George Silver's Brief Instructions

Brief Instructions
Transcribed

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 Interpretation

[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 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
For as much as in my paradoxes of defense I have admonished men to take heed of safe teachers of defense, yet once again in these my brief instructions I do the like, because divers have written books treating the noble science of defense, wherein they rather teach offense than defense, rather showing men thereby how to be slain than to defend themselves from the danger of their enemies, as we may daily see to the great grief and overthrow of many brave gentlemen and gallant of our ever victorious nation of great Britain, and therefor for the great love and care that I have for the well doing and the preservation of my countrymen, seeing their daily ruins and utter overthrow of divers gallant gent and others which trust only to that imperfect fight of that rapier, these although they daily see their own overthrows and slaughter thereby, yet because they are trained up therein, they think and do fully persuade themselves that there is no fight so excellent and where as amongst divers other their opinions that leadeth them to this errors one of that chiefest is, because there be so many slain with these weapons and therefor they hold them so excellent, but these things do chiefly happen, first because their fight is imperfect for that they use neither the perfect grounds of true fight, neither yet the four governors without which no man can fight safe, neither do they use such other rules which are required in the right use of perfect defense, and also their weapons for the most part being of an imperfect length, must of necessity make an imperfect defense because they cannot use them in due time and place, for had these valorous minded men the right perfection of the true fight with the short sword, and also of other weapons of perfect length, I know that men would come safer out of the field from such bloody bankets and that such would be their perfections herein, that it would save many 100 menís lives. But how should men learn perfection out of such rules as are nothing else but very imperfection itself. And as it is not fit for a man which desireth the clear light of the day to go down into the bottom of a deep and dark dungeon, believing to find it there, so is it as impossible for men to find the perfect knowledge of this noble science where as in all their teachings every thing is attempted and acted upon imperfect rules, for there is but one truth in all things, which I wish very heartily were taught and practiced here amongst us, and that those imperfect and murderous kind of false fights might be by them abolished. Leave now to quaf and gull any longer of that filthy brinish puddle, seeing you may now drink of that fresh and clear spring. Original Interpretation

O that men for their defense would but give their mind to practice the true fight indeed, and learn to bear true British wards for their defense, which if they had it in perfect practice, I speak it of mine own knowledge that those imperfect Italian devices with rapier and poigniard would be clean cast aside and no account of all such as blind affections do not lead beyond the bonds of reason. Therefore for the very zealous and unfeigned love that I bear unto your high and royal person my countrymen pitying their causes that so many brave men should be daily murdered and spoiled for want of true knowledge of this noble science and not as some imagine to be, only the excellence of the rapier fight, and where as my paradoxes of defense is to the most sort as a dark riddle in many things there in set down, therefore I have now this second time taken some pains to write these few brief instructions there upon whereby they may the better attain to the truth of this science and laying open here all such things as was some thing intricate for them to understand in my paradoxes and therefor that I have the full perfection and knowledge of the perfect use of all manner of weapons, it doth embolden me here in to write for the better instruction of the unskillful. Original Interpretation

And I have added to these my brief instructions certain necessary admonitions which I wish every man not only to know but also to observe and follow, chiefly all such as are desirous to enter into the right usage and knowledge of their weapons, and also I have thought it good to annex here unto my paradoxes of defense because in these my brief instructions, I have referred the reader to diverse rules therein set down. Original Interpretation

This have I written for an infallible truth and a note of remembrance to our gallant gentlemen and others of our brave minded nation of Great Britain, which bear a mind to defend themselves and to win honor in the field by their actions of arms and single combat. Original Interpretation

And know that I write not this for vainglory, but out of an entire love that I owe unto my native countrymen, as one who lamenteth their losses, sorry that so great an error should be so carefully nourished as a serpent in their bosom to their utter confusion, as a long time have been seen, whereas if they would but seek the truth herein they were easily abolished, therefore follow the truth and fly ignorance. Original Interpretation

And consider that learning hath no greater enemy than ignorance, neither can the unskillful ever judge the truth of my art to them unknown, beware of rash judgment and accept my labors as thankfully as I bestow them willingly, censure me justly, let no man despise my work herein causeless, and so I refer myself to the censure of such as are skillful herein and so I commit you to the perfection of the almighty Jehovah. Original Interpretation

Yours in all love and friendly affection
George Silver

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Admonitions
Admonitions to the gentlemen and brave gallants of Great Britain against quarrels and brawls written by George Silver, Gentleman. Original Interpretation

Whereas I have declared in my paradoxes of defense of the false teaching of the noble sciences of defense used here by the Italian fencers willing men therein to take heed how they trusted their unto with sufficient reasons and proofs why. Original Interpretation

And whereas there was a book written by Vincentio an Italian teacher whose ill using practices and unskillful teaching were such that it hath cost the lives of many of our brave gentlemen and gallants, the uncertainty of whose false teaching doth yet remain to the daily murdering and overthrow of many, for he and the rest of them did not teach defense but offense, as it doth plainly appear by those that follow the same imperfect fight according to their teaching or instructions by the orders from them preceding, for be the actors that follow them never so perfect or skillful therein one or both of them are either sore hurt or slain in their encounters and fights, and if they allege that we use it not rightly according to the perfection thereof, and therefore cannot defend ourselves, to which I answer if themselves had had any perfection therein, and that their teaching had been a truth, themselves would not have been beaten and slain in their fights, and using of their weapons, as they were. Original Interpretation

And therefore I prove were a man by their teaching cannot be safe in his defense following their own ground of fight then is their teaching offense and not defense, for in true fight against the best no hurt can be done. And if both have the full perfection of true fight, then one will not be able to hurt the other at what perfect weapon soever. Original Interpretation

For it cannot be said that if a man go to the field and cannot be sure to defend himself in fight and come safe home, if god be not against him whether he fight with a man of skill or no skill it may not be said that such a man is master of the noble science of defense, or that he hath the perfection of true fight, for if both have the perfection of their weapons, if by any device, one should be able to hurt the other, there were no perfection in the fight of weapons, and this firmly hold in your mind for a general rule, to be the Ďhaythí and perfection of the true handling of all manner of weapons. Original Interpretation

And also whereas that said Vincentio in that same book hath written discourse of honor and honorable quarrels making many reasons to prove means and ways to enter that field and combat, both for the lie and other disgraces, all which diabolical devices tendeth only to villainy and destruction as hurting, maiming, and murdering or killing. Original Interpretation

