87. Of Sword and Dagger, or Rapier and DaggerΒΆ

All the wards which are laid down for the single sword, may likewise be given for the sword and dagger. And there is greater reason why they should be termed wards in the handling of this, than of the single sword, because albeit the sword is borne unorderly, & with such disadvantage, that it wards in a manner no part of the body, yet there is a dagger which continually stands at his defense, in which case, it is not convenient that a man lift up both his arms and leave his body open to the enemy: for it is neither agreeable to true, neither to false art considering that in each of them the endeavor is to overcome. And this manner of lifting up the arms, is as if a man would of purpose be overcome: Therefore, when in this deceitful and false art, one is to use two weapons, he must take heed that he bear the one continually at his defense, and to handle the other every way to molest the enemy: sometime framing one ward, sometimes an other : and in each of them to false, that is, to feign a thrust, and deliver a thrust, to false a thrust, and give an edgeblow: and otherwise also, to false an edgeblow, and to deliver an edgeblow. And in all these ways to remember, that the blow be continually different from the false: That is, if the thrust be falsed above to drive it home below: If within, yet to strike without, and falsing an edgeblow above, to bestow it beneath: or falsing a right blow, to strike with the reverse: or sometimes with a right blow, but yet differing from the other. And after an edgeblow on high, to deliver a reverse below. In fine, to make all such mixture of blows, as may bear all these contrarieties following, to wit, the point, the edge, high, low, right, reversed, within, without. But, I see not how one may practice any deceit with the dagger, the which is not openly dangerous. As for example, to widen it and discover some part of the body to the enemy, thereby provoking him to move, and then warding, to strike him, being so disappointed: but in my opinion, these sorts of falses of discovering the body, ought not to be used: For it behooves a man, first, safely defend to himself, and then to offend the enemy, the which he cannot do, in the practice of the said falses, if he chance to deal with an enemy that is courageous and skillful. But this manner of falsing next following, is to be practiced last of all other, and as it were in desperate cases. And it is, either to feign, as though he would forcibly fling his dagger at the enemy’s face, (from the which false, he shall doubtless procure the enemy to ward himself, either by lifting up the arms, or by retiring himself, or by moving towards one side of other, in which travail & time, a man that is very wary and nimble, may safely hurt him) or else instead of falsing a blow, to fling the dagger indeed at the enemy’s face. In which chance or occasion, it is necessary that he have the skill how to stick the dagger with the point. But yet howsoever it chance, the coming of the dagger in such sort, does so greatly trouble and disorder the enemy, that if a man step in nimbly, he may safely hurt him.

These deceits and falses, of the sword and dagger, may be warded according as a man finds it most commodious either with the sword, or else with the dagger, not regarding at all (as in true art) to defend the left side with the dagger, and the right side with the sword: For in this false art men consider not either of advantage, time, or measure, but always their manner is (as soon as they have found the enemy’s sword) to strike by the most short way, be it either with the edge, or point, notwithstanding the blow be not forcible, but only touch weakly & scarcely: for in play, so it touch any way, it is accounted for victory.

Concerning taking holdfast, or seizing the enemy’s sword, I commend not in any case, that seizure be made with the left hand, by casting a way of the dagger, as else I have seen it practiced: but rather that it be done keeping the sword and dagger fast in hand. And although this seem impossible, yet every one that is nimble & strong of arm, may safely do it. And this seizure is used aswell under an edgeblow, as under a thrust in the manner following.

When an edgeblow or thrust comes above, it must be encountered with the sword without, on the third or fourth part of the enemy’s sword, and with the dagger born within, on the first or second part thereof: having thus suddenly taken the enemy’s sword in the middle, to turn forcibly the enemy’s sword outwards with the dagger, keeping the sword steadfast, and as straight towards the enemy as possible by means whereof it may the more easily be turned. And there is no doubt but the enemy’s sword may be wrung out of his hand, and look how much nearer the point it is taken, so much the more easily it is turned or wrested outwards, because it makes the greater circle, and the enemy has but small force to resist that motion.

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