13. The Single Rapier

13.1. The Hurt of the High Ward at Single Rapier

The truest, and surest blow that may be given when a man lies at the high ward, is, the thrust above hand, aswell for that it is in the straight line, as also, because it naturally stays itself in the low ward: So that from the beginning to the ending of this blow, there is never any time given to the enemy to enter, by reason, that the point stands always directly against him. But in the discharging of this blow, a man must remember to draw his left foot near his right foot, and then to increase forwards with the right foot, and to deliver it as forcibly as he may, staying himself in the low ward.

True it is, that he may also deliver a right and reversed edgeblow at the head: or else, strike downwards from the wrist of the hand: but because he is not able to turn his wrist in so small a compass, in the discharge of an edgeblow, either high or low, but that the point of the sword will be out of the straight line, by the length of a sword, in the which (before it return) the enemy has sufficient time to strike: Therefore I would not counsel any man to use them either alone, or both together. But yet between two thrusts, they may be used together, by continuing the one after the other (though they be voided) until the last thrust, the which does safely rest in the low ward. The use of them is on this manner.

When one having discharged a thrust from the high ward, perceives that it does not hurt, because it was voided by the enemy’s sword, he must turn a right edgeblow from the wrist athwart the enemy’s head, fetching a compass with his foot behind him toward the right side, to the end the blow may be the longer, which is the longest of all others. But if the enemy void this in like case (which is very difficult) then he must suddenly turn the reverse from his elbow increasing therewithall a slope pace with the hindfoot. And it is to be noted, that in delivering a reverse, the slope pace is in a manner always to be used, to the end he may go forth of the straight line, in the which (if he should deliver it) he may easily be struck. Having used this pace and reverse, whether it hit or not, the sword in the same instant is something to be drawn or slid: which drawing is profitable in this, that in giving the reverse it does both cause the weapon to cut, and make the greater blow. Wherefore it is to be understood, that all edgeblows ought so to be delivered, that they may cut: for being directly given without any drawing, they cause but a small hurt.

Coming therefore to my purpose, I say: that as soon as he has so drawn his sword, he ought with the straight pace of the right foot, discharge a thrust underneath, being already prepared, the which thrust is so strong, both for aptness thereof and increase of the pace, that it pierces through any impediment withstanding it. And all these blows (beginning from the thrust abovehand, till the end of the thrust underneath) being roundly delivered one after another with such swiftness as is required, are in manner not to be warded. Besides, they have so great increase of pace, that it is not almost possible for the enemy to retire so much backward, as these increase upon him forward.