Animating the minds of young gentlemen and gallants to follow those rules to maintain their honors and credits, but the end thereof for the most part is either killing or hanging or both to their utter undoing and great grief of themselves, and their friends, but then to late to call it again. They consider not the time and place that we live in, nor do not thoroughly look into the danger of the law till it be too late, and for that in diverse other countries in these things they have a larger scope than we have in these our days. Original Interpretation

Therefore it behooves us not upon every abuse offered whereby our blood shall be enflamed, or our choler kindled presently with the sword or with the staff, or by force of arms to seek revenge, which is the proper nature of wild beasts in their rage so to do, being void of the use of reason which thing should not be in men of discretion so much to degenerate, but he that will not endure an injury, but will seek revenge, then he ought to do it by civil order and proof, by good and wholesome laws, which are ordained for such causes, which is a thing far more fit and requisite in a place of so civil a government as we live in, then is the other, and who so followeth these my admonitions shall be accounted as valiant a man as he that fighteth and far wiser. For I see no reason why a man should adventure his life and estate upon every trifle, but should rather put up divers abuses offered unto him, because it is agreeable both to the laws of god and our country. Original Interpretation

Why should not words be answered with words again, but if a man by his enemy be charged with blows then my he lawfully seek the best means to defend himself, and in such a case I hold it fit to use his skill and to show his force by his deeds, yet so, that his dealing may not with full rigor to the others confusion if possible it may be eschewed. Original Interpretation

Also take heed how you appoint the field with your enemy publicly because our laws do not permit it, neither appoint to meet him in private sort lest you wounding him he accuse you of felony saying you have robbed him and company. Or he may lay company closely to murder you and then to report he did it himself valiantly in the field. Original Interpretation

Also take heed to thine enemyís stratagems, lest he find means to make you look aside upon something or cause you to show whether you have on a privy coat and so when you look from him, he hurt or kill you. Original Interpretation

Take not arms upon very light occasion, let no one friend upon a word or trifle violate another but let each man zealously embrace friendship, and turn not familiarity into strangeness, kindness into malice, nor love into hatred, nourish not these strange and unnatural alterations. Original Interpretation

Do no wickedly resolve one to seek the others overthrow, do not confirm to end thy malice by fight because for the most part it endeth in death. Original Interpretation

Consider when these things were most used in former ages they sought not so much by envy the ruin and destruction one of another, they never too trial by sword but in defense of innocency to maintain blotless honor. Original Interpretation

Do not upon every trifle make an action of revenge or of defiance. Original Interpretation

Go not into the field with thy friend at his entreaty to take his part but first know the manner of the quarrel how justly or unjustly it grow, and do not therein maintain wrong against right, but examine the cause of the controversy, and if there be reason for his rage to lead him to it mortal resolution. Original Interpretation

Yet be the cause never so Just, go not with him neither further nor suffer him to fight if possible it may by any means be otherwise ended and will him not to enter into so dangerous an action, but leave it till necessity requireth it. Original Interpretation

And this I hold to be the best course for it is foolishness and endless trouble to cast a stone at every dog that barks at you. This noble science is not to cause on man to abuse another injuriously but to use it in their necessity to defend them in their just causes and to maintain their honor and credits. Original Interpretation

Therefore fly all rashness, pride, and doing of injury all foul faults and errors herein, resume not on this, and think not yourself invincible, but consider that often a very wretch hath killed a tall man, but he that hath humanity, the more skillful he is in the noble science, the more humble, modest, and virtuous he should show himself both in speech and action, no liar, no vaunter nor quarreler, for these are the causes of wounds, dishonor, and death. Original Interpretation

If you talk with great men of honorable quality with such chiefly have regard to frame your speeches and answer so reverent, that a foolish word, or forward answer give no occasion of offense for often they breed deadly hatred, cruel murder and extreme ruins and co. Original Interpretation

Ever shun all occasions of quarrels, but martial men chiefly generals and great commanders should be excellent skillful in the noble science of defense, thereby to be able to answer quarrels, combats and challenges in defense of their prince and country. Original Interpretation

Vale.

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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
The four grounds or principals of that true fight at all manner of weapons are these 4, viz
1.Judgement
2. Distance
3. Time
4. Place.
Original Interpretation

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 Interpretation

The 4 governors are those that follow Original Interpretation

1. The first governor is judgment which is to know when your adversary can reach you and when not, and when you can do the like to him, and to know by the goodness or badness of his lying, what he can do, and when and how he can perform it.Original Interpretation

2. The second governor is Measure. Measure is the better to know how to make your space true to defend yourself, or to offend your enemy.Original Interpretation

3. The third and forth governors is a twofold mind when you press in on your enemy, for as you have a mind to go forward, so you must have at that instant a mind to fly backwards upon any action that shall be offered or done by your adversary.Original Interpretation

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

1. First when you come into the field to encounter with your enemy, observe well the scope, evenness, and unevenness of your ground, put yourself in readiness with your weapon, before your enemy come within distance, set the sun in his face travers if possible you can still remembering your governors. Original Interpretation

2. Let all your lying be such as shall best like yourself, ever considering out what fight your enemy chargeth you, but be sure to keep your distance, so that neither head, arms, hands, body, nor legs be within his reach, but that he must first of necessity put in his foot or feet, at which time you have the choice of 3 actions by the which you may endanger him and go free yourself: Original Interpretation

a. The first is to strike or thrust at him, at that instant when he have gained you the place by his coming in.

b. The second is to ward, and after to strike or thrust from that, remember your governors

c. The third is to slip a little back and to strike or thrust after him

but ever remember that in the first motion of your adversary toward you, that you slide a little back so shall you be prepared in due time to perform any of the three actions aforesaid, by disappointing him of his true place whereby you shall safely defend yourself and endanger him.

Remember also that if through fear or policy, he strike or thrust short, and there with go back, or not go back, follow him upon your twofold governors, so shall your ward and slip be performed in like manner as before, and yourself still be safe. Original Interpretation

Keep your distance and suffer not your adversary to win or gain the place of you, for if he shall so do, he may endanger to hurt or kill you. Original Interpretation

Know it the place is, when one may strike or thrust home without putting in of his foot.

It may be objected against this last ground, that men do often strike and thrust at the halfsword and yet the same is perfectly defended, where to I answer that that defense is perfectly made by reason that the warder hath his true space before the striker or thruster is in his force or entered into his action.

Therefore always do prevent both blow and thrust, the blow by true space, and the thrust by narrow space that is true crossing it before the same coming into their full force, otherwise the hand of the agent being as swift as the hand of the patient, the hand of the Agent being the first mover, must of necessity strike or thrust that part of the patient which shall be stricken or thrust at because the time of that hand to the time of the hand, being of like swiftness the first mover hath the advantage.

