well recover up your sword again before your enemie can endanger you.
Standing in your guard, and your enemie charging you with a blow, pluck in your sword sodainelie, and let his blow slippe, and so soone as his blow is past, answere him againe, either with a low or thrust whether you will, but if it bee at blunt with a blow, put it right with a thrust, or by plucking in your sword, and alwaies have a care you plucke him in unto that side of f the head which hee chargeth you at, for in so doing, if his weapons point do reach home, yet you are at a guard of defence, but with this skill and a little withdrawing your bodie with all, his weapon will passe clear, for the force of his blow will overswaie his weapon, and he will so over carrie his bodie, that in a manner his backe wilbe towards you, so that with a quick answere you may but him at your pleasure or close with him if you thinke you can make your partie good at the gripe; likewise you may loose upon the crosse, by ioyning weapon to weapon, but when you have made your cloose in your first encounter, take hold on your enemies hand-wrist, or else on the hilt of your enemies weapon, for then hee cannot well offend you being but single weaponed. But to trie your man-hood, at the length of your weapon, I hold it the best fight and lesse danger to both, for there is no certaine defence in a close, then is a passage, for thy are both verie dangerous.
Your enemie lying in guard, you may strike a backe blow unto his right eare, although it light upon his sword, that is all one, for in striking it above, it may cause him to wink, or he will thinke you have don, but so soone as you have delivered your blow above, then presentlie, I meane more quicker then I can speake it, strike it, strike it downe into the inside of his right-legge, or if you doe but touch his sword in ioyning him close as the picture standeth, and so soone as you have but touched his Back-sword on the out-side, strike it done unto the in-side of the legge presentlie, yet alwaies have a care to recover your sword into his place againe for your owne defence, the which you may easilie doe, yea although you encounter with a verie skilfull man, but if you strike a plaine blow at the legge without profering it above first, as is beforesaid, then you endanger your owne head, but in presenting it above, you busie him to defend the first fained blow, so that he cannot be readie prepared to charge you with anie blow of danger before you have recovered your guard, the which you may well doe, although he answere you never so quicke.
An other verie cunning deceipt with the Back-sword.
Strike a blow to the in-side of the right leg, or foot of thy enemie, but draw it to thee, striking it it something short, and then presently strike it home againe to the left eare of a right handed man, but it must be done quicker then I can speake it, and thou shalt finde his left eare unguarded, for he will looke for it at the right side, and it were not amisse to strike it once or twice from the leg to the right eare first, for then he will looke for the same blow againe, but yet I would no have you make all your play at the legge, but sometimes to offer a blow at the one side of the head, and then to the other, so by making often change of your blow, is the best waie to deceive thy enemie.
A verie dangerous blow at Back-sword.
Thy enemie lying in this guard, soddenly plucke in the pummell of thy sword to thy breast, and with all turne thy knuckles inward, and the presentlie proffer a thrust towards thy enemies breast, but turne it over with a blow to his right eare, with the which blow thou maist hit a god plaier, if he bee not aware of it before hand, for hee must beare his sword against the thrust for the defence thereof, now if he do over carrie him never so little further then he ought to doe for his true defence, then hee cannot bring him back time enough to defend the blow before you have hit him, as beforesaid.
This blow is also good for a Left-handed man, or
against a Left-handed man.
If you would hit a Left-handed man with this blow, then present your thrust full at his face by a sodaine lifting up the hilt of your sword so high as your head, and withall you must now turne your knuckles outward, and so soone as you have presented your thrust, presently strike it home unto the let side his head.
A false play to be used in fight at Back-sword.
Proffer your thrust tow or three foot wide of thy enemies left eare, and withall let fall thy point so low as thy enemies girdle-stead of lower, and then presently with the same motion, raise thy point on the other side of thy enemies sword, and shop it home unto his right arme, shoulder or face whether you will your selfe, for in bearing his sword over his bodie to defend the fained thrust, hee cannot well recover him backe againe to defend you second thrust before you have hit him, as beforesaid, except hee hath by much practice beene used to that false thrust before hand.
An other dangerous blow.
Thy enemie lying in his guard, strike a blow to the in-side of his right leg,, and presentlie with as much speed as possible thou canst strike it home unto his left cheeke, for he will beare over his sword to defend the first proffer, and so with-draw himselfe into his guard, so that he will be unprovided for the defence of his left side, if he struck in with a quicke hand. All manner of false blowes, flips and thrusts at what weapon soever, are to avoided and defended with the true carriage of thy weapon, as at rapier and Dagger, if a false thrust be made below, and the Rapier above. And if either blow or thrust be falsified at the Back-sword, or at Sword and Dagger, thou must beare thy Sword against every proffer, but be sure thou doe not over-carrie him, but that thou maist be quick backe againe, to meete his second blow on the other side, as bringing thy weapon into his place by practice, thou shalt finde thy selfe surely guarded as in some places in this booke thou shalt fine the defence.
After the false play at everie weapon, although I have not set downe the defence of everie slip, nor of everie fault, which had been verie necessarie: for as everie lesson on a fiddle hath a severall kinde of Offence, and Defence, but heere thou shalt finde the Defence that belongeth unto manie of them, and the rest I left out of leasure to write them, but they sahll follow in the next Impression.
The true guard for the Staffe, which we will
call the Low guard
Keep the point of your Stafffe right in your enemies face, holding one hand at the verie buttt end of the Staffe, and the other a foote and a halfe distant, looking over your Staffe with both your eies and your feet and and a half distance, or thereabouts, according to this picture, always standing crsse with your enemie, I meanie, if his right hand and foote be foremost, let yours be so likewise, and if his left-hand and foote be foremost, then make you your change and crosse with him also.
Now, if your enemie do charge you, either with a blow or thrust, you lying in the guard, as above showed, then your defence is this: and if charge you above the gerdel-steade, wither with blow or thrust, strike yourself against it, keeping up the point of your staffe, so high as your head; but so soone as you have defended, wheterh it be blow or thrust, presently answer your enemie againe with a thrust, and hastily recver your guard againe, and in giving of a thrust, you may let goe your fore-hand from off your Staffe, but hold the butte end fast in one hand: and so soone as you have discharged your thrust, pluck bak your Staffe, and clap both your hands on him againe, and recover your guard; but yet stay on him againe, and recover your guard; but yet stay not long, but see whether your enemie will beginne with you, but begin with him first, with a false thrust, as anone you shall see the manner how to doe it: and when you can doe it, what neede you to stand long about that which may be done presently, and without danger?
Now if he proffer either blow or thrust unto your lower parts under your gerdle-stead, if it be a thrust, strike it awaie, by turning the point of your Staffe towards the ground, but be sure to strike it with that large compasse, that the point of your Stafffe maie pitch, not in the ground, for so you may deceive your selfe in your defence, if he charge you so lowe with a blow, then you may strike it as you do a thrust, or you may pitch the point of your stafffe into the ground two or three foote wide of that side he chargeth you at, and you may in the pitching downe of your Staffe, let goe your fore-hand that hee doe not hit him, and then all parts si defended so high as your head, so that you alwaies have a care to keepe your stafe in his right place, that is to say, if your right hand and foote be foremost, then leave all your bodie open, so that your enemie can not endanger uou on the out-side of your staffe, but if he will hit you, he must needed strike or thrust in the in-side of your stafe, and then you must defend all blowes or thrust, by bearing your staffe over your bodie towards the left side, for this we cal the Fore hand Defence, and this defence consumeth no time: but if in holding your staffe in the right hand, as beore is said, and for your guarde dow beare your Staffe over towards the left hand, then you leave your right shoulder arme or face, open and ungarded, that which must be efended backward, but you may defend twentie thrust or blowes before hand, better then one backward; for the back defence is nothing so readie, nor so certaine, as the fore-hand defence is, and therefore keepe and continue your guard, according unto the Picture, for then if he proffer a thrust on the out-side of your Staffe: you neede not to feare nor pffer to defend it, for there is no place in anie danger, but all is guarded, especiallie fron the gerdle-stead upward.
And in your defence, have alwaies a care to the true carriage of your Staffe, that you do not carrie him beyond the compasse of true defence, for feare of the false plaie: for if you over-carrie your Staffe, I meane further than neede doth require, you can not recover him againe quickly enough to defend the false. Now, if your enemie doth assault you upon the contraie side, you must change both your foote and hand to crosse iwth him, as beofre: but take head when you change, you do not come in with your hinder foote, but let him stand hirme and fall backe with the fore-most foot with everie change. And having defended your enemies assault, with a little enreasing in, answered him with a thrust, thrusting out your staffe with your hindermost hand, and stepping forth withall, with your foremost foote, and the same instant of your proffer, let goe your fore-ahnd, but after your offence presently recover your hand upon your staffe againe: now if your staffe be shorter than your enemies, then (for your better advantage) step in with your hinder foote with the answer, but at no hand, never stike one blowe with your Staffe, for he that doth lift up his Staffe to strike, may easily be hit by the defender with a thrust, for in the same motion that the oppressor doth lift up his staffe to strike the defender, may with speedie thrust hit him in the breast, and holde him off upon the point of his staffe, if the Defender thrust out his staffe with his hinder hand, especially if their staves be both of one length, than hee that striketh, cannot endanger the other with a blow, for hee that striketh, holdeth both his hands upon his staffe, untill hee hath discharged his blow, whereas he that thrusteth, hath two foote oddes of him in length that striketh, so that hee puteth out his staffe, to his most advantage, as beforesaid.
It is necessary, that hee which useth the Staffe, should have use of both his hands alike, for thereby he may the better shift his staffe from hand to hand, whereby to lie crosse alwaies with your enemie, changing your hand and foote, as hee changeth for lying the one with right hand and foote for-most, and the other with the left, then he that striketh first, can not choose but endanger the others hand, but if you cannot change your Staffe to lie crosse with your enemies Staffe: then for your defence of a blow, pitch the point of your Staffe into the ground, and let go your fore-hand, and when you have discharged the blow with as much speed as you can, answer his blow with a thrust, for the greatest secret of all most chiefly to be remembered at this weapon, is, if your enemie doe but once offer to lift up his hand to strike, then presently choppe in with a thrust at his breat, shoulder, or face, for so you may hit him as you will your selfe, so that you take your time of answering.
If your enemie strike with his staffe, hee holdeth him fast in both his hands when hee delivereth his blow, by reason thereof, he which thrusteth and looseth his fore-hand, when hee hath dischargeth his thrust or drawth in the fore-hand close unto the hinder hand which holdeth the butte end of his Staffe, and so thrust him out withall, you may keepe the striker upon the point of your Staffe, so that with his blow hee can not reach you, being equally matched in length, but must come upon his death, or danger himselfe greatly.
