2. The Means How to Obtain JudgmentΒΆ

Although I have very much in a manner in all quarters of Italy, seen most excellent professors of this Art, to teach in their Schools, and practice privately in the Lists to train up their Scholars. Yet I do not remember that I ever saw any man so thoroughly endowed with this first part, to wit, Judgment, that behalf required.

And it may be that they keep it secret of purpose: for amongst diverse disorderly blows, you might have seen some of them most gallantly bestowed, not without evident conjecture of deep judgment. But howsoever it be seeing I purpose to further this Art, in what I may, I will speak of this first part as aptly to the purpose, as I can.

It is therefore to be considered that man by so much the more waxes fearful or bold, by how much the more he knows how to avoid or not to eschew danger.

But to attain to this knowledge, it is most necessary that he always keep steadfastly in memory all these advertisements underwritten, from which springs all the knowledge of this Art. Neither is it possible without them to perform any perfect action for the which a man may give a reason. But if it so fall out that any man (not having the knowledge of these advertisements) perform any sure act, which may be said to be handled with judgment, that proceeds of no other thing, than of very nature, and of the mind, which of itself naturally conceives all these advertisements.

  • First, that the right or straight Line is of all other the shortest: wherefore if a man would strike in the shortest line, it is requisite that he strike in the straight line.
  • Secondly, he that is nearest, hits soonest. Out of which advertisement a man may reap this profit, that seeing the enemies sword far off, aloft and ready to strike, he may first strike the enemy, before he himself be struck.
  • Thirdly, a Circle that goes compassing bears more force in the extremity of the circumference, than in the center thereof.
  • Fourthly, a man may more easily withstand a small than a great force.
  • Fifthly, every motion is accomplished in time.

That by these Rules a man may get judgment, is most clear, seeing there is no other thing required in this Art, than to strike with advantage, and defend with safety.

This is done, when one strikes in the right line, by giving a thrust, or by delivering an edgeblow with that place of the sword, where it carries the most force, first striking the enemy before he be struck: The which is performed, when he perceives himself to be more near his enemy, in which case, he must nimbly deliver it. For there are a few nay there is no man at all, who (perceiving himself ready to be struck) gives not back, and forsakes to perform every other motion which he has begun.

And forasmuch, as he knows that every motion is made in time, he endeavors himself so to strike and defend, that he may use as few motions as is possible, and therein to spend as little time. And as his enemy moves much in diverse times he may be advertised hereby, to strike him in one or more of those times, so out of all due time spent.

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