78. How to Strike with the HalberdΒΆ

In the handling of this weapon, there shall be framed (by my counsel) no more than one ward, bearing the hands, for the more surety in the middle of the staff. And that ward must be the low ward. The hands must be somewhat distant, one from an other, and the point of the weapon directly towards the enemy, regarding always to place himself with the contrary foot before, to that, which the enemy shall set forth, that is to say: If the enemy be before with the left foot, then to stand with the right foot, or contrary wise. And standing in manner aforesaid, he must always prove and try (before he be determined to deliver a thrust) to beat off the enemy’s weapon, which being done, presently deliver a forcible thrust toward the enemy. But because it may lightly so fall out, that in beating off the enemy’s weapon ( the enemy happily pretending to do the like) the weapons be entangled fast together. Therefore, as soon perceived that they be grappled fast, standing sure, and firmly on his feet, he shall increase a pace towards the enemy, lifting up aloft the enemy’s weapon, together with his own by the force of the said entangling, and then with the heel, or blunt end of the Halberd shall strike the enemy in the breast, (for which consideration it should not dislike me, if for that purpose, there shall be fastened in the said blunt end, a strong and sharp pike of iron) and as soon as he has stroked with the said blunt end, (because, by means of the said lifting up, the weapons shall now be unhooked) and retiring that pace which he had before increased, without removing of his hands, he shall deliver a strong edge blow, which is then very commodious.

And it is to be understood, that this edgeblow being delivered in this manner, is so strong, that it is apt to cut the enemy’s sword, if it be opposed in this ward. only that which is to be regarded in the delivering of this blow, is, that he be nimble, and of stout courage, not doubting that he shall be struck again, because he is to go so near his enemy, for besides, that he is in such case, that he may easily ward any blow, the enemy finds no way, to strike, except he perform it in two times, to wit, by retiring his pace and Halberd, and then by delivering a thrust.

That this way of striking is good, after the tying, and entangling of the weapons, it may be hereby understood, that as a man endeavors to untie, and unloosen the weapons, either by retiring himself, either by carrying them on the one side, to the intent to strike, he may then go forth of the straight line, by going to one of the both sides, or else lose one time, by retiring himself, under which two inconveniences, either he must needs be hurt, or else defending himself, tie fast the weapons again. But these inconveniences happen not in the foresaid manner of striking.

Farther, a man may strike after an other way to wit, as soon as by the entangling of the weapons they are lifted up, to the intent to unhook, and untie them, he must change his hands, and edge blow, either a thwart, either on high, either on low, for it is commodious anyway, so that he change his hands and retire a pace. But this is not so commodious in the other way, because he may not strike but only downwards. But in this manner of changing hands, he may easily strike the enemy in that place, where he perceives him to be most discovered, be it above or beneath.

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