The high guard for the Staffe
Looke under your Staffe with both your eies, with the point hanging slope-waies downe-ward by your side, bearing out your Staffe at the arms end, higher than your head alittle according to this Picture.
[Transcription note: Page numbers 137 and 138 repeat in manuscript]
In looking under your Staffe it will seeme to your enemie, that your defence is onlie for your head, then he will thinke to hit you in the body with a thrust, for the body seemeith to lie very open unto him, and if he dow charge you with a thrust, carry the point of your Staffe over your bodie close by the ground towards the other side, and having defended the thrust, turne up the point of your staffe presntly towards your enemies breast, and charge him with a thrust: againe, if your enemies charge you with a blowe at your head, lift up the point of your staffe and meete the blow halfe way, and withal, draw back your hands, for feare of endangering your fingers: having striken away his staffe, answer him againe with a thrust (as beforesaid:) Now if your enemy charge you with a blow at your side, either pitch the point of your staffe into the ground to defend it, or else change into thy low guard and so crosse with him; if your enemy do strike a full blow at your head, you need not feare neither of your hands, but by striking with your staffe to meete his blow, you shall defend it upon the middle, or near the point of your staffe, although hee doe strike purposely at your hand, yet can he not touch your hands not anyother part of your body: but upon the fefence of your body draw back your hands. Now it behoveth you to be perfect, not only in this guard, but also in changin your staffe from hand to hand, according to your enemies lying: to do well you should change, as hee changeth, sometimes the point of your staffe should be hanging downe by the right side of your body, and sometimes by the left, according to your enemies lying, the best way to amke your change , is to let your staffe slip through your hands, like a Weavers shuttle, for this is a most speedie change then to shift him after the common manner, and by a little practice you may grow perfect in it.
The best guard for a darke night at Staffe
If thou meet with thine enemie in the night, and he charge upon thee, the best means for thy defence, is presently to chop up into this high guard, except thy staff be of a sufficient length, to keep him off, with charging the point upon him, or else the third means is to trust to thy heeles, but if thou wilt trust to thine hands, then either keep him off with thy point, or else above all parts, chiefly defend thy head, which is not to be done, but only by this guard, except a man may see the blow before it do light; now thou must put thy hands a little further asunder, then thou dost for the day, that the blow may be defended, by taking him upon the staff betwixt both thy hands: if it is light at your head, as is the fashion of most men to strike at the head (as I have said before) rather than to any part of the body. Now having taken the blow betwixt your hands, withall, run in and close with him, for if you stand off at the length in fight, anie time, being in the night, it cannot chose but be verie dangerous, if you suffer him to discharge many blows, but either answer him with a thrust, or else close with him, and turn the butte end of your staffe into his breast of face, as you see occasion: now if it be in the day, or that you can see the blow before it light; if your enemie charge you with a blow at the side, meet his blow by carrying it over to the other side, & pitch the point of your staffe in the ground, and loose your foremost hand for dangering of your fingers, but hold the hinder hand fast at the butte end of your staffe. But now, upon this high guard you can not defend the false so well, nor so sure, as when you lie on the low guard; for it your enemie do proffer a thrust on the one side your staffe, and presently chop it home to the other side, he may endanger, nay, hee may hit a skillful and cunning player, especially if you over-carrie your staffe in defence of the fained blow or thrust.
Wherefore, if you lie on the low guard with your staffe or pike, you shall defend a thrust with the point of your weapon long before it come near you, & yet your point is readie to answer more speedily than it is when you lie on anie other guard, but he which lieth with his point of the staffe or pike on the ground, hath verie little space to his bodie, no more than the length of his arm wherein he holdeth his weapon: therefore he which suffereth a thrust to come so near, it will quicklie come to the face or bodie, yet because most souldiers heretofore have used this fashion of lying, and are not experienced in the low guard, according to the first Picture of the Staffe; but in your practice use both, you shall find the benefit thereof better; now if your frame yourself into the high guard, your staff must not be, in length, above eight foot at most, but rather shorter, for else in defending your enemies thrust, a long staffe will hit the ground, and by that means, your enemies thrust may endanger you: therefore, for this high guard, you must looke that your staffe be of that length, that you may carrie the point cleane from the ground in defending a thrust, but for the low guard it is no matter of what length your staffe be.
Questions and answeres betwixt the
Master and Scholler,concer-
ning the Staffe.
You have given me direction for two sorts of guards, which doe you commend best that I may repose myself upon?
I commend the low guard best, for that it serveth with the Quarter-staffe of seven or eight foot, or for the Long-staffe of twelve foote, and for the Pike of eighteene foote, for I have made trial with men of good experience which have lain in other guards according to their practice, as some at Quarte-staffe will lay their point upon the ground overthwart their bodie, holding the butte-end of their Staffe so low as their girdle-stead: he that thus lieth the best waie to hit him is to proffer, or faine a thrust at his face, and presently put it hime below, for he will carrie his Staffe up to save his face, but cannot put him down againe before you have hit him underneath as beforesaid, but with quickness you may hit him in the face or breast, and never falsifie your thrust but put it in suddenly, turning the heele of your hinder hand upward withall: and if your enemie lie at Halfe-staffe, holding him in the middest, his hands that so lieth, are in danger of every blow that cometh, but the best way to hit him that so lieth wihtout danger to thy selfe, is with a false thrust, and that is to proffer it in the one side of his staffe, and to pt it home on the other, according to the direction of the false play that followeth: but first let me make an end of that which I have begunne, and so wee will proceed, some will lie with the Long-staffe, or Pike with the point on the ground, and the butte end so high as his head or higher; indeed this hath beene and is common fight with the Pike amongst the souldiers, and the defence of this guard either for blow or thrust, is the swerve the upper-hand, this way, or that way, according as he seeth the danger of the oppressors assault, and then presently launch out the Staffe or Pike by lifting them up, upon the out-side of their foote or else by gathering him up on their left arme, and so launch him out as aforesaid: he that useth this guard, must be strong, and very active, and nimble, but whatsoever hee be, high or low, weake or strong, the low guard is best.
If the low guard be so strong for my defence what need have I to learne any other?
It is true, a man can be but sure if he practice all the daies of his life, but it is not amisse for thee to know more than ever thou shalt have occasion to use, for having the prefect use of the low and high guard, you may close with any Staffe man, if you think you can make your parrie good with him when you have closed.
I pray you direct me the best manner of closing.
When you encounter with any man that hath a Staffe, a Welch-hooke or a Halbert, and yourself being armed with any one of these weapons, present a thrust to the face of your enemie , and withall, follow it in with your hind-most foote also; and as you incroach in, clap up your staff into the high guard, and you shall carrie your enemies point over your head by that meanes, but you must not be slack in following of it in, for hee will beare the point of his weapon so high to defend his face, that he cannot recover his Staffe by no meane to endanger you,and when you have made your close, you may turne the Butte-end of your Staffe in his face if you lift, or you may trip up his heeles, if you are cunning in wrestling: but if hee have any short weapons about him, then I wish you to take him about the middle and un-arm him of it, or else to hold him fast that hee hurt you not, but if you bee armed with a Bill or a Hooke, then in your halfe-close you may fall away turning the edge or your Bill or Hooke towards his legge, and so by a drawing blow rake him over the shins, and keeping up the But-end of the Staffe for the defence of your owne head, and so you may fall out of his distance, and recover your guard before he can any way endanger you.
If your enemie close with you after this manner, and doe offer the But-end of his Staffe unto your face or breast, then fall backe with your fore foote, and make a quicke change, and you shall have him at great advantage, both for defence and likewise to turne in the But-end of your Staffe unto is face or breast, and if you lift this is a sure defence for such an assault, believe it, for I know it, he that is perfect in the low guard, may with a Staffe encounter against the Welch-hooke, Holbert, Partizan, or Gleave, and I hold that a Staffe with a Pike to have oddes against any such long weapon, being equally matched in length, for oddes in length with any weapon is verie much advantage, where I wish if any doe appoint the field with any of these aforesaid weapons, it is not amisse for the one of them to condition to bring a hatched or some other edged toole into the field to cut the longest staffe, except you match them before hand.
I pray you let me hear your reason, so many think that the hooke or any edged weapon hath great odds against the Staffe.
Indeed without cunning and skill, the Welch-hooke, and these other weapons are more fearfull unto the ignorant, but hee that is cunning in the false play and slippes, belonging unto the Staffe may with a false thrust or with slipping his blow endanger any other, being weaponed with any other of these weapons aforesaid. For it you falsifie your thrust according to my direction in the false play, that is, to proffer your thrust on one side, and then to put home the second determined thrust unto the other side of his weapon, and then if your enemy have a Hooke, Halbert, or Bill in defending the false, the head of his weapon will so over-carrie him by reason of the weight, that hee cannot command him nimbly backe againe, whereby to defend the false, if your enemy bee armed with a Hooke, Holbert or Partizan or Gleave, if he charge you with a blow, then slippe his blowe, either by plucking in of your Staffe, keeping of the point upright until his blow b past, and then you may answer him againe, either with blow or thrust, for by slipping a blow, the weight of the head of any of these aforesaid weapons will goe with such a swing that it will turne his body in such a manner round, I meane beyond the compasse of defence,
Againe if you thinke that your face is out of his reach, he which chargeth you with a blow with anie if these aforesAid weapons, you may let fall the point of your staffe, so that his blow may passe clear over your staffe, and so choppe home a thrust withall under your enemies weapons, and then recover the point of your Staffe up hastily againe.
What if I be armed with any of these weapons aforesaid, what guard will your direct mee to frame myself unto?
I still commend the low guard for any long weapon, whether it be Staffe, Pike, Hooke, Halbert, Partizan or Gleave, my reason is the point being so high as your head, and the But-end so low as your thigh, then is your weapon more readier to defend either blow or thrust, if you bee charged never so suddenly, whereas if your point hand downe-wards towards the ground, you can never lift him up quick againe to defend your thrust, but a blow may be defended easily, for that blow commeth more leasurably, for why is it fetched with a greater compasse, and thrust goeth with farre more celerity than a blow, being put in cunningly, but of these weapons shall follow more at large in the seconde booke.
