George Silver's Brief Instructions

Brief Instructions
Interpretted

Upon My Paradoxes of Defense for the true handling of all Manner of weapons together with the four grounds and the four governors which governors are left out in my paradoxes without the knowledge of which no man can fight safe.
     By George Silver, Gentleman
     [1599 Sloane MS No. 376]

Original Transcription

[Editor's Note: Here follows a transcription of the manuscript of George Silver entitled 'Brief Instructions upon My Paradoxes of Defense.' Silver's treatise is the most thorough Elizabethan English fencing manual addressing the use of the single sword in 'English' style. Although it addresses many weapons common in the late 16th Century (pike, quarter staff, long sword, rapier, and a variety of others) the fight at single sword receives the most thorough attention. This transcription is provided as a study aide for students of Academia della Spada's back sword curriculum but is published generally in the hope of advancing study of Silver's approach to the sword. In its current state it is a work-in-progress and will be edited as errors are discovered and interpretation refined. The editor would greatly appreciate criticism and commentary which may be addressed to Nathan Barnett]

Table of Contents
     To the Reader
     Admonitions
     Chapter 1 - The four grounds or principals of that true fight at all manner of weapons
     Chapter 2- Certain general rules which must be observed in the perfect use of all kind of weapons.
     Chapter 3 - A declaration of all 4 general fights to be used at double or single weapons long or short...
     Chapter 4 - Of the Short single sword fight against the like weapon
     Chapter 5 - Of diverse advantages that you may take by striking from your ward at the sword fight
     Chapter 6 - The manner of certain grips and closes to be to be used at that single sword fight and co
     Chapter 7 - Of the short sword and dagger fight against the like weapon
     Chapter 8 - Of the short sword and dagger fight against the long sword
     Chapter 9 - Of the Sword and Buckler fight
     Chapter 10 - Of the twohand sword fight against the like weapon
     Chapter 11 - Of the short staff fight, being convenient length, against the like weapon
     Chapter 12 - Of the short staff fight against the long staff
     Chapter 13 - Of the fight of the forrest bill against the like weapon and against the staff
     Chapter 14 - Of the fight of the Morris pike against the like weapon
     Chapter 15 - Of the single dagger fight against the like weapon

To the Reader
&
Admonitions

[Editor's Note: To avoid confusion, the introductory passages 'To the Reader' and 'Admonitions' have been removed from the interpretive portion. These sections provide excellent examples of Jacobean prose, strong arguments in favor of a particular school of fence, and an interesting glimpse into an ancient world the flavor of which would only be marred by 'interpretation' or an effort to render them in modern prose. Please find these sections in the Sloan manuscript or transcribed.] Original Transcription

Brief Instructions upon my paradoxes of Defense
for the true handling of all manner of weapons
together with the four grounds and the four governors
which governors are left out in my paradoxes
without the knowledge of which no man can fight safe.

Chapter 1
There are 4 'Grounds' or 'Principals' (the terms are used interchangeably) and Four Governors. These two sets of guidelines are essential to all hand-to-hand weapons:
  1. Judgement
  2. Distance
  3. Time
  4. Place
These Principals (preferred term in this text) are essential because
  • Judgement (discernment of the components and subtelties of the fight) enables recognition Distance.
  • Distance (effective range between two opponents) you control the time in which assaults and wards can be made.
  • Time (temporal units in which an action may take place--a very subtle but essential trait) can be manipulated to safely win or gain the 'True Place' of your adversary&em;
  • with True Place one can safely strike, thrust, ward, close, grip (wrestle), slip (a short movement to escape your oponent's assault) or go back (a large movement backwards - often 'fly back'). Thus you can assault or go safe while your oponent can not because his action requires more time than your own. Acquiring True Place is the ultimate goal of Silver's Fight. The oponent is vulnerable because he must adjust his feet to offend or defend while the agent is safe and can attack at will.
Original Transcription

The reason whereof these 4. grounds or principles be the first and the chiefest are the following because through Judgment, you keep your distance, through distance you take your time, through time you safely win or gain the place of your adversary, the place being won or gained, you have time safely either to strike, thrust, ward, close, grip, slip or go back, in the which time your enemy is disappointed to hurt you, or to defend himself, by reason that he hath lost his true Place, the reason that he hath lost his true place is by the length of time through the number of his feet, to which he is of necessity driven to that will be agent. Original Transcription

The 4 governors are:

  1. Judgement - knowing whether your adversary can reach you and whether you can reach him. The two are quite distinct. Also to recognise the quality of his position and ward, what he can do, and when and how he can perform it.
  2. Measure - the time required for each opponent to endanger the other (by covering distance), specifically as it pertains to achieving True Place.
  3. & 4. A Twofold Mind - as you advance you must be prepared to fly back (retreat), and vice versa

Chapter 2
Certain general rules which must be observed in the perfect use of all kind of weapons.