4. When your enemy shall press upon you, he will be Open in one place or other, both at single and double weapon, or at the least he will be too weak in his ward upon such pressing, then strike or thrust at such open or weakest part that you shall find nearest. Original Interpretation

5. When you attempt to win the place, do it upon guard, remembering your governors, but when he presseth upon you and gaineth you the Place, then strike or thrust at him in his coming in, Original Interpretation

Or if he shall strike or thrust at you, then ward it, and strike or thrust at him from your ward, and fly back instantly according to your governors, so shall you escape safely, for that the first motion of the feet backward is more swift, then the first motion of the feet forward, whereby your regression will be more swifter, then his course in progression to annoy you, the reason is, that in the first motion of his progression his number and weight is greater than yours are, in your first motion of your regression, nevertheless all men know that the continual course of the feet forward is more swift than the continual course of the feet backwards.

6. If your enemy lie in variable fight, and strike or thrust at you then be sure to keep your distance and strike or thrust at such open part of him as are nearest unto you, viz, at the hand, arm, head, or leg of him, and go back withal. Original Interpretation

If 2 men fight at variable fight, and if within distance they must both be hurt, for in such fight they cannot make a true cross, nor have time truly to judge, by reason that the swift motion of the hand, being a swifter mover, then the eye deceiveth the eye, at what weapon soever you shall fight withal, as in my paradoxes of defense in the _____ chapter thereof doth appear.

Look to the grip of your enemy and upon his slip take such ward as shall best fit your hand, from which ward strike or thrust, still remembering your governors, Original Interpretation

If you can indirect your enemy at any kind of weapon, then you have the advantage, because he must move his feet to direct himself again, and you in the meantime may strike or thrust at him, and fly out fast, before he can offer anything at you, his time will be so long. Original Interpretation

When you shall ward blow or thrust, made at your right or left part, with any kind of weapon, remember to draw your hind foot a little circularly, from that part to which the same shall be made, whereby you shall make your defense the perfect and shall stand the more apt to strike or thrust from it. Original Interpretation

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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 is to carry your hand and hilt aloft above your head, either with point upright or point backwards which is best, yet use that which you shall find most aptest, to strike, thrust, or ward. Original Interpretation

2. Gardant fight in general is of 2 sorts, the first is true gardant fight, which is either perfect or imperfect. Original Interpretation

The perfect is to carry your hand and hilt above your head with your point down towards your left knee, with your sword blade somewhat near your body, not bearing out your point, but rather declining in a little towards your said knee, that your enemy cross not your point and so hurt you, stand bolt upright in this fight, and if he offer to press in then bear your head and body a little backward. Original Interpretation

The imperfect is when you bear your hand and sword hilt perfect height above your head, as aforesaid, but leaning or stooping forward with your body and thereby your space will be to wide on both sides to defend the blow stricken at the left side of your head or too wide to defend a thrust from the right side of the body. Original Interpretation

Also it is imperfect, if you bear your hand and hilt as aforesaid, bearing your point too far out from your knee, so that your enemy may cross, or strike aside your point and thereby endanger you. Original Interpretation

The second is bastard gardant fight which is to carry your hand and hilt below your head, breast high 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 Interpretation

3. Close fight is when you cross at the half sword either above at forehand ward that is with point high, and hand and hilt low, or at true or bastard gardant ward with both your points down. Original Interpretation

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 Interpretation

4. Variable fight is all other manner of lying not here before spoken of, where of these 4 that follow are the chiefest of them. Original Interpretation

Stocatta: which is to lie with your right leg forward, with your sword or rapier hilt back on the outside of your right thigh with your point forward to ward your enemy with your dagger in your other hand extending your hand towards the point of your rapier, holding your dagger with the point upright with narrow space between your rapier blade and the nails of your dagger hand, keeping your rapier point back behind your dagger hand if possible.

Or he may lie wide below under his dagger with his rapier point down towards his enemyís foot, or with his point forth without his dagger.

Imbrocatta: is to lie with your hilt higher than your head, bearing your knuckles upward, and your point descending toward your enemyís face or breast.

Mountanta: is to carry your rapier pummel in the palm of your hand resting it on your little finger with your hand below and so mounting it up aloft, and so to come in with a thrust upon your enemyís face or beast, as out of the Imbrocatta.

Passatta: is either to pass with the Stocatta, or to carry your sword or rapier hilt by your right flank, with your point directly against your enemyís belly, with your left foot forward extending forth your dagger hand with the point of your dagger forward as you do your sword, with narrow space between your sword and dagger blade, and so to make your passage upon him.

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

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

1. If your enemy lie aloft, either in open or true gardant fight, and then strike at the left side of your head or body your best ward to defend yourself is to bear it with true gardant ward and if he strike and come in to the close, or to take the grip of you, you may then safely take the grip of him as it apeareth in the chapter of the grip. Original Interpretation

2. but if he do strike and not come in, then instantly upon your ward, uncross and strike him either on the right or left side of the head, and fly out instantly. Original Interpretation

3. If you bear this with forehand ward, be sure to ward his blow, or keep your distance, otherwise he shall deceive you with every false, still endangering your head, face, hand, arms, body and bending knee, with blow or thrust. Therefore keep well your distance, because you can very hardly discern (being within distance), by which side of your sword he will strike, nor at which of those parts aforesaid, because the swift motion of the hand deceiveth the eye. Original Interpretation

4. If he lie aloft and strike as aforesaid at your head, you may endanger him if you thrust at his hand, hilt, or Arm, turning your knuckles downward, but fly back withal in the instant that you thrust, Original Interpretation

5. If he lie aloft as aforesaid, and strike aloft at the left side of your head, if you will ward his blow with forehand ward, then be sure to keep your distance, except he come so certain that you be sure to ward his blow, at which time if he come in wit hall, you may endanger him from that ward, either by blow, thrust or grip, Original Interpretation

6. If he lie aloft and you lie low with your sword in the variable fight, then if you offer to ward his blow made at your head, with true gardant ward your time will be too long due in time to make sure ward, for that it is better to bear it with forehand ward, but be sure to keep your distance to make him come in with his feet, whereby his times will be too long to do that he intendeth. Original Interpretation

