39. The Manner How to Handle the BucklerΒΆ

If a man would, that the Buckler work the said effect, to wit: that it may be able with his smallness to cover the whole body, he must hold and bear it in his fist, as far off from the body as the arm may possibly stretch forth, moving always the arm and buckler together, as one entire and solid thing, having no bending, or as if the arm were united to the buckler, turning continually all the flat thereof towards the enemy. From which kind of holding proceed all these commodities following.

  1. The first is, that the arm (standing directly behind the Buckler) is wholly covered, neither may be struck by any manner of thing which is before it.
  2. The second, that all edgeblows are of force encountered in the first or second part thereof, where they carry least force: neither can it fall out otherwise, if the enemy would (in manner as he ought) strike either at the head or the body. For if the enemy would strike them, it is necessary, that his sword come within the buckler so much as the arm is long : For otherwise it shall never hit home. And in this case he may well ward each great blow, and therewithal easily strike, and that in a short time.
  3. The third commodity is, that all thrusts are most easily warded : for the Buckler being round, with the directly flat opposite against the enemy, and warding all the body, the enemy will not resolve himself to give a thrust but only against those parts which are so well covered by the Buckler, as, the head, the thighs, or some part of the body, being discovered by ill bearing of the buckler. And seeing that these thrusts, having to hit home, ought to enter so far in, as is from the buckler to the body and more (and that is the length of the arm) they may easily and without doubt (making less motion, and therefore in little time) be driven outwards by the Buckler before they come to the body. There are many other commodities to be gathered by so holding the buckler, which at this present are not to be recited.

Wherefore being to finish this Chapter, I say, that the Buckler ought not to defend, but only down to the knee and less. And reason would that it should defend no farther than the arm can stretch itself, that is to the middle thigh. In the act of fighting, a man stands always somewhat bowing, therefore a little more is allowed. The rest of the body downwards must be warded with the Sword only.

low ward with rapier and buckler

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