1. Before engaging, consider the ground for good footing or any obstacles, take a good ward before you come into measure with your enemy, and use advantages such as the sun or uneven ground against your opponent. Original Transcription

2. Use good wards based on your opponent's position and gaurd. Stay out of range until you are ready.so he must step in to reach you. If he advances, you have the choice of 3 Actions available to counter his attack: Original Transcription

  • Before - Strike or thrust at that instant when he enters range (usually at the hand/arm).
  • During - Defend with a parry, then strike or thrust, remembering to be ready to fly out.
  • After - Slip a little back and strike or thrust after him (usually at the hand/arm).

BUT, whenever you are attacked move back a little to gain time and to deprive him of a 'perfect' shot.

Stay within good measure. If he retreats press without accidentally giving him the advantage - always ready to move back yourself if he should suddenly press. Original Transcription

Stay outside his measure. Defend with distance.Original Transcription

You must understand 'True Place' - where he or you can be struck without a step. Keep your enemy at measure until you can safely defend or counter attack.

It is argued that men fight safely 'at the halfsword' (in close measure) - this is because they were in True Place upon entering.

Always be defended from both cut and thrust. Defend cuts by being out of measure. Defend thrusts by being able to interpose sword if they assault ('stay behind a steel wall'). Never presume your hand is faster than your oponent's. From within measure, the first to move will be the first to hit.

4. When your enemy presses he will be open or be weak somewhere regardless of his weapon(s) or gaurd. Strike or thrust at his closest open (or weak) part.Original Transcription

5. When pressing, always use good guards, remembering distance and the twofold mind, but when he presses and comes into measure, strike or thrust.Original Transcription

If he attacks, ward and counter from your ward, and fly back instantly, remembering governors. You can spring clear at least as quickly as your opponent advances provided it is only a step or two. That said, never run backwards.

6. Against variable fight, attack whatever is closest and then fly back. That is, attack anything he puts in range, then slip clear again.Original Transcription

7. If two fight at close measure in the variable fight, they will both be wounded.

8. Watch your enemy's ward and, when he approaches take a counterward and strike or thrust, ever ready to fly back or persue (twofold mind), Original Transcription

9. Displace yourself from in front of your enemy if at all possible. He will have to move his feet before he can attack and you will have a time in which to attack and fly back.Original Transcription

10. Whenever you are attacked, move the back foot circularly away from the assault. This improves your defense and puts you in a better position to counter.Original Transcription

Chapter 3
A declaration of all 4 general fights to be
Used with the sword at double or single,
Long or short, and with certain
Particular rules to them annexed

1. Open fight - hand and hilt above your head, point up or back (preferred).Original Transcription

2.Gardant fight - 2 sorts:

  1. True Gardant fight - hand and hilt above your head with point down your left knee, sword somewhat near your body, not out but declining where it cannot be reached. Stand bolt upright in this fight. If he press, bear your head and body back.Original Transcription

    Don't lean forward.Original Transcription

    Don't let your sword extend too far from your knee or your enemy may strike it aside and clear the path for an attack.

  2. Bastard gardant fight - hand and hilt below your head, chest high or lower with your point towards your left foot. Only for close measure (i.e. at the cross) in order to come to grips.
Original Transcription

The second is bastard gardant fight which is to carry your hand and hilt below your head, breast hie or lower with your point downward toward our left foot, this bastard gardant ward is not to be used in fight, except it be to cross your enemyís ward at his coming in to take the grip of him or such other advantage, as in divers places of the sword fight is set forth. Original Transcription

3. Close fight - when your measure is close enough to allow your swords to cross or engage. It includes forehand, true, and bastard gardant wards.Original Transcription

Close is all manner of fights wherein you have made true cross at the halfsword with your space very narrow and not crossed, is also close fight. Original Transcription

4. Variable fight - all other wards, chiefly these 4:

  • Stocatta: right leg forward, hilt beside your right thigh with point towards your enemy (with dagger, keep your dagger out, point up, tip of your dagger near but behind your hand. Or dagger hand held out (as above) with rapier low and outside.
  • Imbrocatta - your hilt above your head, knuckles up and point towards your enemyís face or breast.
  • Mountanta - your pommel in the palm counterbalanced by your little finger and your hand below, point at your enemy's face or beast, as with imbrocata.
  • Passatta - As Stocatta, but left foot forward and hilt slightly higher. With dagger, point forward with tips close.
  • Any other ward.
Original Transcription