7. If 2 men fight both upon open fight he that first breaketh his distance, if he attempt to strike at the otherís head, shall be surely stricken on the head himself, if the patient agent strike there at in his coming in, and slip a little back with all, for that sliding back maketh an indirection whereby your blow crosseth his head, and maketh a true ward for your own, this will that be, because of his length of time in his coming in Original Interpretation

8. Also if 2 fight upon open fight, it is better for the patient to strike home strongly at the agentís head, when the said agent shall press upon him to win the place than to thrust, because the blow of the patient is not only hurtful to the Agent, but it also maketh a true cross to defend his own head. Original Interpretation

9. If he charge you aloft, out of the open or true gardant fight, if you answer him with the imperfect gardant fight, with your body leaning forward, your space will be too wide on both sides to make a true ward in due time, and your arm and body will be too near unto him, so that with the bending in of his body with the time of hand and foot, he may take the grip of you. Original Interpretation

But if you stand upright in true gardant fight, then he cannot reach to take the grip of you, nor otherwise to offend you if you keep your distance, without putting in of his foot or feet wherein his number will be to great, and so his time will be too long, and you in that time may by putting in of your body take the grip of him, if he press to come in with using only your hand, or hand and foot, and thereupon you may strike or thrust with your sword and fly out withal according to your governors, see more of this in the chapter of the grip.

10. If he will still press forcibly aloft upon you, charging you out of the open fight or true gardant fight, intending to hurt you in the face or head, or to take the grip of you against such a one, you must use both gardant and open fight whereby upon every blow or thrust that he shall make at you, you may from your wards, strike or thrust him in the face head or body as it appeareth more at large in the 5th Chapter of these my Instructions. Original Interpretation

11. If you fight with one that standeth only upon his gardant fight or if he seek to come in to you by the same fight, then do you strike and thrust continually at all manner of open place that shall come nearest unto you, still remembering your governors, so shall he continually be in danger and often wounded, and wearied in that kind of fight, and if you shall be safe, the reason is, he is a certain mark to you, and you are an uncertain mark to him Original Interpretation

And further because he ties himself unto one kind of fight only, he shall be wearied for want of change of lying, and you by reason of many changes shall not only still fight at ease, and much more brave, but you have likewise 4 fights to his one, to wit, gardant, open, close, and variable fight, to his gardant only, therefore that fight only is not to be stood upon or used. Original Interpretation

12. But if all this will not serve, and although he hath received many wounds, will continually run on to come in, and forcibly break your distance, then may you safely take the grip of him and hurt him at your pleasure with your sword, as appeareth in the chapter of the grip and he can neither hurt nor take the grip of you, because the number of his feet are too many to bring his hand in place in due time for such a one ever giveth you the place, therefore be sure to take your time herein. Original Interpretation

In the like sort may you do at sword and dagger, or sword and buckler, at such time as I say, that you may take the grip at the single fight, you may then instead of the grip, soundly strike him with your buckler on the head or stab him with your dagger and instantly either strike up his heels or fly out, and as he liketh that cooling card to his hot brain, sick fit, so let him come for another.

13. If 2 fight and that both lie upon the true gardant fight and that one of them will need seek to win the halfsword by pressing in, that may you safely do, for upon that fight the halfsword may safely be won, but he that first cometh in, must first go out, and that presently, otherwise his guard will be too wide above to defend his head, or if fit for that defense then will it be too wide underneath to defend that thrust from his body which things the patient agent may do, and fly out safe, and that agent cannot avoid it, because the moving of his feet maketh his ward unequal to defend both parts in due time, but the one or the other will be deceived and in danger, for he being agent upon his first entrance his time (by reason of the number of his feet), will be too long, so that the patient Agent may first enter into his action and then Agent must be of force an after-doer, and therefore cannot avoid this offense aforesaid Original Interpretation

14. If he come in to encounter the Close and grip upon the bastard gardant, then you may cross his blade with yours upon the like gardant ward also, and as he cometh in with his feet and have gained you the place, you may presently uncross and strike him a sound blow on the head, and fly out instantly, wherein he cannot offend you by reason of his lost time, nor defend himself upon your uncrossing because his space is too wide whereby his time will be too long in due time to prevent your blow, this may you do safely. Original Interpretation

15. If he come in upon the bastard gardant ward, bearing his hilt lower than his head, or but breast high or lower, then strike him soundly on the head which thing you may easily do, because his space is too wide in due time to ward the same Original Interpretation

16. If your enemy charge you upon his stocatta fight, you may lie with large distance and uncertain with your sword and body at your pleasure, yet so that you may strike, thrust or ward, and go forth and back as occasion is, to take the advantage of his coming in, whether he doth it out of the Stocatta or passatta which advantage you shall be sure to have, if you observe this rule and be not rash in your actions, by reason that the number of his feet will be great and also because when those 2 fights are met together it is hard to make a true cross, therefore without large distance be kept of them, commonly they both hurt or slain, because in narrow distance their hands have free course and are not tied to the time of the foot, by which swift motion of the hand the eye is deceived, as you may read more at large in the ________ cap: of my paradoxes of defense. Original Interpretation

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

Upon this ground some shallow witted fellow may say if the patient must keep large distance then he must be driven to go back still, to which I answer that In the continual motion and traverse of his ground he is to traverse circularwise, forwards, backwards, upon the right hand and upon the left hand, the which traverse is still a certainty to be used within himself, and not to be prevented by the agent because the Agent cometh one upon an uncertain mark, for when he thinketh to be sure of his purpose, the patient is sometimes on the one side, and sometimes on the other side, sometimes too far back, and sometimes too near, so that still the agent must use the number of his feet which will be too long to answer the hand of the patient agent, and it cannot be denied but the patient agent by reason of his large distance, still seeth what the Agent doth in his coming, but the Agent cannot see what the other dot, till the patient agent be into his action therefore too late for either to hurt the patient, or in due time to defend himself, because he entereth his action upon the knowledge of the patient but he knoweth not what the patient agent will do till it be too late.

17. If the Agent say that then he will stand fast upon some sure guard and sometimes moving and traversing his round and keep large distance as the patient do, to which I answer that when 2 men shall meet that have both the perfection of their weapons, against the best no hurt can be done, otherwise if by any device one should be able to hurt the other, then were there no perfection in the use of weapons, this perfection of fight being observed, preventeth both close fight, and all manner of closes, grips, and wrestling and all manner of such other devices what so ever. Original Interpretation

Also if he charge you upon his Stocatta, or any other lying after that fashion, with his point low and large paced, then lie you aloft with your hand and hilt above your head, either true gardant or upon the open fight, then he cannot reach you if you keep your distance without putting in of his foot or feet, but you may reach him with the time of your hand or with the time of your hand and body, or of hand, body and foot, because he hath already put in his body within your reach and have gained you the place, and you are at liberty and without his reach, till he put in his foot or feet, which time is too long to answer the time of your hand and his space too wide in that place to make a ward in due time to defend his head, arms and hand one of which will be always within your reach. Original Interpretation

Note still in this that your weapons be both short of the equal an convenient length of the short sword. Original Interpretation

If out of his variable fight he strike at the right side or left side of the head or body, then your best ward is to bear it with forehand ward, otherwise your space will be too wide and too far to make your ward in due time.