Now if thy enemie have oddes in length in his Staffe, then let thy enemie make his first assault, and upon defence of his assault steppe forth with they hindermost foote, and so thou shalt gaine sixe foote at the least in reach, but if your staves bee both of one length, then upon a charge of answere, increase in onely with thy fore foote, and stand fast with thy hinder foote, and stand fast with thy hinder foote, only to plucke backe thy bodie againe, and if thou make the first assault, and thy enemie defend it, and so hee make a sudden answere, then it will be hard to recover up thy staffe into his place, to defend it according to the low guard: but for a sudden shift the best defence is bearing your upper-hand over your body, and letting your point fall to the ground, according to the olde common order of the fight with the Pike, at single hand, I meane, hand to hand, or I may say, man to man.
I pray you how would you direct mee to frame my guard with my staffe, if I were to encounter with my enemy, being armed with Sword and Dagger, or Rapier and Dagger?
I hold the low guard best, charging thy point directly to the enemies breast, and alwaies have a special regard, that thou proffer not a blow, for so hee may defend it double upon the Back-Sword and Dagger, and runne in under the Staffe, likewise if thou proffer a thrust, let not thy Staffe loose out of thy fore-hand, but hold him fast, that thereby thou maist bee the more readie to charge him againe, and againe if hee encroach in upon thee, for if you let goe one hand, then may thy enemie very well defend the thrust of the staffe, according as I have directed in the description of the Rapier and Dagger, concerning the Staffe, for with that one defence, being experienced in it, thou maist endanger any Staffe-man, that is not wary, and withall, well experienced in both these weapons, so that thou take thy opportunity upon his assault, I mean in answering him quick, so soone as you have defended his assault, whether it be blow or thrust.
Now if thy enemie doe strike at the point of thy Staffe, thinking to cut him off, then, as you see his blow coming, let fall the point of your Staffe, and presently chop home a thrust, for in so doing his blow will flie over your Staffe, as by your practice you may perfect in this slippe, for so wee call it. I have known a man with a Sword and Dagger hath cut off the end of a Pike-Staffe, but I hold him an ignorant and unskillful man, that hath held the Staffe, for though I hold, that a man skillful at the Sword and Dagger may encounter against a reasonable Staffe-man, the same opinion I hold still, and my reasons thou shalt heare; if extreme need require, and upon a necessity, then the best meanes is to be used wherefore to be furnished with the best means before hand at the time of neede, it may greatly stead thee, for every common man hath not the knowledge of the best rule, except he hath not knowledge of the best rule, except hee have learned it and practiced it by those which could show it, for it commeth not be nature to none, yet every ignorant dunce, when he is persuaded to go learne skill, will say, when I am put to my shift, I will do the best I can: so a man may, and yet without skill bee killed, although hee doe his best, my opinion further of this followeth.
Now the best guard with a Sword and Dagger, or Rapier and Dagger, against a Staffe, is this, put your Dagger on the in-side of your Rapier or Sword, and join them both together, making your cross with them within a foote or thereabouts of the hilt of your Rapier or Sword, and looking cleere with both your eyes under them, or betwixt both your weapons, and then if your enemy charge you with a blow at your head with his Staffe, beare them both double against the blow, and having defended it, turne your point and turne your knuckles inward of your right-hand, and so to goe in amaine upon him.
But is he charge your with a thrust, then presently let fall the point of your Rapier down-ward, and force him downe the more stronger, and more quicker with your Dagger, for to that end I doe appoint you to put your Dagger in the in-side of your Rapier or Sword. Loe in this manner you may defend either blow or thrust of the Staffe, yet I must needes confesse, there is great oddes in the Staffe, if the Staffe-man bee verie skillful, but otherwise the Rapier and Dagger hath the oddes being furnished with skill.
False play to be used at the Staffe.
If you both lie in the low guard, according unto my former direction, then proffer or faine a thrust under your enemies face to the fairest side of the staffe, which to your seeming lieth most open or unguarded, but then presently in the same motion let fall the point of your staffe so low as his girdle-sted, so that you may passe cleare under the But end of his staffe; for if with any part of his staffe he touch or entangle your staffe, then can not put in your false so directly as you should, or as you may, if you passe cleare with your first offer, then may you bring up your point on the other side of his staffe, and thrusting it home, you may hit him on the shoulder or face, as you will your selfe, yea although he be verie skillful or cunning, so that you have the true stroke of it : as to make it plainer, then in offering your false, doe but fall the point of your staffe, striking it as were a blowe, but let it fall two foote wide of that side, which lieth open, and then bring it up againe on the other side, and put it in with a thrust, for hee will carrie his staffe to defend your false, and so by that meanes open the side which lieth well guarded, and alwaies marke which part of your enemies lieth most open or most discovered unto you, there proffer you your fained thrust, first to the fairest, but hit him with your second or determined thrust to the contrarie side, and if you faine your thrust to the right side, then thrust it home to the left, and if you faine your thrust to the left side, then put it home to the right, and you may hit him in the breast, shoulder, or face, whether you lift your selfe, so that you proffer your faine thrust three foote wide of his bodie, for if in offering your fained thrust, he hit your staffe, it will so entangle your point, that you cannot recover him to hit him with your determined thrust, for before you can cleare your point, he will be in his guard of defence againe.
The defence of this false thrust.
This thrust is to be defended two waies, the first is to beare him against your enemies proffer, but have a care that you do not over-beare him, so that if he mock you with his fained thrust on the one side, you must quickly bring your staffe backe againe into his place, to meet him when he commeth on the other side of his staffe, and so to defend it, keeping your point upright: now the second defence is to beare your staffe over your bodie against his proffer, as you doe against everie ordinarie thrust; for you must suppose that every thrust will come home, for the defender doth not know if his enemy doe proffer a thrust, whether it will come home or not: therefore (as I said) you must beare your staffe against every thrust, but you should beare your staffe but a foote out of his place, whether it be against blow or thrust: for if you over carrie him, you can not recover him to defend neither blowe or thrust, if it be falsified upon you. Now if your enemie doe falsifie upon his first proffer, carrie your staffe over your bodie, keeping the point upright against his first proffer: now upon your offer of defence, at the first you see that you make no seisure upon his staffe, then presently you may perceive he doth but dallie with you, onlie to deceive you with false play, but then your proffer if defence, both fore the true and false play, must be all done with one motion; for if you see that with the first proffer above he shorten his thrust, without putting it home, then turne downe the point of your staffe towards the ground, and meete him below, and so strike it away, but be sure that you defend alwaies before hand, for to strike it backward is no sure defence.
Yet to make this fore-hand defence plainer, why then is s thus meant, if your right hand be placed formost in holding your staffe, then you must defend both the true play, and the false towards your left hand, but you must not defend the first proffer forwards, and next, which may be the false thrust, backward, but both must be defended towards your left side: and so likewise, if your left hand be formost, then frame your defence towards your right side, as before said.
Now if you cannot change hands, as (it may be) your enemie can, then keepe your guard upon that hand you can best use, and you shall finde that hee hath very little oddes after you have practiced it a while; for you may offer to defend anie false play so well as if you crosse handed one to the other.
A false blow.
Now if you would hit your enemie on the head with a blow, you must proffer a false blow at the head, as if you would strike him owne at the first, but when it is come halfe way, stay your hand, or checke your blow before it meet with his staffe, for he will beare his staffe against your blow, thinking to defend it strongly, before it come to endanger him: but the checking of the first blow will be an occasion, that he will over-carry his staffe beyond the compasse of true defence, so that you may presently come with a second blow, and strike it home over the point of his staffe, so by this determined blow, you may hit him in the head or face.
A Slippe at a Staffe.
If your enemie charge you with a blow, you lying in your guard according to the Picture, even as you see the blow comming, plucke in your staffe, and withall, withdraw your head and bodie alittle backe, bearing your staffe, during the time while the blowe hath his passage, close upright by that side of your face which your enemie chargeth you at, to defend that side, if the blow doe not reach home, but if it doe passe short, and goe cleare of your without touching your staffe, then will his staffe flie away with the greatest swing, so that it will passe beyond compasse if true defence, but if it be a Welch-hooke, or anie other head weapon, then will the slipping of his blow be a more occasion of the over-carrying of his blow, by carrying of his blow round, so that his blow being past, you may presently charge him with a blow at the head, or thrust him in the backe, so that it be done quicke before your enemie doe recover his weapons into the place of defence.
You may profer a downe-right blow at your enemies head, fetching him with a great compasse, so that it may seeme to your enemie,that you meane to strike him downe, but as your blow is coming, draw back your hand and change your blow to a thrust, and chopping home to his breast or any other part of his body, that you will your selfe, for he will beare his Staffe to defend the blow, I meane if hee be not very skillful and cunning, the which if he doe, hee can but defend himselfe, the which to doe he must be very wary when he beareth his staffe to defend then the blow, so that he doe not over-carrie his staffe, and yet to beare him a little and then to checke his Staffe, and be readie to turne downe the point to defend the thrust, but he that is skillful will, or should chop out a thrust if his enemie doe proffer a blow, and the thrust should be put out with one hand, and to loose the other, I meane with that hand which holdeth the But-end of the Staffe, for so thou shalt keepe him out at the point of thy Staffe; for then the blow cannot endanger thee, except there be great oddes in the length of your staves, for commonly he that striketh, holdeth both his hands upon his Staffe when he delivereth his blow, whereby there is three foote oddes in reach betwixt the striker and he which thrusteth.
Another very deceiving false thrust
at the Staffe.
Thy enemie lying in guard, proffer a fained thrust towards his foote, and then presently raise thy point againe, and thrust it home to his face or breast, for if he turne down the point of his Staffe to save the false thrust below, then if he were never so cunning,or never so strong, yet he can not put up his Staffe time enough to defend his upper part; and therefore not to turne downe the point, if thy enemie doe proffer a thrust below is the more sureth, but if a thrust bee made below or above the knee, plucke up thy legge, and either thrust with him, or keepe up thy Staffe to defend thy upper part, which are the killing places, rather than to turne him downe to defend thy legge or foote, wherein is not so great danger of death as the body being hit, but at the Staffe all parts may be defended with skill.
The guard for the Sword and Dagger, the which
for surenesse wee will call the
I Might heare in this place describe many wardes or guards, at the Sword and Dagger, as the Looke-ward, the Iron-ward, the Hanging-ward, the Crosse-ward, three high guards, the Low-guard, the Broad-ward. I will a little touch them all, or the most part of them with words, although not with pictures, but in the next Impression more at large, both with words and with pictures.