Also any other kind of variable fight or lying whatsoever a man can devise not here expressed, is contained under this fight. Original Transcription

Chapter 4
Of the Short single sword fight against
the like weapon

1. If your enemy is in Open or True Gardant fight and strikes at the left side of your head or body, defend with True Gardant ward. If he seeks to grapple, you may easily counter.Original Transcription

2. If he does not not come in, instantly uncross and strike his head, and fly out.Original Transcription

3. If you defend a high blow with forehand ward, be very cautious or defend by distance because it is easy to deceive forehand ward from above. Distance is your best defense.Original Transcription

4. If he attacks from Open or True Gardant you may endanger him if you thrust at his hand, hilt, or Arm with knuckles down (in 1st position), but fly back immediately.Original Transcription

5. If he attacks the left side of your head from Open Fight, defend by distance unless you are absolutely certain he will not deceive you. In this case you may counter by blow, thrust or grip.Original Transcription

6. If he is in Open Fight and you are in variable fight (Stocatta or Pasatta) then you cannot defend with gardant because it will be too slow. Better to defend in forehand ward but be sure to use distance to make him come in.Original Transcription

7. When two fight from Open Fight, if the first to come in attacks to the head he will be struck himself if the patient strikes at his head and slips a little back [and to the agent's sword side-ed.] because that sliding back makes an 'indirection' so the patient's blow covers his own head.Original Transcription

8. Again, if two fight in Open Fight, it's better to strike (ie cut) his head when he comes in than to thrust because the cut makes a good defense ('true cross') and defends his own head. Original Transcription

9. If he charges with an assault from high and you counter from gardant with your head and body leaning forward (imperfect gardant), the distance between your sword and his ('space') will be to great to defend, jeapordizing your arm and head. He will be able to hit you in the time of the hand and body because you are leaning in or he will be able to grapple. Original Transcription

But if you maintain a perfect gardant (head and body upright) then he cannot grapple or strike without coming in where you can strike or grapple with him. Then you can strike him (remembering your governors) and fly out.

10. If he presses aggressively charging in Open or Gardant fight, any assault he makes can be warded while striking him as appears in the 5th chapter. Original Transcription

11. If your oponent stays in Gardant all the time, cut and thrust constantly so he is constantly in danger and grows tired. Because he stays in his ward he is a known target while you are unknown. Original Transcription

Moreover, because he stays in just one fight, he will get tired while you may use all four. Original Transcription

12. But if he still presses in, go to grips as in the chapter on grips. He can't hurt you because he is moving his feet and you are countering in the time of the hand or hand and body. Original Transcription

Do the same with sword and dagger or sword and buckler, replacing a strike for the grips, and then throw him and fly out. Ha!

13. If both are in Gardant, either may safely press in because the lines are close (come to halfsword), but you cannot stay there or you will not be able to defend your head. The reason is because the agent is in the time of the foot or feet and risks losing advantage if he stays still. Original Transcription

14. If he presses in Bastard Gardant (i.e. in pressing he drops his hand), you may uncros and strike him in the head - because he has gained you the place - and then fly out. Original Transcription

15. Again, against Bastard ward at close, strike in the head. Original Transcription

16. If he charges in Stocatta, stay back and keep your options open. Do not be hasty but keep your distance because this fight is very dangerous. Original Transcription

You may also use this fight, against the long sword, or long rapier, single and double

'Some shallow-witted fellow might say' that the defender will be driven back. He must instead move circularwise to keep his distance and move forward as well as back. The agent will defeat himself because the number of his feet is too many and the patient agent is an unknonw target.

17. If the Agent say he will stand still at wide measure, Silver answers if two skilled men come to fight then the skilled swordsman need have no fear. The distance prevents a close fight and reduces randomness. Original Transcription

18 Also if he presses in Stocatta or other variable fight with point low and 'large paced', lie aloft in Gardant or Open and he cannot reach you if you keep your distance without using the time of the foot. Thus you can reach him in the time of the hand or hand/body and he will be within reach. Original Transcription

19. Note that your sword should be of reasonable length even for this counter. Original Transcription

If from variable he attempts a cut at your head or body, parry in forehand

20. If he is in Passata, defend in Open so you have the advantage of time which fight being truly handled is advantage invincible.' Original Transcription

21. If he is in Imbrocatta, take forehand with your point close to his and close out his sword as quickly as possible and strike or thrust. Then fly out remembering your governors. Original Transcription

22. If he strikes or thrust at your leg he cannot reach unless your knee is bent. Hit him in the arm or upperbody. Original Transcription

But if your oponent has a bent front knee, strike at it and fly out.

