19. The Rapier and DaggerΒΆ

Having as briefly as I might possibly finished all that which might be said, of true knowledge of single Rapier: it seems convenient, that coming from the simple to the compound, I handle these weapons first, which from the Rapier forwards are either most simple or least compound: And especially those which now adays are most used, and in the which men are most exercised, the which weapons are the Rapier and Dagger accompanied together, and are a great increase and furtherance both in striking and defending.

Wherefore, it is to be first considered, that which these and the like weapons, a man may practice that most desired and renowned manner of skirmishing, which is said to strike and defend both in one time, which is thought to be impossible to be done with the single Rapier, and yet in truth is not so: For there are some kind of blows in the defense of which one may also strike (as in the blows of the edge, down right and reversed) both high and low, and other high blows which here are not spoken of.

Wherefore seeing with these weapons a man may very commodiously, both strike and defend, for that the one is a great help to the other, it is to be remembered, that because these weapons are two, and the one of lesser quantity than the other, to each one be allotted that part both of defending and striking, which it is best able to support. So that to the Dagger, by reason of his shortness, is assigned the left side to defend down to the knee: and to the sword all the right side, and the right and left side jointly downwards from the knee. Neither may it seem strange that the only Dagger ought to defend all blows of the left side : for it does most easily sustain every edgeblow, when it encounters the sword in the first and second part thereof.

But yet let no man assure himself, to bear any blow, with his only Dagger when he meets with the sword on the third and fourth part thereof, because that part carries more force with it then may be sustained with the only Dagger. And yet for all that, no man ought to accustom himself to defend blows with the Rapier and Dagger both together, which manner of defending is now commonly used because men believe, that they stand more assuredly by that means, although in truth it is not so. For the Rapier and Dagger are so bound thereby, that they may not strike before they be recovered, and therein spend two times, under the which a man may be struck when he strikes continuing by the straight line, increasing forwards, perceiving his enemy to be occupied and troubled in defending of himself. And albeit this is not seen to come to passe many times, yet that is because the advantage is not known, or being known, men either ready to execute it, either stand greatly in fear to do it.

Therefore leaving aside this manner of defense, let each man use to oppose, one only weapon against the enemy’s sword, keeping the other free, that he may be able to strike at his pleasure.

And it is diligently to be noted, that not only the blows of the sword, but also of any other weapon be it never so great, may with the only Dagger be sustained and defended, when a man does boldly encounter it towards the hand.

It is therefore to be known, that in the handling of these two weapons one may with less danger give a blow with the edge then at single Rapier:  For albeit the point of the Rapier be moved out of the straight line: yet for all that there is not free power given to the enemy’s to strike, considering there is an other weapon contrariwise prepared to defend: but this does not so fall out at the single Rapier, which bearing itself far off when it strikes with the edge, does present and give the means to the enemy to hit home first. And yet for all that, I would not counsel no man, either in this or in any other sort of weapon to accustom himself to give blows with the edge: for that he may under them be most easily struck with a thrust.

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