But now chiefly at this time I will proceed only with this Castle-guard, or the Back-sword guard according to the picture, for with the skil of this one guard thou maist safely encounter against any man, which useth any of the foresaid guards, for this one guard being perfectly learned thou maist defend thy selfe with great advantage,
Now for the manner of the framing thy selfe into this guard, thou maist beare out the hilt of thy sword a foote from thy body, so low as the pocket of thy hose, and right out from thy thigh, and thy Dagger out right at the armes end, and the Dagger hilt even with thy left cheeke, but barely looking over the upper part of thy Dagger hilt, and the points of both thy Sword and Dagger a little bowing each to the other, and close above, but open thy hilts so broad below as thou maist see cleerly thy enemie betwixt them both, as a Rapier and Dagger before is discribed, for both at Rapier and Dagger, the guards are both verie neere alike, but onely for the carriage of thy Rapier hand and foote, a little neere thy body than at Sword and Dagger, the reasons are, and shall be made plaine unto thee, as in reading thou shalt finde it, for both at Rapier and Dagger and at Sword and Dagger, a man should bee prepared as well at the one, as the other to defend a thrust in fight so well as a blow, except the Rapier point be borne something high, he is not ready to defend a blow, as by this guard this being placed, as aforesaid, thy Sword onely being borne out against the blow, will defend all thy right-side, both thy head, and downe to thy knee, without mooning him, but if thy enemie do charge thee with a blow at thy left-side, whether he strike to thy head or side, then beare both thy Sword and thy dagger over thy body, to-wards thy left-side, and withall I doe advise thee to have a care to carry both the hilt and point levell, even as thou liest in thy guard, for if thou carry thy hilt of they Sword over thy body towards thy left side, and turne thy point Back-ward, then both at Sword and Dagger, and at rapier and dagger, thy head is endangered, for then thou hast but a single ward for thy head, I meane thy dagger onely, and that is no sure defence for the head, if thy practice were never so much, but both being borne together, according unto the Backe-sword rule, thou shalt defend both thy head and body downe to thy knee very strongly, and thy legge must save himselfe by a quick pulling up of thy foote.
Likewise at Sword and dagger, you may set your feete distance one right before the other, the other which I doe not allow at rapier and Dagger, also you must keepe the point of your Sword on the in-side of your dagger, and halfe a foote higher then your Dagger point, especially if you play at the blunt, but in fight as in rapier and Dagger, then you must so exercise your foote, that you may pluck him up nimbly against every blow that commeth, other-wise if you doe keepe them so neare as my direction is at rapier and Dagger, then is your foote sure without plucking of him up; beare your head upright, bowing rather to the right-shoulder, then to the left, but not forward at any weapon, but your body bowing forward, and keepe your points close together, and your Sword point on the inside of your Dagger point (as before-said) and the hilt of your Dagger from your left cheeke, right at the armes end, without bowing of your elbow ioynt, and your Dagger point sloping, or bowing towards our right side, looking with both your eies betwixt your weapons, looke not over your weapons with neither of your eies at anie hand; your weapons placed, and your bodie setled (as aforesaide) then shall you finde no part of your bodie discovered or unguarded, but on-lie you left side from the Dagner arme downewards, and that you must have a care unto, and defend it in this manner.
[Left margin note: Thy weapons thus placed thou shalt find thy body garded like a prisoner betwixt to keepers, thy sword to guard thy right-side, and thy dagger the left.]
If your enemie charge you with a blow, defend your selfe, by bearing the edge of your Sword against it, and a little beare your Dagger against the blow also, onely to give allowance for the yeelding of your Dagger, if the blow should chaunce to light at your head, for your guard simply of himselfe doth defend but a weake blow; if you stand stocke still at your gard as a wrist blow a droppe or a mite, which commeth with small force, though they come with more speed then any other blow, your guard will defend without mooving your weapons. Now other blowes which shall come with greater force, consume more time, and doe fetch a greater compasse, insomuch as their force is greater, you shal preceive them the plainer, to which side the blow will come, and if to the right side, then swarve both weapons against the blow, and if to the left side, dolikewise (keeping up the point of your sword, for that will defend from the head downe to the knee, and knee and leg which you stand formost upon, you must defend by plucking them up, and your sword will defend the hindmost legge, if the blow should chance to reach so farre, by taking it neere the hilt, upon the edge of your backe-sword, as aforesaid, for if you downe the point of your sword to save your legge, then you leave your head and your face unguarded, for when you see our enemie charge you with a blow, there is no rule to be shewen to know where the blow will light, untill it doe light: but this assure your selfe, the blow must have a lighting place; for when the sword is up, where he will fall there is no rule to be shewen, for when the blow is chargeth, it commeth so swift and lighteth where the striker thinketh good, wherefore arme your selfe to defend everie place, whether it commeth above or below; for if you turne down the point of your sword before-hand, thinking the blow will light at your legge, for so you must doe if you will defend him with you sword, otherwise you cannot be downe quicke enough, for the blow will passe more speedier than the turning of a hand; wherefore i wish you to save your legge by plucking of him up, and open not your head, in hope to save your legge, and so save neither of them, for the head is the principall place that enemie will strike at; therefore keepe your points always upright, and in their place, according to my directions following the first Picture; and like-wise as heere I have described it, for it is not enough to know the place of your weapons, but alwaies to continue them in their place, except it be at the verie instant time of your defence, and offence: but if you make play to offend your enemie, recover your weapons into your guard speedily againe whether you hit or miss: Now in striking thy blow, let not thy Sword swing under thine arme by over-striking thy blowe, but winde him up presently into his place a-gaine; alwaies keepe the points close, and defend the blow double: for so doing the point of your sword will be a great strengthening unto your Dagger, for he that doth trust to defend a blow with the Dagger onely, may be deceived, if his cunning were never so good; for if the blow should light nere the point of your Dagger, by reason of the sharpenesse and weakenesse of the Dagger, it may glide over, and hit him that is skilfull, if his cunning were never so good: likewise, the blow may hit him under the Dagger-arme, which trusteth to the Dagger, except hee use the defence of his backe-sword, for which both together a weake man, yea, a boy may defend a strong man with both, for no man is able to charge a blow with one hand, if his force were never so great, but one that is verie weake and skilful of the Back-sword, may defend himselfe double (as aforesaid) for he that chargeth with one hand, a verie wretch is able to defend with both, having skill and practice in all fashions, for when one cannot hit thee yet another whose fashion thou art unacquainted with may hit thee, but being experienced in many weapons, and in many guards, and practicing with many men, then if thou have an occasion to answer any one which thou never saweth before, thou wilt presently call to minde, that hee can but strike and thrust; therefore being prepared before hand, then so soone as thou seeth his gard and charge, thou knowest thy defence.
Now (as I have said before) you must be carefull in your defence, as so soone as you come within the reach of your enemie, prepare your selfe into your guard, to defend everie part both from blowe and thrust, defending the blow with Backe-sword so low as your knee, and the point helping to strenghten the point of your Dagger; then if your enemie charge you with a blowe, you must not prepare to strike with him, for so you may e hurt, and then say afterward, I thought hee would have strucke at mine head, and so never reckon upon your side nor your legge, or if you should think he would have strucke at your legge, and so never regard your head: But I say you must not deale upon thought, but upon sure guard, and it is not sufficient, to know your guard of defence, but you must keepe him, for if your enemie have once but hit you for want of keeping your guard, it will be too late for you to remember your defence afterwards, therefore looke to it afore the blow doth light; or if you fight at Rapier and Dagger, you must looke for both blow and thrust, for your enemie may strike with his Rapier, and hit you if you do not looke for a blow, and when you are hit, it is too late to say, I thought he would not have strucke with his Rapier. Againe, at Sword and Dagger, it may be your enemie will thrust, and you must not say, I thought he would not thrust, for every one will, in a quarrell, do what his affection leadeth him best unto, except he alter his affection by practice.
Heere followeth the chiefest blows at Sword and
Dagger, and the maner how to
Now for the best advantage, in as plaine maner, as by words I can expresse them, amongst many other blowes, wee will heere observe these three: the first, a wrist blow, a halfe blow, and a quarter blow; everie one of these must bee used in their time and place (as this) sometimes with a wrist blow, thou maiest speed thine enemie when thou canst no hit him with a halfe blow, nor with the a quarter blow, because there is in the delivering of either of the two last blowes, more time spent, for everie blow exceedeth each other, in force, and in quickenesse; this wrist blow will hit thine enemie either head or face, if his points lie anie thing open, or on either side of his head, if he doe looke over either of his weapons: for although he doe see it comming never so plaine, yet he cannot prevent it, if hee had Argus eies, if his weapons be but an inch too lowe, but if your enemie doe lie more open then you may charge him with a halfe blow, or a full quarter blow but the quarterblow serveth best for the legge. If thine enemie doe incroach or gather in upon thee, then strike downe to his legge and beare up thy Dagger over thy head, with the point something sloping towards thy right shoulder, for so thy dagger will save thy head, and the point of thy Sword will hit him on the legge in his owne comming, and the upper part of thy Sword will defend thine owne legge, if he charge thee in thine owne assault; but so soone as thou hast stricken thy blow, recover thy guard hastily againe: the quarter blowe doth fetch a compassse about the head, that although hee come strong, it is not so quick as many other: now there is a washing blowe, which the unskilfull do use much, and with that blow, thou maist hist thy enemie under the Dagger arme, if he be not skilfull, with his Back-sword, for there is no other defence for it, but the Backe-sword onelie.
Then there is a whirling blow, & that is after thou hast weft thy Sword, or flourished him over thine head twice or thrice, thou mayest deliver thy blowe, either to the head or legge, or to what place thou seest most for thine advantage, for it is such an uncertaine blow, that he must be a good player that defendeth it.
Also there is a backe blow which is to be made two waies, the one is a plaine Dunstable way, that is, to fetch thy sword from of thy left shoulder, & so to strike it to the right side of thy enemies head, or to the outside of his right leg, but the cunningest way is to bow thy Sword -elbow ioynt, and with thy knuckles upward, and thy Sword hilt so high as your eare, and then by turning of your sword hand wrist, bend, or proffer the point of thy Sword with a blow towards our enemies dagger eare, by presently turning your wrist, bring the middest of your Sword close over the crowne of thy head, and with a compasse blow, striking it home to his Sword eare, or to the outside of his legge: I cannot with wordes make this blowe so plaine as I would, for I would gladly the ignorant should understand it, for of all the blowes of true play, this is the best, for you may likewise faine it unto the out-side of your enemies head, and strike it home to the other, or unto his side.
Here followeth the false play at Sword and Dagger.
If your enemie be in this guard, as I have heere described by false play, you may cause him to open his guard, but if he lie upon any other guard, then you neede not to falsifie, for you may hit him with true play.