23. If you are crossed with points high, press his sword over forcibly and punch him with your guard or pommel, then trip him and fly out. Original Transcription

24. If you crossed at Bastard Gardant, grip him. Original Transcription

Or beat his sword to your left with your left hand or arm, strike him and fly out.

Or uncross suddenly and strike him in the head and fly out.

25. If you are crossed his point up and yours down, if he presses either grip him or beat his sword to the left with your free hand, then strike him and fly out. Original Transcription

26. Never attempt grips (by closing in) unless your oponent is slow or disordered, Original Transcription

but if he closes, then you may take grip because the person pressing loses the advantage of time.

27. If you fight from variable, ward in forehand - Gardant is too slow. Original Transcription

28. From Open or Gardant, never ward forehand. Original Transcription

29. If he is in Imbrocatta, get your sword close to his and attack being sure to control his point. Original Transcription

Chapter 5
Of diverse advantages that you may take by striking
From your ward at the sword fight

1. If you are in gardant and he attacks the right side of your head, then drop your hilt while raising the point making an arch above your head to intercept your opponent's blade. You will arrive in an outside forehand ward from which hit him in the head or drop the point and thrust him in the body or cut his left flank or thigh. Original Transcription

Or strike him on the outside of the right thigh, whichever he can't avoid unless he fly back instantly because he can't predict which blow will fall.

2. If you lie in true gardant and he strikes at the left side of your head, you may strike him virtually anywhere because he has attacked into your ward and cannot predict where you will strike. He can only be safe if he fly back. Original Transcription

3. If he attacks from open or gardant fight and you defend from similar ward, keep your distance and move to his sword side to choke up any blow that he can make at you. You may then strike him on the right or left side of the head, or thrust him in the body. Original Transcription

But if he thrusts, then from your gardant fight strike down and right with the strong or middle of the blade into his weak to beat the thurst aside, bearing your point toward your right side from which you may likewise strike him on the right or left side of the head, or thrust him in the body.

4. Against an opponent who can't make a good assault you may both double (use second intentions) and false (feint). But if your oponent is skilful you must not do so, because you can't predict his movements and he will deceive you with time and place, so when you think to double and false, you shall give him True place and he will counter with a good action. Original Transcription

5. Against variable fight when you are in forehand, if the thrust is towards the right side of your head or body, you have the choice of 8 offensive actions,

You may do the same if he strikes at your left side if you bear it with forehand ward. Original Transcription

6. In forehand ward keep distance and beware he doesn't deceive you with a downright blow at your head out of Open fight. Being within distance, the time of the hand may deceive your eye, because you can't know to which side of your sword his blow fall. (It's easy to deceive forehand from wide measure.) Original Transcription

7. Also be sure he doesn't deceive you with a feint (second intention), but keep your distance. Always remember the governors (control distance). Original Transcription

8. If your opponent only thrusts, defend with the 16th ground and also in the diverse places of the 8th chapter. Original Transcription

9. And if he lies in stocatta or passata and you have no way to avoid him except by crossing his sword with yours to indirect his point, keep your sword close to his point, and keep distance using circling paces. Original Transcription

If he holds out his point so you can cross it with forehand ward, put his sword to your right and strike him however you like.

If you push his point to your inside, push it strongly drawing your left foot circular-wise back behind the heel of your right foot, striking him on the inside of his sword arm, head, or body and fly out.

This also works against sword and dagger or sword and buckler.

10. Remember if he have a long sword and you a short sword you should keep your sword close to his. Thus you may break his thrust at the weak (when you have advantage). Also keep your large distance regardless of which variable fight he is in. Original Transcription

See also 8th Chapter

Chapter 6
The manner of certain grips and closes to be
Used at that single sword fight and Co

1. If he makes a downright blow at the left side of your head coming in strongly (deeply to get close measure, perhaps to take grip of you), then ward in gardant and step in with your left, putting your left hand on the inside of his sword arm near his hilt. Bear your hand over his arm and wrap in his hand and sword under your arm as he comes in, pulling his hand and sword close to your body turning your right side from him, so he can't reach your sword and you can still strike or thrust him and break his arm, or take his sword. Original Transcription

