88. Of Sword and Cloak, or Rapier and CloakΒΆ

For to deceive the enemy with the cloak, it is necessary to know how many ways it may serve the turn, and to be skillful how to fold it orderly about the arm, and how to take advantage by the largeness thereof: and farther to understand how to defend, and how to offend and hinder the enemy therewith, because it fails not always, that men fight with their cloak wrapped about the arm, and the sword in hand, Therefore it is the part of a wise man, to know also how to handle the cloak after any other manner.

Wherefore one may get the advantage of the Cloak, both when it is about his body, and when it is folded about his arm: The Cloak being about the arm in this manner. When it chances that any man to bicker with his enemy, with whom he is at point to join, but yet happily wears about him at that instant no kind of weapon, whereas his enemy is weaponed, & threatens him, then by taking both sides of the cloak as near the collar as is possible, he may draw if over his own head, and throw it at his enemy’s face, who then being entangled and blinded there with, may either be thrown down, or disfurnished of his weapon very easily by him that is nimble, especially if he have to deal against one who is slow. A man may after another manner take the advantage of the cloak which the enemy wears, by taking with one hand both sides thereof, near the collar: which sides being strongly held, cause the cloak to be a gin being violently held, and plucked with one hand, he may so forcibly strike him with the other on the face or visage, that he will go near hand to break his neck.

There be many other ways whereby one may prevail with the cloak, to the greatest part whereof, men of mean judgment may easily attain unto. Therefore when one has his cloak on his arm, and sword in his hand, the advantage he gets thereby, besides the warding of blows, for that has been declared in the true art is, that he may molest his enemy by falsing to fling his cloak, and then to fling it in deed. But to false the flinging of the cloak is very dangerous, because it may not be done but in long time. And the very flinging of the cloak, is as it were a preparation to get the victory, and is in a manner rather true art then deceit, considering it is done by the straight or some other short line: neither for any other cause is this the rather here laid down, in deceit, then before in true art, then for that when one overcomes by this means, he seems not to conquer manfully, because he strikes the enemy before blinded with the cloak.

Therefore when one minds to fling his cloak, he may either do it from and with his arm, or else with his sword: in so doing it is necessary, that he have not the cloak too much wrapped about his arm: I say, not above twice, neither to hold it straight or fast with his hand, that thereby he may be the better able when occasion serves to fling it more easily. If therefore he would fling it with his arm, and have it go with such fury, and make such effect as is required, he must of force join to the flinging thereof the increase of a pace, on that side where the cloak is, but first of all he must encounter, either find, either so endure the enemy’s sword, that by the means of the increase of that pace it may do no hurt.

And it is requisite in every occasion, that he find himself to stand without: and when either an edgeblow or a thrust comes, be it above or in the middle, as soon as he has warded it with his sword, he shall increase a pace and fling his cloak, howsoever it be folded, either from the collar, either from any other part, or else to hale it off from his shoulder, although it be on his shoulder: and in this order it is easily thrown, & is thereby the more widened in such sort, that the enemy is the more entangled and snared therewith.

Concerning the flinging of the cloak with the sword, I say, it may be thrown either with the point, either with the edge: with the point when one stands at the low ward with the right foot behind, and the cloak before: In which case the cloak that would be well and thick doubled and placed on the arm, but not wrapped. And instead of driving a thrust with the point which shall be hidden behind the cloak, he shall take the cloak on the point of the sword, and with the increase of a pace, force it at the enemy’s face. And in this manner the cloak is so forcibly, and so covertly delivered and flung, that the enemy is neither aware of it, neither can avoid it, but of force it lights on his face, by means whereof, he may be struck at pleasure in any part of the body.

The cloak may be flung or thrown with the edge of the sword, when one stands at the low ward, with the point of the sword turned backwards, one the left side and the cloak upon it, folded at large upon the arm up to the elbow: but not fast wrapped about it, and whilst he falses a reverse, he may take the cloak on the edge of the sword and fling it towards the enemy, and then strike him with such a blow as shall be then most fit for his advantage deliver.

Many other deceits there may be declared of the cloak, aswell of flinging as of falsing it : but because I think these to be sufficient for an example to frame many other by, I make an end.

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