If you would hit your enemie on the right side of the head, then strike a blowe to his foot, but strike it somewhat short, then presently bring it with a back blow to his right eare, the which wil be unguarded, by reason of the carrying his Sword to save his left side, if hee be not the better grounded with experience.
And if you would hit him on the side of his head, the thrust a full thrust at his bellie, turning your knuckles inward, and hee will put downe his dagger to defend it, but then, so soone as you have offered your thrust, presently bring up your Sword close up by the out-side of his dagger elbow, and with a wrist blow strike him on the eare of head, keeping your knuckles inward, till the blow be delivered: with this blow you may hit a good Player, but indeed it is not a very strong blow. Now to hit thy enemie in the foote, is to thrust two or three thrusts short at his face, and then fall it downe to the legge or foote with a blow, for the feare of the daungering of his face with a thrust will make him forget his legge.
Another way is to strike a backe blow strongly to his Sword eare, and presently fall it downe to his foote, for hee seeing it come to his head, not one in twentie, but will wincke, and before he open his eies againe, you may hit him upon his foote or legge.
But the chiefest blow of all for the legge, is to lift up the heele of your Sword hand higher then your head, and tip in the point over your enemies Sword, as though you would hit him in the right eie, but presently bring downe your Sword with a full blowe to the in-side of his legge, for this blow in offering aloft, will sure make him winke and deceive a skilfull man, and in the lifting up of your Sword, you say, Beware your foote, it will serve to him, that you go about to hit him on the head, so hee will lift up his weapons to save the head, but this blow being cunningly delivered commeth downe to the legge, with such celeritie and violence, that hee cannot prevent it, except hee hath beene used to it with much practice, but i seldome misseth if it be cunningly delivered.
Yet there is another deceitful blow for the legge or foote, that is, to strike a backe blow to the sword ware (as before-said) stepping out your foote with you blow alittle, and see that your blow reach but to his Sword, it is enough, but hastily plucke backe your foote, and your Sword in their place, and provide to charge him with a blow to the foote, as hee commeth in to answer your first blow: now in striking at his legge, be a little before hand; for as he maketh a motion of lifting up his Sword to charge you, step in with the same motion, and in falling your point to his legge, you save your owne legge, if he do strike at your legge, then the Dagger must at such a time, defend your head single, which you may well doe, if you beare him alittle the higher, but withall, turne the Dagger point downe towardes the right shoulder.
Also, you may deceive some,. with casting your eies downe, and looking to his foote, and presently strike it home to his head, for with your eie you may deceive him which is not perfect in the deceit.
Certaine reasons why thou maist not strike with
thy weapon in fight.
The first danger is described following the first picture in this booke, and in this manner, the defendor is to take the blow double, or on the Back-sword onely, and then presently to charge him againe with the point, with the which the defender may hit the striker in the face, brest or thigh, as he will himselfe, the like may be done with a staffe, first, defend the blow, and answere quicke with a thrust.
The next danger, if it be with a sword, is this, thou maist breake or bow him, or he may slip out of the hilts, any of these dangers may happen at the very first blow that thou strikest, and if it be a staffe it may likewise be broken, or the pike may flie out, and then thou art not assured whether thy enemy upon such an occasion will take the advantage upon thee, if such a chance doe fall out, therefore beware of striking.
An other hazard by striking is unto the striker, if his enemie the defender doe but slippe his blow by a little with-drawing of his body backe,even as hee seeth the blow come, and so I say by a little withdrawing the body,and also by plucking in his weapon, he that striketh the blow will over-sway his body beyond the compasse of true defence, and so the blow being past, charge him presently with a thrust, for he that striketh his blow will carrie his body in a manner round, so that the blow be not defended, but let slippe, as aforesaid, and then you may hit him in the backe, either with a blow or thrust, if you take your opportunity in making a quicke answere, as more at large of this flight I have shewen in the false play at each weapon, also divers reasons heere and there in this booke, concerning the disadvantage of a blow.
The Authors opinion concerning the oddes
betwixt a left-handed man,
and a right-handed man.
A Left-handed man being skilfull hath oddes against a right handed man being skilfull likewise, one reason is a left-handed man is alwaies used unto a right-handed man, but a right-handed man doth seldome meete with a left-handed man, for in Schooles or such places, where play is, a man may play with forty men, and note meete with too left-handed men, except it be a great chance, another reason is, when a right-handed man doth offer or make play, first unto the left -handed man, then doth he endanger the right-side of his head, although hee doe beare his Dagger to the right-side, yet it doth not defend so strong, nor so sure, as it doth the left, yet unto one that is well instructed with the true skill of the Back-sword, and other rules which belongeth for the best advantage against a left-handed, it wilbe the lesse dangerous or troublesome unto such a one, for he wil presently cal himselfe to minde, when he seeth that he is to encounter against a left-handed man, he will frame himselfe presently to the best guard of defence for that purpose which is the Back-sword, for that is the chiefest weapon to be grounded in, not onely a left-hand, but many other weapons have the true stroke of that weapon, and are guided onely by the rules of the back-sword, even as the helme guids the ship, now if thou offer play, first to the left handed man, thou must be carefull and heedy to recover up thy Back sword againe, presently into his place so quicke as thou canst, or else turne over your Dagger to the right-eare, these very rules likewise must a left-handed man observe to encounter against a right-handed man, yet furthermore I have knowne some right-handed men, that were very skilfull, and verie ready if it had beene to encounter against a right-handed man, but by no meanes would not deale with a left-handed man, and this for want of a good teacher: for the teacher should instruct every one which they doe teach by playing with his left-hand with them, for it is an easie matter to have the oddes of both th hands a like with little practice, and then a man may use which he will, as if a right-handed man were to encounter against a left, and can use both hands alike, then if he play with his left hand against one that is left-handed by nature, it will seeme more crosse, and more dangerous unto him then a left-handed man unto a right, the reason is that two left-handed men seldome meete together, now to end with this one speech according to the vulgar sort, that is an ignorant and a simple man of skill by great and often toyling and moyling of his body, in practicing naturall play, I meane onely that which commeth into his head, and being right-handed meeteth with another right-handed man that is very skilfull, and hath very artificiall play, and yet the unskilfull hath plied so fast and let his blowes fall so thicke, that the skilfull man had enough a doe to defend himselfe, so that the unskilfull hath made such good shift, and defended himselfe contrary unto any mans expectation, that was so experience and saw it, but there is not one of the common streete plaiers in a hundred that can doe the like as I have said before, but not one in five hundred of them, that can upon the point of a weapon hurt or wrong one that is skilfull or cunning, for many of these streete play-ers are so used to bangs, that they care not for a blow with a blunt cudgell, but most of them are fearefull to deale against a sharp weapon, but now to conclude this, with that which toucheth this Chapter, concerning these streete players, which have so well shifted with a cunning player right-handed, the same I say meeting with a left-handed man was not able to defend in a manner one blow in twenty, except it were b falling backe from him, and the cunningest man that his, cannot hit the unskilfullest man that is, if the unskilfull man do continually keepe him out of his reach or distance, for which hath courage without skill, although well prepared, yet wants his armes to fight, but of this it is sufficiently spoken of in the Treatise, in the former part of the Booke.
A briefe of my principall points which I would
have thee keepe in continuall
Now to summe up all the chiefest lessons into one summe, and for order sake wee will foure devisions of them.
The first is to remember to frame thy selfe into thy guard, before thou come within thy enemies distance, and so to approach in guarded.
Secondly, remember if thy enemy charge thee with a blow, at what weapon soever, yet answere him with a thrust presently, after you have bourne the blow double, according to my direction, following the first picture, but if thy enemy charge thee with a thrust, then answere him with a thrust at the nearest place, which lieth unguarded, whether it be his knee or in his making play, your answere may be to his right arme, shoulder or face, all which you shall finde unguarded in time of his profer, now if he have a close hilted dagger, yet with a false thrust thou maist hit him in the Dagger-arme if he fight not very warily, or else in the Dagger -hand if hee have not a close hilted dagger.
[Right margin note: Be constant and steady in a good guard bee slow to make play except thy enemy doe encrease upon thee,]
Thirdly, let not fury over-come thy wits, for in a made fury skill is forgotten, for he which is in drinke or over hasty, such a one in his anger doth neither thinke upon the end of killing, nor feare to bee killed.
Now the fourth and last which should have beene the first, is to remember to keepe a true distance, and if thy enemie do gather and incroach in upon them charge him with a thrust, although thou put it not home, for a thrust will feare him, and he which is in right wits will be loath to come within the reach, or danger of thy weapon, but if thou suffer thy enemy to come within distance, then if thou haddest all the guards in the world, and yet stand still without making play, hee will hit thee in spight of thy teeth, wherefore be doing with him betimes; and he will retreate and fall away from they for his owne ease, Loe, this I wrote, because I would not have thee in an error when thou shouldest have occasion to use thy weapon, as the best defence, for a shot is to stand out of the reach if him, even so the best defence of thy bodie from hurts and skars is to b e proceeded before hand with skill and cunning, and to remember it when thou hast occasion to use it , but if thou want skill, hen keepe out of thy enemies reach; now if thou canst not remember these foure chiefe points before said, yet beare in minde these two, the first is to defend the blow double, keeping both the points upward, and secondly, remember that if thy enemy doe gather in upon thee, thrust to his knee, or whether hee doe gather in or no, yet thrust to his knee or thigh, but at any hand steps not so farre forth with your thrust whereby to endanger your face, but if you doe steppe so farre forth as you can, alwaies have a care to defend with your dagger, but if your enemy do set foorth one foote above halfe a foote distance, then may you hit him in the thigh or knee, and hee cannot reach you so that you doe not adventure further with your thrust, then where his knee did stand when you doe offer, for it may be hee will plucke him away, thereby to save him, but that is no defence for a thrust if it be put in quicke: a man may defend the legge from a blow, by drawing him back, but not from a thrust, but to keepe thy feete in the right place according to my direction following the first picture, and then you are defended, and ready to offend also.
The Authors opinion concerning the Short
Sword and Dagger.
In describing of this weapon I shall account the time ill spent, yet because Short swords are in use and worne of many that would leave them off if that they knew what an idle weapon it were, I meane to encounter against a long Sword and Dagger, or a long Rapier and Dagger, so small is their Iudgement, but onely this, many of them will say it is a better weapon then any of the two foresaid weapons are, but in my monde they may aswell say that chalke is cheese because they are both white, for I have had much triall and great practice with the short sword, yet could never find, nor never wilbe perswaded but that a Rapier foure foote long or longer, hath such great oddes, that I never meane to arme my selfe with a short sword against it; for in my minde and by experience I speake it, there is small skill to be learned with the short sword to encounter as aforesaid, but onely resolution and courage.