2. If you are crossed in close fight upon the bastard gardant ward low, put your left hand on the outside of his sword at the back of his hand, near or at the hilt of his sword arm and take him on the inside of that arm with your hand, above his elbow is best, and draw him in toward you strongly, wresting his knuckles downward and his elbow upward so may you endanger to break his arm, or cast him down, or to wrest his sword out of his hand, and go free yourself Original Transcription

3. Similarly from close fight, you may strongly grab the wrist of his sword arm and push him away. At this point he can do nothing against you and you can strike or thrust as you wish. Original Transcription

4. If he strikes at the left side of your head and comes in to grip your hilt or sword arm, ward his blow in gardant and put your left hand under you sword and take hold on the outside of his left hand, arm or sleeve, grip his wrist with your thumb down and pull him strongly toward your left side. Thus you will indirect him so you may strike or thrust him and fly out safe because he is off balance. Original Transcription

5. If he attempts the grip from bastard gardant, cross his sword with similar ward and as he comes in you have time with your left hand to stongly and quickly beat his sword, casting it to your left. Immediately uncross and thrust him in the body and fly out. Or you may uncross and turn your point up and strike his head and fly out. Original Transcription

6. If he presses to the halfsword in forehand, strike a sound blow at the left side of his head, turn your hand and hilt pressing down his sword arm strongly and strike your hilt full in his face, bearing your hilt strongly upon him> Your hand being higher you have the advantage in that grip. Thus you may break his face, trip him with your left foot, and throw him because he is weak in his press because his feet are moving and you throw him wiht your full strength as in the 23rd ground. Original Transcription

7. Never attempt the close or grip without being wary of his slip, consider what is said in the 8th general rule in the second chapter (here) and also in the 26th ground of the single sword fight in the 4th chapter (here) . Original Transcription

Chapter 7
Of the short sword and dagger fight
Against the like weapon

1. Observe at these weapons the former rules, defend with your sword and not with your dagger, yet you may cross his sword with your dagger, if you may conveniently reach the same therewith, with out putting in of your foot, only by bending in of your body, otherwise your time will be too long, and his time will be sufficient to displace his own, so that you shall not hit it with your dagger, and so he may make a thrust upon you, this time that I here mean, of putting by of his sword, is when he lieth out spent with his sword point toward you, and not else, which thing if you can do without putting in of your foot, then you may use your dagger, and strike strongly and suddenly his sword point there with up, or down to indirect the same, that done, instantly therewith strike or thrust at him with your sword Original Transcription

2. Also you may put by his sword blade with your dagger when your swords are crossed, either above at forehand ward, or below at the bastard gardant ward and there with instantly strike or thrust with your sword and fly out according to your governors, of this you may see more at large in the chapter of the single sword fight in the 24th ground of the same. Original Transcription

3. Also, if he be so foolhardy to come to the close, then you may guard with your sword and stab with your dagger and fly out safe, which thing you may do because his time is too long by the number of his feet, and you have but the swift time of your hand to use and he cannot stab till he have settled in his feet and so his time is too late to endanger you, or to defend himself. Original Transcription

4. Know that if you defend yourself with your dagger in other sort than is aforesaid, you shall be in danger to be hurt, because the space of your dagger will be still too wide to defend both blow and thrust for lack of circumference as the buckler hath. Original Transcription

5. Also note when you defend blow and thrust with your sword you have a nearer course to offend your enemy with your sword then when you ward with your dagger, for then you may for the most part from your ward strike or thrust him. Original Transcription

6. You must neither close nor come to the grip at these weapons, unless it be by the slow motion or disorder of your adversary, yet if he attempt the close, or to come to the grip with you, then you may safely close and hurt him with your dagger or buckler and go free yourself, but fly out according to your governors, and thereby you shall put him from his attempted close, but see you stay not at any time within distance, but in due time fly back or hazard to be hurt, because the swift motion of the hand being within distance will deceive the eye, whereby you shall not be able to judge in due time to make a true ward, of this you may see more in the chapter of the backsword fight in the 12th ground of the same. Original Transcription

7. If he extend forth his dagger hand you may make your fight at the same, remembering to keep distance and to fly back according to your governors. Original Transcription

8. If he lie bent upon his stocatta with his sword or rapier point behind his dagger so that you cannot reach the same without putting in of your foot, then make all your fight at his dagger hand, ever remembering your governors and then if he draw in his dagger hand, so that you may cross his sword blade with yours, then make narrow space upon him with your point and suddenly and strongly strike or bear his point toward his right side, in directing the same, and instantly strike or thrust him on the head, face, arm or body, and fly back therewith out of distance still remembering your governors. Original Transcription