20. If he lie variable after the manner of the passata then if you lie aloft as is above said, you have the advantage because he that lieth variable cannot reach home, at head hand or arm, without putting in of his foot or feet and therefore it cannot be denied but that he that playeth aloft hath still the time of the hand to the time of the foot, which fight being truly handled is advantage invincible. Original Interpretation

21. If he lie variable upon the imbrocatta, then make a narrow space with your point upward and suddenly if you can cross his point with your blade put aside his point strongly with your sword and strike or thrust at him, and fly out instantly, ever remembering your governors that he deceive you not in taking of his point. Original Interpretation

22. If he strike or thrust at your leg or lower part out of any fight he shall not be able to reach the same unless you stand large paced with bending knee, or unless he come within his foot or feet, the which if he shall so do, then you may strike or thrust at his arm or upper part so then he putteth them into the place gaining you the place whereby you may strike home upon him and he cannot reach you. Original Interpretation

But if he stand large paced with bending knee then win the place and strike home freely at his knee and fly back therewith.

23. If he come to the close fight with you and that you are both crossed aloft at the halfsword with your points upwards, then if he come in with all in his crossing bear strongly your hand and hilt over his wrist, close by his hilt putting it over at the backside of his hand and hilt pressing down his hand and hilt strongly and suddenly, in your entering in and so thrust your hilt in his face, or strike him upon the head with your sword and strike up his heels, and fly out. Original Interpretation

24. If you are both so crossed at the bastard gardant ward, and if he then press in, then take the grip of him as is showed in the chapter of the grip. Original Interpretation

Or with your left hand or arm, strike his sword blade strongly and suddenly toward your left side y which means you are uncrossed and he is discovered, then may you thrust him in the body with your sword and fly out instantly, which thing he cannot avoid, neither can he offend you.

Or being so crossed, you may suddenly uncross and strike him upon the head and fly out instantly which thing you may safely do and go out free.

25. If you be both crossed at the halfsword with his point up and your point down in the true gardant ward, then if he press to come in, then either take the grip of him as in the chapter of the grip, or with your left hand or arm, strike out his sword blade towards your left side as aforesaid, and so you may thrust him in the body with your sword and fly out instantly. Original Interpretation

26. Do you never attempt to close or come to the grip at these weapons unless it be upon the slow motion r disorder of your enemy, Original Interpretation

but if he will close with you, then you may take the grip of him safely at his coming in for he that first by strong pressing in adventureth the close loseth it, and is in great danger by reason that the number of his feet are too great, whereby his time will be too long, in due time to answer the hand of the patient agent, as in the chapter of the grip doeth plainly appear.

27. Always remembering if you fight upon the variable fight that you ward upon forehand ward, otherwise your space will be too wide in due time to make a true gardant ward, to defend yourself Original Interpretation

28. If you fight upon open fight, or true gardant fight, never ward upon forehand ward for then your space will be too wide also, in due time to make a sure ward. Original Interpretation

29. If he lie aloft with his point toward you, after the manner of the Imbrocatta, then make your space narrow with your point upward and put by his point and strike or thrust as aforesaid but be sure herein to keep your distance that he deceive you not in taking of his point. Original Interpretation

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

1. If your enemy strike at the right side of your head, you lying true gardant, then put your hilt a little down, mounting your point, so that your blade may cross athwart your face, so that you make a true ward for the right side of your head, from the which ward you may instantly strike him on the right or left side of the head, or to turn down your point, and thrust him in the body, or you may strike him on the left side of the body, or on the outside of his left thigh. Original Interpretation

Or you may strike him on the outside of the right thigh, one of those he cannot avoid if he fly not back instantly upon his blow, because he knoweth not which of these the patient agent will do.

2. If you lie upon your true gardant ward, and he strike at the left side of your head, you have the choice from your ward to strike him from it, on the right or left side of the head, or to turn down your point and thrust him in the body, or you may strike him on the outside of the right or left thigh, for the reason above said in the last rule, except he fly out instantly upon his blow. Original Interpretation

3. If he charge you upon the open or true gardant fight, if you will answer him with the like, then keep your distance and let your gathering be all ways in that fight to ward his right side so shall you with your sword choke up any blow that he can make at you, from the which ward you may strike him on the right or left side of the head, or thrust him in the body. Original Interpretation

But if he thrust at your face or body, then you may out of your gardant fight break it down ward with your sword bearing your point strongly toward your right side from the which breaking of his thrust you may likewise strike him from the right or left side of the head, or thrust him in the body.

4. If you meet with one that cannot strike from his ward, upon such a one you may both double and false and so deceive him, but if he be skilful you must not do so, because he will be still so uncertain in his traverse that he will still prevent you of time and place, so that when you think to double and false, you shall gain him the place and thereupon he will be before you in his action, and in your coming he will still endanger you. Original Interpretation

5. If you fight upon the variable fight, and that you receive a blow with forehand ward, made at the right side of your head or body, you have the choice of 8 offensive actions from that ward, the first to strike him on the right side either of the head shoulder or thigh, or to thrust him either on the head shoulder or thigh, or to thrust him in the body or to strike him on the left side either on the head shoulder or thigh, or to thrust him in the body, the like may you do if he strike ever at your left side, as is above said, if you bear it with forehand ward. Original Interpretation

6. In this forehand ward keep your distance, and take heed that he deceive you not with the downright blow at your head out of his open fight for being within distance the swift motion of the hand may deceive your eye, because you know not by which side of your sword his blow will come. Original Interpretation

7. Also see that he deceive you not upon any false offering to strike at the one side, and when thereby you have turned your point aside, then to strike on the other side, but if you keep distance you are free from that, therefore still in all your actions remember the governors. Original Interpretation

8. If he will do nothing but thrust, answer him as it is set down in the 16th ground of the short sword fight and also in the diverse places of the 8th chapter. Original Interpretation

9. Also consider if he lie at the thrust upon the stocatta or passata and you have no way to avoid him, except you can cross hi sword blade with yours, and so indirect his point, therefore keep narrow space upon his point, and keep well your distance using your traverse. Original Interpretation

But if he put forth his point so that you may cross it with forehand ward, for if you watch for his thrust then lie upon forehand ward with point a little up. If he lie with his point mounted, and if you single your thrust upon the side of your sword to ward your right side, or back of your sword hand, strike or bear his point out toward your right side, and there upon putting forward your body and left foot circular wise toward his right side you may strike him upon his sword arm, head face or body.

