8. Of Wards

Wards in weapons are such sites, positions or placings which withstand the enemy’s blows, and are as a shield or safeguard against them. For he who has no skill to carry his body and bear these weapons orderly, which either cover, or may easily may cover the whole body, cannot be said to stand in ward, insomuch that a man ought to use great diligence in the apt carrying of his body and weapons, For many times he ought to settle and repose himself in his ward, therein deliberating upon some new devise, or expecting when his enemy will minister occasion to enter upon him. The Wards which may be used with the single sword are threefold, Neither in my opinion may they be any more: for that one only straight line, which is the sword, may not cover, defend and easily offend after any other manner.

8.1. The High Ward

This high ward, which also might be called the first, being the very same which every man frames at the drawing of the sword out of the sheath, may so far forth, and insomuch be termed a ward, in how much, by turning the point of the sword downward, it wards the whole person, and for that, by gathering in of the hindfoot, and increasing forwards with the right foot, a man may discharge a strong thrust above hand at his enemy.In this, and in all other wards, it is diligently to benoted, that he bear his weapons so orderly disposed, that the straight line which goes from the sword’s point be still best to strike the enemy, either in the face or the breast: for if the point be so borne that it respect over the enemy’s head, the enemy may easily first enter underneath and strike before the fall or descend thereof : And by holding the point two low, he may by beating it somewhat downwards cause it to be quit void of his body, and so safely come in to strike, the which has been many times seen.

image of high ward against low ward

8.2. The Broad Ward

This second ward from the effect shall be called the broad or wide ward, because the Arm widening and stretching itself directly as much as possible from the right side, bears the sword so far off from the body, that it seems to give great scope to the enemy to enter, albeit in truth it be nothing so. For although the hand and the handle of the sword, be both far from the body, and quite out of the straight line, yet the point of the sword, from which principally proceeds the offense, is not without the said line: For it is borne so bending toward the left side that it respects directly to strike the enemy, and being borne in that sort, it may very well both strike and defend. And when the point of the sword is borne out of the straight line, as the hand and handle is, then a man is in danger to bee hurt easily by the enemy, the which happens not when the point is bending, for in such order, it is as a bar and defense to the whole body.

image of broad ward against low ward

8.3. The Low Ward

This also from the effect is called the base ward or lock: Neither is this name improperly given by the Professors of this Art, for that it is more strong, sure and commodious then any other ward, and in the which a man may more easily strike, ward and stand therein with less pain. This ward is framed in the Schools after diverse fashions, either bearing the hand low before the knee, either very much stretched forwards, either between both the knees. All which fashions, (if we regard natural reason, and the motions used therein) are to small purpose: for, besides that they are all violent, and for a small time to be endured, they are also such, in the which a man may not strike but in two times, or at least in one, and then very weakly. Wherefore, casting all these aside, I will frame such a ward, as shall be applied, to time, to nature, and to safety: And it is, when one bears his arm directly downwards near his knee (but yet without it) and his sword with his point somewhat raised, and bearing towards the left side, to the end, it may arm and defend that part also, in such sort, that (being borne without violence) he may continue long. And if he would strike, he may in one time, forcibly deliver a great thrust. But this he cannot do, if he bear his sword directly before him, for then he must either draw back his arm when he would strike, or else strike in one time, but very weakly. This ward therefore must be framed with the arm stretched downwards near the knee, but yet on the outside thereof, because after this manner a man stands safely, commodiously, and more ready, both to strike and defend.

image of low ward against low ward

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