9. If he lie spent upon his variable fight then keep your distance and make your space narrow upon him, till you may cross his sword or rapier with your sword point, whereupon you having won or gained the place, strike or thrust instantly. Original Transcription

10. If he lie bent or spent upon the imbrocatta bear up your point and make your space narrow and to the like. Original Transcription

Chapter 8
Of the short sword and dagger fight against the long sword
And dagger or long rapier and poigniard

1. If you have the short sword and dagger defend with your sword and not with your dagger, except you have a gauntlet or hilt upon your dagger hand, then you may ward upon forehand ward, upon the double with the point of your sword toward his face. Original Transcription

2. Lie not aloft with your short sword if he lie low variable on the stocatta or passata and co., for then your space will be wide to make a true cross in due time, or too far in his course to make your space narrow, the which space take heed you make very narrow, yea so that if it touch his blade, it is the better. Original Transcription

3. I say make your space narrow until you can cross his sword blade strongly and suddenly, so shall you put by his point out of the right line, and instantly strike or thrust and slip back according to your governors. Original Transcription

But take heed unless you can surely and safely cross go not in, but although you can so cross, and thereupon you enter in, stay not by that but fly out according to your governors,

4. If with his long sword or rapier he charge you aloft out of his open or true gardant fight striking at the right side of your head, if you have a gauntlet or closed hilt upon your dagger hand, then ward t double with forehand ward, bearing your sword hilt to ward your right shoulder, with your knuckles upward and your sword point toward the right side of his breast or shoulder, crossing your dagger on your sword blade and resting it there on upon the higher side of your sword bearing your hilts close together with your dagger hilt little behind your sword hilt bearing both your hands right out together spent or very near spent when you war his blow, Meeting him so upon your ward that his blow may light at your halfsword or within, so that his blade may slide from your sword and rest on your dagger, at which instant time thrust forth your point at his breast and fly out instantly, so shall you continually endanger him and go safe yourself. Original Transcription

5. If he strike aloft at the left side of your head, ward as aforesaid, bearing your sword hilt toward your left shoulder with your knuckles downward, and your sword point toward the left side of his breast or shoulder, bowing your body and head a little forward toward him, and remember to bear your ward on both sides that he strike you not upon the head, then upon his blow, meet his sword as is aforesaid with your dagger crossed over your sword blade as before, and when his sword by reason of his blow upon your sword shall slide down and rest upon your dagger, then suddenly cast his sword blade out toward your left side with your dagger to indirect his point, and there with thrust at his breast from your ward and fly out instantly, the like may you do if his sword glance out from yours upon his blow. Original Transcription

All this may safely be done with the short sword and close hilted dagger or gauntlet

6. Stay not within distance of the long sword or rapier with your short sword, nor suffer him to win the place of you, but either cross his sword or make your space very narrow to cross it before his blow or thrust be in force, yet keeping your distance whereby he shall strike or thrust at nothing, and so he shall be subject to the time of your hand against the time of his feet. Original Transcription

7. Keep distance and lie as you think best for your ease and safety, yet so that you may strike, thrust, or ward, and when you find his point certain, then make your space narrow and cross his sword, so shall you be the first mover, and enter first into your action, and he being an after doer, is not able to avoid your cross, nor narrow space, nor any such offence as shall be put in execution against him. Original Transcription

8. Having crossed his long sword or rapier with your short sword blade, and put his point out of the straight line by force then strike or thrust at him with your sword and fly out instantly according to your governors. Original Transcription

9. Stand not upon gardant fight only, for so he will greatly endanger you out of his other fights because you have made yourself a certain mark to him, for in continuing in that fight only you shall not only weary yourself, but do also exclude yourself from the benefit of the open, variable, and close fights, and so shall he have four fights to your one, as you may see in the chapter of the short single sword fight in the 15th ground thereof. Original Transcription

10. If he lie in open or true gardant fight, then you may upon your open and gardant fight safely bring yourself to the halfsword, and then you may thrust him in the body under his guard or sword when he beareth it gardant, because he is weak in his guard, but fly out instantly, and he cannot bring in his point to hurt you except he go back with his foot or feet, which time is too long to answer the swift time of the hand Original Transcription

If he put down hi sword lower to defend that thrust then will his head be open, so that you may strike him on the head over his sword and fly out therewith, which thing he cannot defend because his space is too wide to put up his blade in due time to make a true ward for the same.