He that is valiant and venturous, runneth in, breaking distance, if hee escape both in his going in, and in his comming out unhurt; for a man skilful, in my minde it is as a man would say chance-medly, for if I have the Rapier and Dagger, I will hazard both games, and against any man that holdeth the short sword to be a better weapon, although that George Giller hath most highly commended that short sword & dagger, yet one Swallow maketh not a Summer, nor two Woodcocks a Winter, if a thousand more were of his opinion, yet without all doubt there is a great deale more danger then at Rapier and Dagger; or he that fighteth with a short sword must adventure in pell mell without feare or wit, but have seldome heard or seene any fight with short sword and dagger, although they be each weaponed alike, but one or both commeth most grievous wounded: my reason is the distance is so narrow that a man can hardly observe it, except thy have been both practioners a long time before hand, for if a man practice continually long sword or long Rapier, yet upon such a Challenge goeth into the field with a short sword, then the daunger is greatest of all: aske Augustin Badger, who speaketh highly in praise and commendation of the short sword, for hee hath tried that weapon in the field so often, and made as many tall fraies as any man that ever I heard of or knew since my time, yet hee will say that he never fought in all his life: but was sore and dangerously hurt.
I have knowen some besides my selfe, that have fought with Rapier and Dagger twenty times, and never had one droppe of bloud drawne, and yet were accounted men of sufficient vallour and resolution, those which weare short swords, depend onely upon the taking of the enemies point, which is not to bee done if they meete with with one that is skilfull: I have heard many say in talking familiarly concerning this weapon, if I take the point of your long Rapier, then you are gone, but that is not to be done if thou meete with one that is skilfull except thou canst take thy enemies point in thy teeth, otherwise thou canst never make seasure upon his point, if hee bee skilfull as aforesaid, but indeed it is an easie matter for a man skilfull to take the point of one that is altogether unskilfull; but rather not answer thy enemy untill thou be better weaponed, there are all these excuses to bee framed as in the tenth Chapter of the treatise, there you may find excuses fit for such as weare short Swords, if thou like them not I refer to thy owne wit to frame an excuse; for some shift he must have that weareth such an idle weapon, for in a word a short sword and dagger against a skilfull man with rapier and dagger, I hold it a little better then a tobacco-pipe, or a foxe-tayle, but yet a short sword is good to encounter against a short sword.
Also a short sword is good to encounter against a naked man, I mean a man unweaponed, and it is good to serve in the wars on horse-backe or on foote, yet a Rapier will doe as good service in the wars as a short sword, if a skilfull man have him in hand: we have divers examples of those which come out of the field sore wounded, and they will say it was because their enemy had a handfull or a foot ods in length of weapon upon them; wherefore I say one inch is great ods and enough to kill a man, if they both have skill alike, and doe observe a true distance: yet now you that are as it were married unto short swords, because some will not give their bable for the Tower of London, although another doe not esteeme it worth two-pence, yet a man shall as well drive a dog from a peece of bread, as wrest many from that foolish kind of weapon; againe a sword whether he be long or short, is more wearisome and more troublesome then a rapier, for a sword will weare out your hose and three paire of hangers, before a Rapier doe weare out one paire; but some doe weare their short swords about their neckes in a string, so that they should have occasion to use him, he cannot so readily draw out his sword upon a suddaine, as he which weareth him upon his thigh, but of this fashion of wearing their swords I wil not speake much, because I see it is almost left off, for a man may buy a girdle and hangers for ten groats, which will serve for thy Rapier two or three yeere, and a scarfe will cost ten shillings, and yet be worne out in a fortnight; but I will say no more because many give it over for their owne ease, I holde a short sword for to encounter against a rapier very little better then a tobacco pipe as aforesaid, and so as I began I conclude, yet behold a little helpe for him that weareth it.
A guard for the short sword and dagger to encounter
against the long Rapier and Dagger, or else the
long sword and Dagger.
Keepe your sword hilt so high as your head or higher at the point, hanging slope-wayes down-wards a little wide of your left side, looking under your sword arme with both your eyes, and withall all put out your sword hand as far from your body as you can, I meane towards your enemy, and your dagger downe by your side, as if you meant not to use him at all, according to this picture.
Lying in this guard your body will seeme to your enemy to be very open, inso-much that he will make no reckoning but to hit you sure with a thrust; the which you must defend by breaking it towards your right side, and with the same motion step in with your left leg, which I will call hour hinmost leg, for so he should be untill you have made seisure of your enemies weapon: but so soone as seisure is made consume no time in giving of him leisure to fall backe againe, whereby to recover his point againe, but forthwith answer him as aforesaid, for having brought his long rapier or sword point to passe cleere on the right side of your body, I meane under your right arme, then step in close with your left foot as aforesaid, and make a crosse with your dagger upon his weapon by clapping in with your dagger upon the middest of thy enemies long rapier or Sword, keepe your Dagger point upright when you goe in, and so soone as you have discharged the assize of your sword, you may presently turne up the point of your short sword and thrust, or else you may give a stroke with him whether you will, and to what part of his body you list, and then fall away hastily againe into your guard and distance; knowing this. that by stepping in with your hindmost foote, doth gaine more advantage in ground then you want in length of weapon.
But at any hand suffer your enemy to make the first assault, because hee hath the advantage in length of weapon, and if thy enemy do charge thee with a blow you may defend it upon this hanging guard, but to turne up the point of your sword according to backe-sword rules, & if your enemy charge you with a thrust, you may after seizure made upon his weapon with your sword as before directed; you may presently so soone as you are in with the hindmost foot turne up your sword point and thrust, this offence you may performe without the helpe of your dagger, but yet have a care to prepare your dagger in a readinesse, left in your going in, your enemy doe also come in with you, and although you have his ling weapon at your command without any danger, yet he may stab you with his dagger, except your dagger be in a readinesse to defend; for a thrust of a dagger is as easie to be defended with a dagger, as any thrust is of any other weapon, but if the defender bee overcome with fury, and so thrust both together, then they both are endangered, but to defend is better to offend, and to be offended againe upright according to the rule of the backe-sword, if your defence be upon the hanging guard, then clapping up your dagger and ioyne with him as it were in commission with your sword, and so defend the blow upon both together, now if your enemy will not charge nor make any assault upon you, then I advise you not to gather nor encroach upon him, except you were equally matched in weapon, for you must observe the distance which belongeth to your enemies long weapon for this guard or any other. For this guard is but for a suddaine shift for those that weare short swords, for keeping a large distance a man with small skill may defend himselfe from a longer weapon, so he seek not hastily by gathering in to offend the other; for the best defence of a shot is to stand out of his watch; so the best defence for a short sword man is to observe distance as before said, for he shall fin himselfe work enough to defend himselfe, for not one in twenty which fighteth with the short sword once will desire to go into the field with such a weapon againe.
Now those that do encounter together with short sword, to short sword, I wish them to frame their guard according to my former direction at the long sword and dagger.
If thou frame thy guard according to my former direction as it is here picture, then if your enemy doth falsifie a thrust, and you making account to defend it with your Sword, as before, and in turning in your left side hee double a thrust, he may endanger you greatly; wherefore it behooveth thee not to overcarrie thy Sword upon the first offer, but that you may recover him backe into the place againe; so that if you have a care if you misse the striking by of his Sword on the one side because of his falsifie, you shal meete with him on the other, and so defend your self although you cannot answer whereby to offend him by reason of his falsifie, for upon a false if you make answer, it will be very dangerous to both.
Master. Now my loving scholler I have alreadie described the rules of sixe weapons, which I promised to instruct thee in, but yet I have stumbled by chance upon another weapon, which is as necessarie as anie of the rest; nay more, for without thou be perfect in the skill of this weapon, all the rest will rather bee hurtfull unto thee then do thee good.
Scholler. I praie you, what weapon is that?
Master. Marrie it is faire tongue.
Scholler. Why doe you call the tongue a weapon?
Master. Because at manie times, and for manie purposes, it is the fittest weapon, and the most surest for a mans owne defence, for the tongue at sometimes runneth so at randome, that for want of a bridle like a yong colt overthroweth the rider, although it be but a little thing and seldome seene, yet it is often heard to the utter confusion of manie a man, for the tongue is such a weapon without it bee governed, it will cut worse the anie sword; a nettle is a bad weed in a garden, but the tongue will sting worse then a nettle, and pricke deeper then a thorne, likewise manie men are taken by the tongues as birds are taken by the feete, therefore a faire tongue or a tongue governed well, will better keep and defend thy bodie from prison, if thou at anie tine be committed by the Magistrates when thy Sword will hinder thee if thou trust unto thy manhood.
Scholler. If I fight with no other weapon, but with a faire tongue, the world will condemne mee, and terme me for a coward.
Maister. A faire tongue is more necessarie for a valorous man, then a good weapon for a coward, for thou shalt heare: for with a faire tongue thou maiest passe through watch and ward, if thou do chance to travell in the night by occasion, and thou bee late from thy lodging, at such a time this is a principall weapon, and shall more prevaile then thy Sword, or any other weapon whatsoever.
Againe, a faire tongue is an excellent weapon, if thou hap in drunken company, and there fall to quarrelling; in such a case, if thou draw thy weapon, if it were as if a man should quench a great fire with a bundle of flaxe, for at such a time, and in such a company, if a man draw his weapon, he may soone be killed as kill, for drunkards and madde men are all alike during time of the drinke.
Also a faire tongue is a principall weapon to carry with thee, if thou chance to travell into anie strange countrey: for if an iniurie be offered in a place where thou are not acquainted or unknowne, thou maiest be oppressed with more then one, for birds of a feather will holde together; and many will hold on the bigger side, for where the hedge is lowest, the beast will soonest get over, but in such a case be well armed with patience for thy Buckler. and a faire tongue for thy Sword, and thy hand readie on thy hatte to doe reverence to everie vassall, although thou be a Gentleman, for the richest man that is, and the strongest man that ever was, did, and must pocket up an injurie in his owne Countrey, much more it is lesse disgrace to thee to put up an iniurie in a strange place, if an occasion be offered, the rather bestirre thy selfe with a faire tongue, then with thy sword; for in such a case thy sword will availe thee nothing at all.
Scholer. All this while with this weapon you have not taught me how I should defend my point.
