4. Of the SwordΒΆ

Albeit Weapons aswell offensive as defensive be infinite, because all that whatsoever a man may handle to offend another or defend himself, either by flinging or keeping fast in his hand may in my opinion be termed Weapon. Yet notwithstanding, because, as I have before said, they be innumerable so that if I should particularly handle every one, besides the great toil and travail I should sustain, it would also doubtless be unprofitable, because the principals and grounds which are laid down in this Art, serve only for such weapons as are commonly practiced, or for such as happily men will use: and so leaving all those which at this present make not for my purpose, I affirm, that amongst all the weapons used in these days, there is none more honorable, more usual or more safe than the sword.

Coming therefore first to this weapon, as unto that on which is grounded the true knowledge of this Art, being of reasonable length, and having edges and point, wherein it seems to resemble every other weapon, It is to be considered, that forasmuch as it has no more than two edges and one point, a man may not strike with any other than with these, neither defend himself with any other than with these. Further all edge blows, be they right or reversed, frame either a circle or part of a circle: of the which the hand is the Center, and the length of the sword, the Diameter.

Whereupon he that would give either an edge blow in a great compass, either thrust with the point of the sword, must not only be nimble of hand, but also must observe the time of advantage, which is, to know when his own sword is more near and ready to strike than his enemy’s. For when the enemy fetches a compass with his sword, in delivering his stroke, at the length of the arm: if he then perceive himself to be nearer by half an arm, he ought not to care to defend himself, but with all celerity to strike. For as he hits home first, so he prevents the fall of his enemies sword. But if he be forced to defend himself from any edge blow, he must for his greater safety and ease of doing it, go and encounter it on the half sword that is hindmost: in which place as the enemies sword carries less force, so he is more near at hand to offend him.

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