11. Understand that the whole sum of the long rapier fight is either upon the stocatta passata imbrocatta or mountanta, all these and all the rest of their devices you may safely prevent by keeping your distance, because thereby you shall still drive him to use his time of his feet, whereby you shall still prevent him of the true place, and therefor he cannot in due time make any of these fights offence upon you by reason that the number of his feet will still be too great, so that he shall still use the slow time of his feet to the swift time of your hand and therefore you may safely defend yourself and offend him. Original Transcription

Now you plainly see how to prevent all these, but for the better example not this, where as I say by keeping of distance some may object that then the rapier man will come in by degrees with such ward as shall best like him, and drive back the sword man continually, to whom I answer, that he can not do, by reason that the sword manís traverse is made circular wise, so that the rapier man in his coming hath no place to carny the point of his rapier, in due time to make home his fight, but that still his rapier will lie with in the compass of the time of the sword manís hand, to make a true cross upon him, the which cross being made with force he may safely uncross, and hurt the rapier man in the arm, head, face, or body, with blow or thrust, and fly out safe before he shall have time to direct his point again to make his thrust upon the sword man.

12. If the rapier man lie upon the stocatta, first make your space narrow with your short sword, and take heed that he strike not down your sword point with his dagger and so jump in and hurt you with the thrust of his long rapier, which thing he may do because he have commanded your sword, and so you are left open and discovered and left only unto the uncertain ward of your dagger, which ward is too single for a man to venture his life on, which if you miss to perform never so little you are hurt or slain. Original Transcription

13. To prevent this danger you must remember your governors, and pressently upon his least motion be sure of your distance, and your narrow space, then do as followeth. Original Transcription

14. If he lie upon his stocatta, with his rapier point within or behind his dagger hand out straight, then lie you variable in measure with your right foot before and your sword point out directly forth with your space very narrow as near his rapier point as you may, betwixt his rapier point and his dagger hand, from which you may suddenly with a wrist blow, lift up your point and strike him on the outside or inside of his dagger hand, and fly out with all, then make your space narrow as before, then if he thrust home at you, you are ready prepared for his thrust or you may thrust at his dagger hand, do which you shall think best, but your blow must be but only by moving of your wrist, for if you lift up your hand and arm to fetch a large blow then your time will be too long, and your space too wide in due time to make a true ward to defend yourself from his thrust, so shall you hurt him although he have a gauntlet thereon, for your thrust will run up between his finger and your blow will cut of the finger of his gauntlet for he cannot defend himself from one blow or thrust of 20, by reason that you have the place to reach home at his hand, and for that cause he cannot prevent it, neither can he reach home to you without putting in of his foot or feet, because hi distance is too large but upon ever y blow or thrust that you make at his hand slip back a little so shall you still upon every blow or thrust that you make at him, be out of reach. Original Transcription

But if upon your blow or thrust he will enter in with his foot or feet to make home his stocatta or thrust upon you, then by reason of your sliding back, you shall be prepared in due time to make a perfect ward to defend yourself with your sword.

Therefore ever respect his rapier point and remember to make and keep narrow space upon it with your sword point, that you may be sure to break his thrust before it be in full force.

15. If he thrust at your higher parts with his point a little mounted, then make narrow your space with your point upon his, if you cross his blade on the inside between his rapier and his dagger, if he press in then from your cross beat or bear back his point strongly toward his right side, and having indirected his point, strike him on the inside of the rapier or dagger hand or arm, or on the head, face or body, and fly out instantly. Original Transcription

Or you may upon his pressing in with his thrust slip your point down as he cometh in, and put up your hilt and ward it gardant, and therewith from that ward cast out his point and suddenly strike him in one of the places aforesaid, and fly out instantly remembering your governors.

16. If he lie fast and do not come in, then strike and thrust at his dagger hand, with your wrist blow and slip back therewith every time Original Transcription

17. But if he lie fast and beat down your point with his dagger and then thrust at you from his stocatta then turn up your hilt with your knuckles upward and your nails downward, taking his blade upon the backside of yours toward your left side and bear it gardant toward that side, and so may you offend him as before said upon that ward. Original Transcription

18. The like may you do upon him if he lie out with his point, when you have crossed the same with yours, and strike it to either side, and so indirect his point, and then strike or thrust and fly out Original Transcription

19. The like must you do if he lie with his point directly toward your belly. Original Transcription

20. But if you cross his point so mounted or direct as above said, upon the outside of your sword with his point a little higher than your hilt, so that you may cross his blade, then if he thrust over your blade single uncrossing the same, then may you break it with your forehand ward out toward your right side, and if he come in there with, then strike him on the outside of his rapier hand or arm, or on the head or face and fly out there with. Original Transcription

But if he thrust in over you sword as above said and press in his blade strongly doubled with the help of his dagger, then put down your point and turn up your hilt gardant, so shall you safely defend it bearing it gardant out toward your left side and from that strike him in between his rapier and dagger in one of the aforesaid places and fly out.

