86. General Advertisements concerning the defensesΒΆ

Because it chances commonly, that in managing of the hands, men bear no great regard, either to time or advantage, but do endeavor themselves after diverse & sundry ways & means to encounter the enemy’s sword: therefore in these cases, it is very profitable to know how to strike, and what may be done in the shortest time.

The enemy’s sword is encountered always either above, either in the middle, either beneath: & in all these ways a man finds himself to stand either above, either beneath, either within, either without. And it falls out always that men find themselves underneath with the sword at the hanging ward, when they are to ward high edgeblows or thrusts: and this way is most commonly used: The manner whereof is, when the hand is lifted up to defend the sword being thwarted, and the point turned downwards : when one finds himself so placed, he ought not to recover his sword from underneath, and then to deliver an edgeblow, for that were too long, but rather to strike nimbly that part of the enemy underneath, which is not warded, so that he shall do no other then turn his hand & deliver an edgeblow at the legs which surely speeds.

But if he find himself in defense either of the reverse or thrust, to bear his sword aloft and without, and not hanging, in this the safest thing is, to increase a pace, and to seize upon the enemy’s hand or arm.

The self same he ought to do, finding himself in the middle, without and underneath: But if he find himself within, he cannot by any means make any seizure, because he shall then be in great peril to invest himself on the point of the enemy’s sword.

Therefore to avoid the said point or thrust, he must turn his fist and deliver an edgeblow at the face, and withdraw himself by voiding of his foot towards the broad ward. And if he find himself beneath, & have encountered the enemy’s edgeblow, either with the edge, or with the false or back of the sword, being beneath: then without any more ado, he ought to cut the legs, and void himself from the enemy’s thrust. And let this be taken for a general rule: the body must be borne as far off from the enemy as it may. And blows always are to be delivered on that part which is found to be most near, be the stroke great or little. And each man is to be advertised that when he finds the enemy’s weapon underneath at the hanging ward, he may safely make a seizure: but it would be done nimbly and with good courage, because he does then increase towards his enemy in the straight line, that is to say, increase on pace, and therewithall take holdfast of the enemy’s sword, near the hilts thereof, yea though his hand were naked, and under his own sword presently turning his hand outwards, which of force wrests the sword out of the enemy’s hand: neither ought he to fear to make seizure with his naked hand, for it is in such a place, that if should with his hand encounter a blow, happily it would not cut because the weapon has there very small force. All the hazard will be, if the enemy should draw back his sword, which causes it to cut. For in such sort it will cut mightily: but he may not give leisure or time to the enemy to draw back, but as soon as the seizure is made, he must also turn his hand outwards: in which case, the enemy has no force at all.

These manner of strikings ought and may be practiced at all other weapons. Therefore this rule ought generally to be observed, and that is, to bear the body different from the enemy’s sword, and to strike little or much, in small time as is possible.

And if one would in delivering of a great edgeblow, use small motion and spend little time he ought as soon as he has struck, to draw or slide his sword, thereby causing it to cut: for otherwise an edgeblow is to no purpose, although it be very forcibly delivered, especially when it lights on any soft or limber thing: but being drawn, it does every way cut greatly.

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