Maister. Now I will tell thee, with a faire tongue, thou mayest save thy money many times, by promising much, and performing little, especially where little is deserved, for those which deserve little. a faire promise will passe, in a manner, as currant as thy money: I have known many Musitions many times paid with faire words: and now that it commeth into my minde I will tell thee a tale (as I have heard it reported:) How King Dyonisius rewarded a crew of Musitions which came to him with excellent Musicke, and after the Musicke was ended, come againe to me to morrow said the King, and I will give you a thousand talents; the which promise founded to a sweete and pleasant tune in the Musitions eares: But in the morning they came, expecting the Kings reward, according to his promise: But the King looked strangely upon them, and asked them what they would have, And it like your Highnesse, said one of the chiefest of them, we are come for your gracious reward which you promised us. What was that, said the King? A thousand talents said the Fidler. Why said the king, Is not that out of thy head yet? thy Musicke is quite out of mine, thou pleasedst my eares with thy musick for the present,& I likewise filled thy eares with a pleasant sound of so much money: to our matter againe.
A faire tongue, and kinde behavior winneth favor, both with God and men, whereas those which can not governe their tongues are seldome at quiet; but always punished or vexed with the Law, and troubles in the Lawe consume much money, which with discretion might be kept by governement of the tongue.
Now by the hieway, if a carelesse roister in his own name require thee to stand, and by vertue of his owne warrant doth require thy purse; in such a danger, and in such a case betake thy selfe to thy weapon, rather then trust to thy tongue: for to speake faire unto some in such a case will availe thee nothing at all, but yet for all that, a faire tongue is a precious balme to beare about thee although it bee not sufficient to heale wounds, yet it may be a preservative to keepe thee without hurts: all the comfort thou canst have of thy dearest friends is but little else then bodily sustenance, nay of thy kind and loving wife which is or should be thy greatest comfort in life under God, if she I say do all that ever shee can to pleasure thee, yet thou maist hap to find in this booke, if thou reade it over, one lesson or other which may stead thee, or do thee more pleasure then all thy other friends: for here are many things written by me, that peradventure thou maist seeke after a greate while, and yet not fine them else-where, and so farewell.
Scholler. Yet stay I pray you, resolve me in two questions more afore you goe.
Master. What are they?
Scholler. First I would know what oddes a tall man of stature hath against a little mans stature, and the oddes that a strong man hath against a weake man.
Master. Indeed these are questions which I did meane to write of in my next booke, and therefore will but little touch them at this time, but for my beginning or proofe of this matter the better to encourage little men to take heart of grace, and not to dismaied by the high lookes of a tall man, nor feared by their great bragges, that is an old saying, goeth I never saw, saith the proverb, a little man borrow a stoole to breake a tall mans head, and this proverb runneth throughout the world, as the corrant through the Gulfe which our Marrinors doe speake of in the way to the Indies.
Againe, it is not common to see a tall man valorous and skilfull withall, but generally, little men are valorous although not skilfull, now if the tall man be skilfull, the little man must for his advantage, suffer the tall man to proffer him play first, but then upon the little mans defence presently, with the same motion steppe forth with the foote and hand, and so by a quicke answere endanger the tall man: now if the tall man be not skilfull, whereby to steppe forth with his hand and foote together, when hee maketh play to the little man, then the little man skilfull herein, getteth three foote at the least by answering every assault that the tall man maketh by stepping forth with the foote and hand as beforesaid; but this must be thy helpe and this must be thy care, though a little man alwaies suffer the tall man to make play first, especially if he be skilfull, and then be nimble with the answere, stepping it home with thy foote and hand together, according to the first picture, for what thou wantest in reach, is gotten by thy comming.
There is another old saying going thus, a tall man is so faire a marke, that a little man skilfull cannot misse him, and a short man is so little and so nimble, that if he have but a little skill, a tall man cannot hit him for with his weapons, and a good guard in a manner hee will cover all his whole body with his weapons. Lo this is my opinion, I doe not say all other are of my minde, for there is an saying goeth thus, so many men, so many mindes, what other mens opinion is, I have not to doe withall, but this I can say of my owne knowledge, that I have not knowen one tall man among twenty, that hath good skill, nor sufficient valor answerable unto their statures, for tall men are more fearfull then men of a meane stature, for I have seene the triall both in warres and in single combat; yet take me not up before I bee downe, for doe not here condemne all tall men of personage, for so I should greatly over-shoote my selfe, and greatly wrong many tall men of stature and vallour, and also of good resolution, but yet all of then are not so, wherefore what I have said, it is to encourage little men of meane stature, having skill not to feare any man upon good occasion, those that spend their daies without practicing skil in weapons, so that when they are wronged they fall to wishing: oh I would to God I had skill in my weapon, for then would I answere the wrong that such a man, and such a man hath done mee, but not to maintaine any quarrell, left they loose their lives for want of experience, as many of them have done.
Scholler. Now as you have promised me, I pray you let me heare your opinion concerning the oddes between a string man of stature, and a little or a weake man of stature and strength.
Master. Then this briefly is my opinion, a strong man hath greate oddes at the gripe, or in a close at any blunt weapon, but upon the point of a sharpe weapon, in a fight a strong man hath small or no oddes at all of the little or weake man, wherefore I would not have a little man bee afraide of a tall or over growne man, no although he were farre bigger then a man, for in performance of any things to be done with weapons, there is no more to be found in the best of them of great stature upon triall, then is in the ordinary men, or then is in a little or weake man, nay many times the little or weake man doth as good or better service in the face of the enemy upon the point of the weapon then the taller man doth, for although his stature is small, yet commonly a little mans heart is bigge.
Observations for a Scholler or any other.
What length thy weapon should be.
How you should button your foiles for your practice.
An easie way to weapon thy selfe at time of need.
Let thy Rapier or Sword be foure foote at the least and thy Dagger two foote, for it is better have the Dagger too long then too short, and rather hard than soft, for a short dagger may deceive a skilfull man his defence, either of blow or thrust: I have often knowen a soft dagger cut in twaine with a Rapier.
Let thy Staffe of practice be seaven or eight foote, and better, button both thy foiles and thy staves before the practice with them, for otherwise the unskilfull may thrust out one anothers eyes, yea although there was no harme meant, yet an eye may be lost except the occasion be prevented.
To make your buttons take wooll or flocks, and wrappe it round in leather so bigge as a Tennis-ball, then make a notch within a halfe an inch of your woodden foile or staffe, but if it be an Iron foile, then there be an Iron button rivetted on the point, so broad as two pence, and take your button being made as beforesaid, and set in on the end of your Staffe or Foile likewise, and then take leather and draw hard upon it, and binde it with Shoomakers-ends of parck-thread in the notch, and another leather upon that againe, for one leather may bee worne out with a little practice.
Now if thou have a quarrell and willing to answer, and not being furnished with a Rapier, then take a cudgell of what length thou wilt thy selfe, and make a shoulder within a handfull of the ende of it by cutting him halfe way through, and there binde the haft of thy knife, and so the shoulder will keepe him from slipping backe, and this is as sure and as fearefull, and as good as a Rapier to encounter against a Rapier and Dagger, or a Sword and Dagger, so that you have close hilted Dagger: likewise you may tie a point at the But-end of the Cudgell, to put in thy finger that thy Cudgell slippe not out of thy hand: this weapon I have made good proofe of, but it was in another Country, where I could get no other weapon to my minde.
This Chapter sheweth the severall kinde
of weapons which are to be
[Transcription note: This is the second “Chap. XII”.]
Now one thing more unto the vulgar sort concerning the severall sorts of weapons, because unto many it seemeth so strange, that if a Master of Defence should tell them that he can teach thee skill at Fence at twelve severall sorts of weapons, they will straight-way say, that there are not so many, now for their further satisfaction, they shall heare the division of more then twenty sorts of weapons, which Masters of this Noble art of Defence, are, or, else ought to be expert therein, like unto a skilfull Cooke which can of sort of meate make diverse dishes, or like the cunning Physition, who can with a hearbe being diversely compounded, make it serve to divers purposes and uses: to which effect my meaning is. that an expert Master of Defence can of one kinde of weapon make many, as by this sequell following shall appeare, all these weapons have been plaied as in Challenges, here in England at severall times.
Of the Sword are derived these seaven.
|The two hand Sword.
Sword and Dagger.
Sword and Buckler.
Short Sword and Dag-
The short Sword and
The Bastard Sword, the
Which Sword is some-
thing shorter then a
long Sword, and yet
longer then a Short-
Now with the Rapier seaven
|The first Rapier and
The single Rapier.
The case of Rapiers.
The Rapier and Cloake.
The Rapier and Target.
The Rapier and Gantlet.
The Rapier and Pike.
The Dutch Fauchin.
The single Dagger.
Backe-sword against sword
The Welch-hooke or
The Rapier and Dagger
Likewise Rapier and
Dagger, or Sword
and Dagger against
a Staffe or Haul-
Also the Staffe against a Flaile.
Single Rapier against
Now my seconde booke which is already in hand shall shew my judgement , and chiefest rules according unto my practice at all these severall weapons, it death doe not prevent me before I have accomplish my pretence, yet for doubt thereof, the defence of the Staffe with a Rapier and Dagger, or the Sword and Dagger I will give thee a little direction, which being practiced it may stead thee as much as thy life is worth, I doe this the rather, and for because that the Staffe is a weapon which many men doe carry, and with skill it hath great oddes against either of the two aforesaid weapons, but yet because everie man which carrieth a weapon, hath the prefect skill in that weapon which hee carrieth, but admit that he hath good skill, yet in knowing the best Defence, it may prevent thee from a danger.
Now thou must remember if thou bee charged upon with a Staffe, suddenly summon up thy wits in that which before hand thou hath learned for thy Defence, and thinke this with thy selfe; I am now to encounter against a Staffe: why then thus frame thy guarde, put thy Dagger across on the in-side of thy Rapier or Sword, and let the crosse bee made within halfe a foote of thy Rapier or Sword-hilt, bearing up both thy hilts even so high as thy cheeke, looking with both thy eyes betwixt both thy weapons
Thus being guarded, it may bee, that thine enemie will charge thee with a thrust, forbecause thy breast will seeme most open to him, the which and if hee doe, then turne downe the point of thy Rapier and Sword, and with thy Dagger force him downe which will bee a stronger Defence then with one alone: and thus by turning downe both thy points together, strike thine enemies thrust of thy Staffe towards thy right side: Loe, thus doe me with both thy weapons; then will thine enemies thrust passe cleare under thy right arme, but neyther with the Sword not yet with the Dagger alone; the thrust of a staffe is not to be defended without greater danger then with both of them, as before that beene rehearsed.
