1. The First Part

1.1. The True Arte of Defense

The true art of defence is exactly teaching the manner how to handle weapons safely, as well offensive as defensive, with a Treatise of deceit or Falsing, and with a mean or way how a man may practice of himself to get Strength, Judgment, and Activity.

There is no doubt but that the Honorable exercise of the Weapon is made right perfect by means of two things, to wit: Judgment and Force: Because by the one, we know the manner and time to handle the weapon (how, or whatsoever occasion serves:) And by the other we have the power to execute therewith, in due time with advantage. And because, the knowledge of the manner and Time to strike and defend, does of itself teach us the skill how to reason and dispute thereof only, and the end and scope of this Art consists not in reasoning, but in doing: Therefore to him that is desirous to prove so cunning in this Art, as is needful, It is requisite not only that he be able to judge, but also that he be strong and active to put in execution all that which his judgment comprehends and sees. And this may not be done without strength and activity of body: The which if happily it be feeble, slow, or not of power to sustain the weight of blows, Or if it take not advantage to strike when time requires, it utterly remains overtaken with disgrace and danger: the which faults (as appears) proceed not from the Art, but from the Instrument badly handled in the action.

Therefore let every man that is desirous to practice this Art, endeavor himself to get strength and agility of body, assuring himself, that judgment without this activity and force, avails little or nothing: Yea happily gives occasion of hurt and spoil. For men being blinded in their own judgments, and presuming thereon, because they know how, and what they ought to do, give many times the onset and enterprise, but yet, never perform it in act.

But least I seem to ground this Art upon dreams and monstrous imaginations (having before laid down, that strength of body is very necessary to attain to the perfection of this Art, it being one of the two principal beginnings first laid down, and not as yet declared the way how to come by and procure the same) I have determined in the entrance of this work, to prescribe the manner how to obtain judgment, and in the end thereof by way of Treatise to show the means ( as far as appertains to this Art) by the which a man by his own endeavor and travail, may get strength and activity of body, to such purpose and effect, that by the instructions and reasons, which shall be given him, he may easily without other master or teacher, become both strong, active and skillful.

Table Of Contents

Previous topic

The Author’s Epistle unto divers Noble men and Gentlemen

Next topic

2. The Means How to Obtain Judgment

This Page