But if from this cross he slip his point down to thrust under your sword, then strike down his point toward his left foot and therewith strike him on the outside of his rapier hand or arm, head, face or body and fly out instantly according to your governors Original Transcription

Also you may upon this of his point down, then turn your point short over his blade in your stepping back and put your point down in the inside of his blade turning up your hilt gardant as aforesaid, and then if he thrust at you, bear it gardant toward your left side, and then have you the same offensive blows and thrusts against him as is above said upon the same ward. Original Transcription

22. If he lie after the stocatta with his point down toward your foot, then cross his blade on the outside and if he turn his point over your blade to make his thrust upon you, then turn up your hilt and bear it gardant as above said, bearing it out toward your left side and from that ward offend him as is above said. Original Transcription

23. Also in this fight take heed that he thrust you not in the sword hand or arm, therefore ever respect to draw it back indue time remembering therein your twofold governor, in your coming in, to make your cross or narrow space. Original Transcription

24. If at sword and dagger or buckler he strike in at the outside of your right leg ward it with the back of your sword, carrying your point down holding your knuckles downward and your nails upward, bearing your sword out strongly toward your right side, upon which ward you may strike him on the outside of the left leg, or thrust him in the thigh or belly. Original Transcription

25. The like may you do if he strike at your other side, if you ward his blow with the edge of your sword your hand and knuckles as aforesaid, casting out his sword blade toward your left side, this may be used at short or long sword fight Original Transcription

26. You must never use any fight against the long rapier and dagger with your short sword but variable fight because your space will be too wide, and your time too long to defend or offend in due time. Original Transcription

27. Also you must use large distance ever, because out of that fight you can hardly make a true cross because being within distance the eye is deceived to do it in due time. Original Transcription

28. Remember in putting forth your sword point to make your space narrow, when he lieth upon his stocatta or any thrust, you must hold the handle thereof as it were along your hand, resting the pommel thereof in the hollow part of the middle of the heel of your hand toward the wrist and the former part of the handle must be held betwixt the forefinger toward the top thereof, holding that finger something straight out gripping round your handle with your other 3 fingers, and laying your thumb straight out upon the handle so that your thumb lie all along upon the same, so shall you lay your point out straight toward his, the better to be able to perform this action perfectly, for if you grip your handle close overthwart in your hand, then can you not lay your point straight upon his to make your space narrow, but that your point will still lie to wide to do the same in due time and this is the best way to hold your sword in all kind of variable fight. Original Transcription

29. But upon your gardant or open fight then hold it with full gripping it in your hand, and not laying your thumb along the handle, as some use, then shall you never be able strongly to ward a strong blow. Original Transcription

30 This have I written out of mine entire love that I bear to my country men, wishing them yet once again to follow the truth, and to fly the vain imperfect rapier fight, the better to save themselves from wounds and slaughter, for who so attaineth to the perfection of this true fight which I have here set forth in these my brief instructions, and also in my paradoxes of defense, shall not only defend themselves, but shall thereby bring those that fight upon that imperfect fight of the rapier under their mercy, or else put them in Cobbs Travers, whereof you may read in the 38 chapter of my paradoxes aforesaid. Original Transcription

Chapter 9
Of the Sword and Buckler fight

Sword and buckler fight and sword and dagger fight are all one, saving that you may safely defend both blow and thrust, single with your buckler only and in like sort you may safely ward both blows and thrust double, that is with sword and buckler together which is great advantage against the sword and dagger, and co, and is the surest fight of all short weapons. Original Transcription

Chapter 10
Of the two hand sword fight against the like weapon.

Chap 11.
Of the short staff fight, being convenient length, against the like weapon

Chapter 12.
Of the short staff fight against the long staff

Chapter 13
Of the fight of the forrest bill against the like weapon and against the staff

Chapter 14
Of the fight of the Morris pike against the like weapon

Chapter 15
Of the single dagger fight against the like weapon

Sundry Kinds of Play or Fight Thornborow Original Transcription

1. Uncertain variable 2. Single 3. Gardant Original Transcription

3 different kinds of fight 1. That forceth or resseth on 2. He that goeth back with some flow thrust :: with an imperfect ward and out of the way 3. He that standeth to his wards or passato :: with an imperfect ward and out of the way 4.