Now and if thine enemie doe chaunce to charge thee with a blow, thereby thinking to drive both thy Rapier and Dagger, or Sword and Dagger unto thy head: For I have knowne many to be of that opinion with me. But a blowe of a Staffe, strucke at the head, may be defended with the single Sword or Rapier according unto the Backe-sword rule: but to beare thy Dagger with thy Rapier or Sword, that is the most sure way, keeping both thy points upright, and so to beare them towards the right side, or to thy left side, according as thou shalt perceive thine enemie charge thee.
Thus will I heere conclude and make an end with this short direction concerning this one weapon, because I have spoken something already touching and concerning this purpose, although it not so ample as now it is, and yet heereafter (by Almightie God good helpe) I will speake more and large here of, this onely serveth but to rowze up your spirites, that you may the better prepare your selfe for the next. The horse starteth at the Spurre, so (in love) I pricke you forward in this commendable Art: and so, I hope, that this Whetstone will make your blunt Wittes somewhat sharper: Golde is not put in the fire to be consumed, but to bee purified; even so I hope, the travell which I have taken heerein will not make you prove worse, but rather somewhat the better in all goodnes.
F I N I S.
My farewell to Plimouth.
Most noble Plimouth, the great love which I found in thee amongst both rich and poore, now drawes me backe againe to give thee a kind and heartie farewell, and yet at this time I yeeld but onlie thanks as my pay-Mistresse, but yet I desire not to die indebted, without making some better recompence to some of my chiefest well-willers and friends, if my abilitie proove answerable to my mind: for a Christmasse banquet may be requited at Easter, and so when I am better able I will make amends; but yet me thinks I should not leave so famous a towne with such a threed-bare fare-well, but here may a question arise of those which know it not, why it should be more famous then any other towne? which I will tell thee, set her wealth and riches aside, yet for that onlie not the like towne in this land of her bignesse I meane so long as the wars continued, she is also famous for her strong fortification, but more famous for her entertainment; for twentie thousand strangers have had upon a suddaine good and sufficient lodging, and other necessaries; yea, whether they have had mony, or not, but most famous of all for her gallant harbours, for a thousand shippes may safely ride, and all within halfe a league of the Towne; it is the chiefe arriving place for all the South and Weast Countries: and in a word, the onely Key of England. In the time of warres Plimmouth flowed, as it were, with milke and hony, and then it flourished with Gallants great store, tracing the streetes so thicke in swarmes like as at Westminster in a Terme time, and although many of them went away without bidding thee farewell,; yet I will, as it were, bite thee by the finger, because thou shalt remember me, for if it bee not possible for the mother to forget her childe, then (without all peradventure) I shall never forget thee: Once thou wert a golden place, but now an yron or a leaden towne, I meane, in a manner turned upside downe, which makes me sory, and many more; but yet be of good cheare, for after a storme cometh a calme: plucke up thy heart, and let it not grieve thee to see a King content with his kingdome; for if it were not so, it should be so.
Although of late thy purse hath had a strong purgation, which maketh some of you shrinke up the shoulders like a Spaniard, and hang downe the head like a bull-rush, and repenting your selves, that you had not kept the goods better which you got in time of warres; and this mee thinketh I heare some of you say your selves: Oh what a foole was I that tooke not Time by the fore-locke before he did passe away, but must now catch at her balde pate, where is nothing to holde by: let it not grieve thee, for if thou hadst those goods againe, they would consume like butter against the Sunne: for as it is not possible to keepe the Indian beefe sweete two dayes, with all the salt in the world, no more is the goods got by the warres to be of any continuance, no although a man had them that were as wise as wit could make them, but it seldome commeth into such mens hands, but rather unto such as resemble Rufus the Ruffian which had God pictured on the in side of his Target, and the divel on the out-side, with this poesie on the in-side, If thou wilt not have mee, the other shall: as not caring whether he went to God or the divell: many such fellows attend upon the fortunes of the war, making havocke and spoile, and many times murthering those that never meant hurt unto them not their king for whom they fight: for yet such, as I say, make no conscience, but as the Proverb goeth, Robbe Peter t and pay Paul, accounting all fish which commeth to the net, getting it by hooke or by crooke, some out of Judas bag, and some of the divels budget: for I have seene a man of warre, as hungry upon a poore Fisherman, as they would be on a Carioke, as those that have seene men of warre, have seene how unconscionably Rufus the ruffian and his fellows have dealt with those poor Fishermen whose whole estate, for maintenance both for their wives, and children, did relie upon gains, which the poore men by great paines did get with their bote, yet so hard-hearted have these men of war beene unto those poore Fishers, their neither for the teares of the olde men, which for greife would beate their heads against the shippe side, yet neither this not the pittifull complaint of the yong men, for all their yeelding and kneeling, yet would they take away their fish, their meat and drinke, and their cloths from their backs, their sailes from their yards, yet not so contented, but in the end set them ashore, and either sinke their boate or burne him aboord the man of warre, to the utter undoing of many a poore man; now judge whether it would be possible, that these goods so gotten can prosper, for they are gotten with no better a conscience then a strumpet getteth her money; and therefore it will prosper no better; for looke what a strumpet getteth of twenty, shee spendeth it upon one which shee doth love and affect above all the rest: even so, many souldiers and men of warre, what spoyles they get, they are not long in spending of it: but as the Poverbe goeth, Light come, and light goe, ill got, and wickedly spent: for they put it into a bottomless bagge, which never holdes thrift long.
Loe, thus my opinion you have heard, and I yeeld up my verdict this, That the goods which is gotten by the warre, is ill gotten: and he which hath but one peny worth of ill gotten goods in his house, God will sent a curse upon all the rest: then let us pray for peace, rather then warres, and every man learne to labor with his hands, to maintaine spending: wherefore set thy witte and thy hands to labour, and turne over the leafe; I meane, learne a new lesson, for looke what is gotten with labour, will bee spent with discretion, or else kept with warinesse; and so I greete not onely Plimmouth alone, but all Devonshire and Cornewall, with as many kinde commendations, as it is possible for my Penne to expresse, and all I protst with true loved from my heart, and so I leave you, with a thousand Farewells to you all.
Your ever-loving friend,
The Authors Conclusion
Now (gentle Reader) I doe intreate thee to beare with my rudenesse, I am no Scholler., for I do protest I never went to Schoole six moneths in all my life, not I never did write one lone of this Booke by the direction of any other teacher; nor did I ever aske the opinion of any other Professor, since the time that I was first taught, and that was when I was yong; and then I had some of my skil in London, and some in other palces, where it was my chance to travell. Againe, I did write this Booke by peecemeale; for after I first beganne, I left off writing a weeke, and sometimes a moneth together, before I writ againe; and so forgetting oftentimes what I had written before. Againe, some chiefe notes I have left out, which I tought I had written of before: wherefore they shall follow in my seconde Booke. Now (Gentle Reader) for thy benefit I have begunne, if there be any other that find fault, and cannot amend it, let them judge of their wit that heare them talke: but i I shall heare those my selfe speake against this Booke which doe not goe about to amend it, then if they were as good as Geirge a Greene, yet would I not be feared with deedes, much lesse with words, but with weapons, for this Booke was printed in halfe, at the earnest request of some friends of mine. Also I wrote to profite those that can not come where Teachers are: and againe, there are few which teach this Arte that doe travell, the reason is, as I thinke, they are little set by when they come into the country amongst you: Now it is not enough to have this booke in thy pocket, but to exercise thy with all, that thereby thou maist have the perfect skill thereof in thy head, and so praying thee to excuse me in the grosse penning of it, and beare with me a little the rather in that I was never a Scholler, as I said before, and as it is plainely appeareth by the grosse penning of it, but my folly herein shalbe upon my head, yet I pray thee let it passe a little the ratherm and give it your good wordm for because i have taken paines in hope to doe thee good, but not for any gaine (I protest before God) byt onely because I know it so laudable an exercise, and more commendable the any other, wee see daily these bookes scoffed at, which were made by learned and good Schollers, for if there were one which excell ten thousand, yet ever one will not speake well of him, but he shall have in spite of his teeth back-biters and fault-finders, much more my slefe being the left of then thousand must not stabbe every one which will speake in discommendations, both of me and mny Booke, but if I may escape handsomely from scoffes and mockes of such Idiates which are usually contemnors of such laudable exercises: then I accompt that I have made a good hand.
For herein I have showen but my owne opinion and judgement in setting out this booke, now I doe not say it is other mens opinions: for none but my slefe was counsell, nor had any hand in this matter; therefore I make no question that other men are of other mnindes, yet observing these rules, and bearing these lessons in memory, they may serve thy turne aswell as they have served mine al the daies of my life hetherto: but yet beleeve what you list of it, and leave what you like not, now if in my good intention and true meaning I bee undeservedly wronged, I thinke it wilbe by none but such pot-companions which cudgell there wites and beate their braines to shift for mony to that use which often-times males the sonne so hardy as to call his father knave, or worse.
Now if my booke doe come unto the view of any such, I will impute it unto the Idlenesse of their braine, or unto the spitefulnesse of an envious minde, which will never commend nor allow any other mans man-hood, opinion of judgement to bee so good as their owne, not mcuh like unto the proude Pharizee, who said that his life in all respect was better then any other, now mistake mee not, for I doe not say so, because you should thinke that this worke cannot bee mended, for it is farre from my thought to thinke that this booke is so wel penned as to be without fault, or to please all, neither is it so wel as it might have beene, if my leisure would have served me to amend some faults which I know in it my selfe, indeed, I must confesse that there are many in this land of this noble and worthy art besides my selfe, which might have taken this matter in hand, because many of them are most fit both for wisdome and learning, but I see they have not gone about it, wherefore if any blame me for shewing my god will, I hope those which have knowen mee and seene my behaviour wil answere for me with reasonable speech against those which object against me: no, if reason will not rule them, but like Ballams Asse, will strive agaisnt weapons, then I pray you referre the quarrell unto myselfe,and let me answere my owne wrong which I have done them heerein, for I had rather loose my life in defence of my reputation and credit, if there were such a danger in fighting, then nyfriend should loose one drop of bloud in my quarrell: therefore while I am living, wrong me not, for hee which fighteth for another, seeketh his owne distruction,
so praying you if I have offended any, let me
answere it my selfe while I am living, for
when I am dead hee deales un-
christianlike, that will a-
buse me: and so
Thine ever to helpe that hereafter in
what I may,