70. Of the Two Hand SwordΒΆ

The two hand Sword, as it is used now a days being four handfuls in the handle, or more, having also the great cross, was found out, to the end it should be handled one to one at an equal match, as other weapons, of which I have entreated. But because one may with it (as a galleon among many galleys) resist many Swords, or other weapons: Therefore in the wars, it is used to be place near unto the Ensign or Ancient, for the defense thereof, because, being of itself able to contend with many, it may the better safeguard the same. And it is accustomed to be carried in the City, aswell by night as by day, when it so chances that a few are constrained to withstand a great many. And because his weight and bigness, requires great strength, therefore those only are allotted to the handling thereof, which are mighty and big to behold, great and strong in body, of stout and valiant courage. Who (forasmuch as they are to encounter many, and to the end they may strike the more safely, and amaze them with the fury of the Sword) do altogether use to deliver great edge blows, down right and reversed, fetching a full circle, or compass therein, staying themselves sometimes upon one foot, sometimes on the other, utterly neglecting to thrust, and persuading them-selves, that the thrust serves to amaze one man only, but those edge blows are of force to encounter many. The which manner of skirmishing, besides that, it is most gallant to behold, being accompanied with exceeding swiftness in delivery, (for otherwise it works no such effect) it also most profitable, not properly of itself, because men considering the fury of the sword, which greatly amazes them, are not so resolute to do that, which otherwise they could not choose but do. That is, either to encounter the sword in the middle towards the handle, when it carries small force, or else to stand far off, watching whilst the sword goes, and is carried compassing in his great circle, being of the compass of ten arms, or more, and then to run under it, and deliver a thrust. And these two ways are effectual, when such men are met withal, who are exercised to enter nimbly and strike, or such as dare, and have the spirit and courage, to set, and oppose themselves single against the two hand sword, even as the single two hand sword adventures to oppose itself against many. Neither is this thing to be marveled at, for in these our days, there be things performed of greater activity and danger. And there be some which dare do this with the sword and round Target, but yet they are not resolute to strike first, but will receive and sustain the blow, with the round Target, and then enter and thrust, this truly betokens great courage and activity, although not such is required in this behalf.

This much concerning that, which appertains to the defense of circular blows, of the two hand sword, when it endeavors to oppose itself against many. And forasmuch as men have, and sometimes do use, both in the lists and other places, to fight single combats, one to one with the single two hand sword, I will also declare my opinion touching the same.

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