Or if you take it on the inside of your sword blade to ward your left side then with your sword put by his point strongly and suddenly toward your left side, drawing your left foot circular wise back behind the heel of your right foot, and strike him on the inside of his sword hand or arm or on the head, face or body and fly out according to your governors.

This may you use against the sword and dagger long or short, or rapier and poigniard, or sword and buckler.

10. Also remember if he have a long sword, and you a short sword, ever to make your space so narrow, that you may always break his thrust before that be in force if possible you may, and also to keep large distance whether he charge you out of the Stocatta, passatta or imbrocatta and co. Original Interpretation

of this you may see more at large in the 8th Chapter

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

1. If he strike aloft at the left side of your head and run in with all to take the close or grip of you, then ward it gardant and enter in with your left side putting in your left hand on the inside of his sword arm, near his hilt, bearing your hand over his arm, and wrap in his hand and sword under your arm as he cometh in, wresting his hand and sword close to your body turning back your right side from him, so shall he not be able to reach your sword, but you shall still have it at liberty to strike or thrust him and endanger the breaking of his arm, or taking away his sword by that grip. Original Interpretation

2. If you are both crossed in close fight upon the bastard gardant ward low, you may 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 Interpretation

3. In like sort upon this kind of close, you may clap your left hand upon the wrist of his sword arm, holding it strongly and therewith thrust him hard from you, and presently you may thrust him in the body with your sword for in that instant he can neither ward, strike nor thrust. Original Interpretation

4. If he strike home at the left side of your head, and there with all come in to take the close or grip of your hilt or sword arm with his left hand, first ward his blow gardant and be sure to put your left hand under you sword and take hold on the outside of his left hand, arm or sleeve, putting your hand under the wrist of his arm with the top of your fingers upward and your thumb and knuckles downward, then pluck him strongly toward your left side, so shall you indirect his feet turning his left shoulder toward you, upon which instant you may strike or thrust him with your sword and fly out safe, for his feet being indirected, although he hat his sword at liberty, yet shall he not be able to make any offensive fight against you because his time will be too long to direct his feet again to us his sword in due time. Original Interpretation

5. Also if he attempt the close or grip with you upon his bastard gardant ward, then cross his sword with the like ward, and as he cometh in with his feet you have the time of your hand and body, whereby with your left hand or arm you may put by his sword blade, which thing you must suddenly and strongly do, casting it toward your left side, so may you uncross and thrust him in the body with your sword and fly out instantly for if you stay there he will direct his sword again and endanger you, this may safely be done or you may uncross and turn your point up and strike him on the head and fly out instantly. Original Interpretation

6.If he press in to the halfsword upon the forehand ward, then strike a sound blow at the left side of his head turning strongly your hand and hilt pressing down his sword hand and arm strongly and strike your hilt full in his face, bearing your hilt strongly upon him, for your hand being uppermost you have the advantage in that grip, for so may you break his face with your and strike up his heels with your left foot, and throw him a great fall all this may safely be done by reason that he is weak in his coming in by that moving of his feet, and you repel him in the fullness of your strength as appeareth in the chapter of the short single sword fight, in the 23rd ground of the same. Original Interpretation

7. Remember that you never attempt the close nor grip but look to his slip, consider what is said in the 8th general rule in the second chapter and also in the 26th ground of the single sword fight in the 4th chapter. Original Interpretation

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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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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

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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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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 Interpretation

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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 Interpretation

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

These weapons are to be used in the fight as the short staff, if both play upon double & single hand, at the 2 hand sword, the long sword has the advantage if the weight thereof is not too heavy for his strength that has it, but if both play only upon double hand, then his blade which is convenient length agreeing with his stature that has it, which is according with the length of the measure of his single sword blade, has the advantage of the sword that is too long for the stature of the contrary party, because he that can cross & uncross, strike & thrust, close & grip in shorter time than the other can.

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

Cap. 11.

The short staff has 4 wards, that is 2 with the point up, & 2 with the point down.

1. At these weapons ever lie so you may be able to thrust single & double, & to ward, strike, or thrust in due time, so shall your enemy, if he strikes only upon double hand be driven of necessity, seeking to win the place, to gain you the place whereby you may safely hurt him, & go free yourself by reason of your distance, & where you shall seek to win the place upon him he shall not be able to gain the place upon you, nor keep the place from you whereby he shall either be hurt, or in great danger of hurt, by reason of your large reach, true place & distance, your fight being truly handled keeping itself from close & grip. Original Interpretation

2. And in like sort shall it be between two, which shall play upon the best, that is, if they play both double & single handed.Original Interpretation

3. If you find yourself too strong for your adversary in any manner of ward, whether the same be above or below, put by his staff with force, & then strike or thrust him from it,Original Interpretation

4. But if you find him too strong for you upon his blows from aloft, so that you can hardly bear them upon your ward, then when he strikes in aloft at your head, & by his main strength would beat down your staff, & so give you a hurt before you shall be able to come again into your ward.Original Interpretation

Against such a one give a slip in the sort, suddenly draw back the higher part of your body a little & your foremost foot withal, & slip in the point of your staff under his staff, & thrust single at him, & fly out with all, so shall you be sure to hit him & go out free.

5. If he lies aloft with his staff, then you lie with your back hand low, with your point upwards towards his staff, making your space narrow because you may cross his staff to ward his blow before it comes into full force, & then strongly & suddenly misdirect his point & so thrust at him single, the which you may do before he can remove his feet, by reason of the swiftness of your hand or fly out therewith, do this for both sides of the head if cause requires it, so shall you save both your head, body, and all parts, for your upper parts are guarded, & your lower parts far out of his reach.Original Interpretation

6. If he lies low with his point down, then lie you with your point down also, with your foremost hand low & your hind most hand high, so that you may cross his staff, & do all things as said in the other.Original Interpretation

7. If he lies upon the thrust then you lie with your space narrow lying up or down with your point in such sort as you may cross his staff, & thereby you shall be able to put or beat by his thrust before it is in full force, & then strike or thrust, ever remembering your governors.Original Interpretation

If upon this any will object that if this is true, then it is in vain to strike, to thrust, because he that does it is still in danger, this doubt is answered in the short single sword fight, in the 12th ground thereof.

8. If your adversary strikes aloft at any side of your head or body, ward it with your point up & making your space so narrow that you may cross his staff before it comes in full force bearing or beating down his blow strongly, back again towards that side that he strikes in at you, & out of that ward, then instantly, either strike from that ward turning back your staff, & strike him on that side of the that is next to your staff.Original Interpretation

Or lift up your staff again, & so strike him on the head or body, or thrust at his body double or single, as you may find your best advantage ever in holding your staff, let there be such convenient space between your hands, wherein you shall find yourself most apt to ward, strike or thrust to your best liking.

9. If you play with your staff with your left hand before and your right hand back behind, as many men find themselves most apt when that hand is before, & if your adversary upon his blow comes in to take the close of you, when you find his staff crossed with yours near his hand, then suddenly slip up you right hand close to the hind side of your foremost hand, & presently loosing the hind side of your foremost hand & put in under your own staff, & then cross or put by his staff therewith your hand take hold of his staff in such sort that your little finger be towards the point of his staff, & your thumb & forefinger towards his hands, & presently with your right hand mount the point of your own staff casting the point thereof over your right shoulder, with your knuckles downwards, & so stab him in the body or face with the hind end of your staff, but be sure to stab him at his coming in, whether you catch his staff or not, for sometimes his staff will lie to far out that upon his coming in you cannot reach it, then catch that arm in his coming in which he shall first put forth within your reach, but be sure to stab, for his staff can do you no hurt, and having so done, if you find yourself too strong for him, strike up his heels, if too weak fly out.Original Interpretation

10. The like must you do if you play with your right hand before, & your left hand back behind, but if you need not to slide forth your left hand, because your right hand is in the right place on your staff already to use in that action, but then you must displace your left hand to take hold of his staff, or the grip as is aforesaid, & to use the stab as is above said.Original Interpretation

11. If both lie aloft as aforesaid, & play with the left hand before, if he strikes at the right side of your head or body then must you cross his staff before his blow is in full force, by making your space narrow, & then strike it strongly back again towards his left side, & from that ward you may turn back your staff & strike him backward & therewith on the left side of his head, or lift up your staff & strike him on the right or left side of the head, body, or arm, or thrust him in the body, the like blows or thrusts any you make at him whether he strikes or thrusts, having put by his staff, remembering your governors.Original Interpretation

The like order must you use in playing with the right hand foreward.

12. But if he thrusts at you continually then ever have a special care to consider, whether he lies aloft or below, & does continually thrust at you therefrom, then look that you always lie so that you make your space so narrow upon him, that you are sure to cross his staff with yours, & put it before it is in full force, and from that ward, thrust at him single or double as you find it best, & if he remembers not to fly back at the instant when he thrusts it will be too late for him to avoid any thrust that you shall make at him.Original Interpretation

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

1. If you have a staff of the convenient length against a staff of longer length than is convenient, then make your space narrow, & seek not to offend until you have strongly & swiftly put by his point which you shall with ease accomplish, by reason of your narrow space & your force, then strike or thrust him as you shall think best.Original Interpretation

2. This short staff fight against the long staff is done in the same sort that short staff fight to short staff fight is done, but that the man with the short staff must always remember to keep narrow space upon the long staff, where so ever the long staff shall lie, high or low, continually make your space narrow upon him, so shall you be sure if he strikes or thrusts at you, to take the same before it is into its full force & by reason that your force is more with your short staff than his can be at the point of his long staff you shall cast his staff so far out of the straight line with your short staff, that you may safely enter in with your feet, & strike or thrust home at him.Original Interpretation

3. Yet this present shift he has at that instant, he may slip back his staff in his hands, which time is swifter then your feet coming forward, whereby he will have his staff as short as yours, yet by reason that at the first you cast his staff so far out of the right line, that you had time to enter with your feet, you shall then be so near him, that you make narrow space upon him again, so that he shall have no time to slip foreward his staff again in his former place, nor go back with his feet, & so to recover the hind end of his staff again, because if he slips forth his staff to strike or thrust at you, that may you safely defend because of your narrow space upon him, & therewithal you may strike or thrust him from your ward, either at single or double.Original Interpretation

4. But if he will go back with his feet thinking by that means to recover the whole length of his staff again, that can he not do in convenient time because the time of your hand is swifter than the time of his feet, by reason whereof you may strike or thrust him in his going back.Original Interpretation

5. Again it is to be remembered in that time that you keep him at bay, upon the drawing in of his staff, the hind end thereof lying so far back behind will be so troublesome for him, that he can make no perfect fight against you & commonly in his drawing in of his staff it will be too short to make a true fight against you, neither to offend you or make himself safe.Original Interpretation

6. If he attempts the close with you then stab him with the hind end of your staff as said in the fight of the 2 short staves of convenient length, in the 9th ground thereof.Original Interpretation

Note: Remember that at the Morris pike, forest bill, long staff & two handed sword, that you lie in such sort upon your wards that you may both ward, strike & thrust both double & single, & then return to your former wards slips & lie again & then are you as you were before.

The like fight is to be used with the javelin, partisan, halberd, black bill, battle axe, glaive, half pike, etc.

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

1. The forest bill has the fight of the staff but it has 4 wards more with the head of the bill, that is one to bear it upwards, another to beat it downwards so that the carriage of your bill head is with the edge neither up nor down but sideways.Original Interpretation

The other 2 wards are one to cast his bill head downwards towards the right side, & the other towards the left.

And upon either on(e) of these wards or catches run up to his hands with the head of your bill & then by reason that you have put his staff out of the right line, you may catch at his head, neck, arm or legs, etc., with the edge of your bill, & hook or pluck him strongly to you & fly out withal.

2. If you cast his staff so far out that your bill slides not up to his hands, then you may safely run in sliding your hands within one yard of the head of your bill, & so with your bill in one hand take him by the leg with the blade of your bill & pluck him to you & with your other hand defend yourself from his gripping if he offers to grapple with you.Original Interpretation

3. If you fight bill to bill do the like in all respects as with the staff in your fight, for your bill fight & staff fight is all one, but only for the defence & offense with the head of the bill, & where the staff man upon the close if he uses the stab with the butt end of his staff, the bill man at that time is to use the catch at the leg with the edge of his bill in the second ground above is said.Original Interpretation

4. Remember ever in all your fights with this weapon to make your space narrow whether it is against the staff or bill so that whatsoever he shall do against you, you shall still make your ward before he is in his full force to offend you.Original Interpretation

5. Also if you can reach within the head of his bill with the head of your bill then suddenly with the head of your bill snatch his bill head strongly towards you, & therewithal indirect his bill head & forcibly run up your bill head to his hands, so have you the like advantage as above said, whereas I spoke of running up towards his hands.Original Interpretation

6. If he lies low with this bill head then if you can put your bill head in over the head of his bill, & strongly put down his bill staff with your bill head, bearing it flat, then you may presently run up your bill head single handed to his hands & fly out therewith, so shall you hurt him in the hands & go free yourself.Original Interpretation

7. The like may you do with your bill against the short staff if you can press it down in the like sort, but if he has a long staff then run up double handed with both hands upon your bill, which thing you may safely do because you are in your strength & have taken him in the weak part of his staff.Original Interpretation

8. If he lies high with his bill head then put up your bill head under his & cast out his bill to the side that you shall find most fit, so have you the advantage to thrust or hook at him & fly out.Original Interpretation

Or if you cast out his bill far out of the right line then run in & take him by the leg with the edge of your bill, as is said in the 2nd ground of this chapter.Original Interpretation

9. If you ward his blow with the bill staff within your bill head then answer him as with the short staff.Original Interpretation

Note: That as the bill man's advantage is to take the staff with the head of the bill so that the staff man by reason that the head of the bill is a fair mark has the advantage of him in the casting aside of the head of the bill with his staff or beating it aside, the which if the bill man looks not very well into the staff man thereupon will take all manner of advantages of the staff fight against him.Original Interpretation

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

1. If you fight with your enemy having both morris pikes with both points of your pikes forewards, low upon the ground, holding the butt end of the pike in one hand single with knuckles upwards & the thumb underneath, with the thumb & forefinger towards your face & the little finger towards the point of the pike, bearing the butt end of the pike from the one side to the other right before your face, then lie you with your arm spent & your body open with your hand to your right side with your knuckles downwards & your nails upwards.Original Interpretation

Or you may lie in that sort, with your hand over to the left side with your knuckles upwards & your nails downwards, whereby all your body will be open, if then he shall suddenly raise up the point of his pike with his other hand & come thrust at you, then in the mounting of his point or his coming in, suddenly toss the point of your pike with your hand single & so thrust him in the legs with your pike & fly out therewith.Original Interpretation

Or else you may stand upon your ward & not toss up your point but break his thrust by crossing the point of his pike with the middle of your pike by casting up your hand, with the butt end of your pike above your head, & so bearing over his point with your staff, to the other side as for example.Original Interpretation

2. If you lie with your hand spent towards the left side of your body, then suddenly bear his point over strongly towards your right side.Original Interpretation

If you lie with your hand spent towards your right side then bear his point towards your left side, & thereupon gather up your pike with your other hand & thrust him & fly out.Original Interpretation

If he continues his fight with his point above, & you lie with your pike breast high & higher with you hand & point so, that you make your thrust at his face or body with your point directly towards his face, holding your pike with both your hands on your back hand with your knuckles upwards & your foreward hand with your knuckles downwards & there shaking your pike & falsing at his face with your point as near his face as you may, then suddenly make out your thrust single handed at his face & fly out withal, which thrust he can hardly break one of 20 by reason that you made your space so narrow upon his guard, so that you being first in your action he will still be too late in his defence to defend himself.Original Interpretation

4. But note while you lie falsing to deceive him look to your legs that he in the mean time toss not up the point of his pike single handed & hurt you therewith in the shins.Original Interpretation

5. If he lies so with his point up aloft as you do then make your space narrow mounting your point a little & cross his pike with yours & strongly and suddenly cast his point out of the right line & thrust home from the same single or double as you find your best advantage, & fly out therewith.Original Interpretation

Or you may run in when you have cast out his point finding both your hands on your staff 'til you come within 3 quarters of a yard of the head of your pike & stab him through with one hand & with the other keep him from the grip.Original Interpretation

6. Now if he is a man of skill, notwithstanding the making of the fault in suffering you to do so yet this help he has, as you are coming in he will suddenly draw in his pike point & fly back withal, then have you no help but to fly out instantly to the middle of your pike & from thence back to the end & then are you as at the first beginning of your fight you were.Original Interpretation

7. If you find that he lies far out of the right line with his point or that you can so far indirect the same then cast your pike out of your hands, cross over upon the middle of his pike, by which means you shall entangle his pike, then while he does strive to get his pike at liberty, run you in suddenly drawing your dagger & strike or staff at him.Original Interpretation

8. Then if he has the perfection of this fight as well as you, he will be ready with his dagger as you are with yours, then must you fight it out at the single dagger fight as is shown in the 15th chapter: then he that has not the perfection of that fight goes to ruin.Original Interpretation

9. And here note that in all the course of my teaching of these my brief instructions if both the parties have the full perfection of the true fight then the one will not be able to hurt the other at what perfect weapon soever.Original Interpretation

10. But if a man that has the perfection of fight shall fight with one that has it not then must that unskillful man go to ruin & the other go free.Original Interpretation

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Chapter 15
Of the single dagger fight against the like weapon

1. First know that to this weapon there belongs no wards or grips but against such a one as is foolhardy & will suffer himself to have a full stab in the face or body or hazard the giving of another, then against him you may use your left hand in throwing him aside or strike up his heels after you have stabbed him.Original Interpretation

2. In this dagger fight, you must use continual motion so shall he not be able to put you to the close or grip, because your continual motion disappoints him of his true place, & the more fierce he is in running in, the sooner he gains you the place, whereby he is wounded, & you not anything the rather endangered.Original Interpretation

3. The manner of handling your continual motion is this, keep out of distance & strike or thrust at his hand, arm, face or body, that shall press upon you, & if he defends blow or thrust with his dagger make your blow or thrust at his hand.Original Interpretation

4. If he comes in with his left leg forewards or with the right, do you strike at that part as soon as it shall be within reach, remembering that you use continual motion in your progression & regression according to your twofold governors.Original Interpretation

5. Although the dagger fight is thought a very dangerous fight by reason of the shortness & singleness thereof, yet the fight thereof being handled as is aforesaid, is as safe & as defensive as the fight of any other weapon, this ends my brief instructions.Original Interpretation

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Sundry Kinds of Play or Fight Thornborow Original Interpretation

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

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.